Richmond’s Ham House has the reputation of being one of the “most haunted buildings in England,” but the National Trust site would like to be be known this autumn for its family-friendly activities, not its storied ghostly residents.
Visitors to the 17th Century manor house have reported hearing the screams of long-gone servants, feeling people behind them, and seeing the ghost of a woman alleged to be Elizabeth Murray, Duchess of Lauderdale, who inherited Ham House from her father in 1655, and subsequently died of disease in one of the wings of the manor.
However, despite these stories, and the rumour that Ham House and Gardens is home to upwards of 16 ghosts (including a ghost dog), this October Ham House is swapping its ghost tours for family fun and half-term events for children.
Laura Hunt, marketing consultant for the National Trust, said: “We’re keen to celebrate the whole spectrum of stories which this house has to tell and so our focus won’t always remain on one theme.
“Although we’ve held ghost themed activities in the past, we’ve decided to focus this year’s autumnal offer on young families.”
Hunt said that Ham House is open to hosting ghost events again in the future, but this year they want to try something new during October that’s aimed at families with young children.
These sentiments were echoed by Ham House General Manager Seb Conway.
Conway added: “Although we love ghost stories and will always enjoy sharing them with visitors as they walk around the house, this October half-term we’re offering family-friendly activities and crafts, celebrating the history and gardens at Ham House.”
Ham House has not planned next year’s October activities, so the ghost tours may return in 2024, but for now Ham House’s autumn events include getting to know trees, and getting to know bugs, but steering far away from ghosts.
Ham House’s events, from guided history tours, architecture tours, to half-term fun for kids can be found here.