Record year for ghost tours that attract visitors from out-of-county
- Credit: Alan Baxter
Ghost tours that reveal a town's "grim secrets" while offering a night of escapism have enjoyed a record season.
The Ghostly and Macabre walks in Bury St Edmunds, which are provided by the town's tour guides, will have entertained about 500 people between Halloween 2021 and the end of March 2022.
Despite the pandemic, this has been their most successful year ever, even compared to the pre-Covid season in 2019.
Walkers trudge the streets at night listening to chilling tales of bloodshed or other fabled legends, all narrated with knowledge and humour by guides dressed as monks, a graverobber, the Witchfinder General, or in funereal mode, said marketing officer John Saunders.
Mr Saunders, who is also a tour guide, said: "The fame of these tours has spread via the media and this year we have had people travel from outside the county including Leicester and Peterborough.
"Whilst fascinated by history, the majority regard it as a night of escapism where they can have fun and perhaps end up with a meal in town.
"It is something that families and groups have done, many of them celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or Valentine’s Day. It’s is such an unusual but appealing gift.”
The graphic telling of the Red Barn murder sets the scene for the evening, but there are lighter moments when the activities of poltergeists and the brown monks are described and the tour ends with the mysteries of the Great Churchyard.
Mr Saunders said feedback had been "absolutely incredible".
One client remarked: “I never knew Bury had so many grim secrets, but our guides made it so amusing and entertaining so all want to do it again.”
There are only a handful of spaces left for the March 25 ghost tour, but groups can still book the tour privately. All details are shown on the website.
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The daily town tours and abbey tours start up again in April for the summer season.
To find out more about Bury St Edmunds' history visit Moyse's Hall Museum in the town centre.
The town, described as the 'Jewel in the Crown of Suffolk', is home to the ruins of the Abbey of St Edmund and was once the most famous pilgrimage location in England.