Regulars of The Schooner Hotel in Alnmouth must be quaking in their boots at the approach of Halloween. The hotel has twice been voted Britain’s most haunted hotel, with some 3,000 sightings recorded of over 60 individual spirits. These sightings have included a young boy on a tricycle, a uniformed man, and even a chicken! Naturally a hotel with so many ghosts has a distinguished history. It is a 17th century listed coaching inn which has been frequented by a number of notable people including Charles Dickens, Basil Rathbone, Douglas Bader and King George III. The hotel’s dark side, which no doubt led to many of the hauntings, was manifested in an array of murders, suicides and massacres.
But there is no sign of such horrors today. The Schooner lies in the village’s main street, which leads down to the mouth of the River Aln, whose sheltered estuary has facilities for yachts and small boats, although there is a shallow bar which makes entry difficult and there are dangerously fast currents. For landlubbers there are two golf courses and, of course, walks along the beach. The port here used to be an important trading centre mainly for the export of grain, and it was also a haven for smugglers. The town of Alnwick with its famous castle and gardens is just a short distance away, and last year it was reported that there are plans to reopen the railway line linking Alnwick with Alnmouth. The line was one of the casualties of Dr Beeching’s hatchet job when it closed in 1968, but the Aln Valley Railway Trust has received grants to reopen it.
Each year Alnmouth holds a summer Arts Festival.
Map of the area.