The Rose and Crown Hotel dates back over 700 years and is the oldest hotel in Colchester, which is the oldest city in Britain. Colchester is well-known for being one of the most haunted places in England and it’s no surprise that we have a few rumoured resident ghosts.
We’ve been visited by many paranormal investigators, almost every single one of them has managed to uncover evidence of supernatural activity.
Here are some spine-tingling stories from our haunted hotel, recounted by both staff and visitors…
Back in the early part of the 20th century, our bar was managed by a delightful elderly lady.
Fast forward to a few years ago, our Events and Weddings Manager, Sue, had an eerie encounter when she noticed a little old lady dressed in all black walking from the bar towards our reception.
“I looked up to speak to her but there was nobody there. It’s like she vanished into thin air.” recounted Sue.
A colleague was working on the reception at the same time and also saw the old lady so Sue knew she wasn’t imagining things.
Curious about the incident, Sue shared her experience with some colleagues and one of our housekeepers said “oh yeah, I know her! I see her all the time.”
As a frequent visitor, this charming little old lady has affectionately been given the name ‘Val’ by colleagues here at the hotel.
In 2021, a member of staff from head office, Serena, stayed the night in room 201. She didn’t have the most restful of nights.
“I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep, but I was woken up several times throughout the night with creaking noises. It sounded like the floorboards but there was no-one else in the room”.
It doesn’t end there either. “I always sleep with the sheets untucked, so I was a little confused to wake up to find the sheets had been tucked in while I was snoozing. I can only assume I wasn’t alone that night and whoever was visiting didn’t want me to sleep!”
A recurring grievance shared by our guests involves our TVs that seem to possess a mind of their own. They have a strange habit of spontaneously turning on at all times of the day or night.
This seems like a fairly normal thing to happen, but it’s been going on for at least 30 years. And we hear about these incidents in so many different bedrooms, with a variety of television makes and models.
In the 1950s, a night porter called Frank worked in our hotel. One night he was sitting at reception when he felt a draught.
He glanced upwards and saw the ghostly sight of a woman in a white wedding dress.
It seems the lady was a little curious as she floated ever closer, and Frank could make out more details, including a red flower and pearl jewellery.
As quickly as she arrived, the lady floated off down the hall and then disappeared out of sight.
You might think Frank was a little overtired and seeing things, but then a decade later, another porter saw the exact same thing with the same details. The chilling detail is that he didn’t know anything about what Frank saw.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, a member of staff called Steve was sleeping in the empty hotel and couldn’t explain the spooky goings on.
“I was relaxing in my room and out of the corner of my eye I kept noticing movement.
There was no-one else there, and at first, I thought I was imagining it”. Steve focused on watching TV, but out of nowhere the TV kept flickering. “I was unnerved and definitely felt I wasn’t alone in that room”.
It seems it’s not just rooms where our ghostly residents like to wander, as several staff members and guests have reported the sound of footsteps walking down the corridor towards them. When they look up, there’s no-one to be seen.
It’s that room 201 again. During a wedding show-around, a couple stepped into room 201 when suddenly the gentleman felt a chilling sensation on the back of his neck.
Instinctively, he reached his hand around to the back of his collar and discovered a handful of confetti!
He hadn’t attended any weddings recently and there was no logical reason for there to be any confetti clinging to his clothes that day.
The couple ended up booking their wedding at our venue! Although the groom was quite shaken up by the whole experience, the bride saw it as a good sign!
Whilst checking out, a guest asked if we provide a turndown service. He found our response of “no” rather puzzling. It turns out that during his evening shower, he returned to find that his bed had been neatly turned over.
Later that morning, another guest was checking out and asked if anyone had entered his room overnight. He told us that he had felt a strange draught, followed by his duvet being pulled back and someone climbing into bed beside him!
He swiftly turned on the light, only to find that the bed invader had vanished into thin air.
We’ve all heard ghost stories about some of the most haunted places in England. Surprisingly, a significant number of these chilling tales revolve around haunted buildings in Colchester.
It’s no wonder – Colchester was Britain’s first city, over 2,000 years ago.
Let’s look at some of the most haunted places in Colchester that are worth exploring if you’re in the area…
The Fox & Fiddler dates to the 1600s and it is rumoured that a woman accused of being a witch was the chambermaid for many years. After her ‘identity’ was discovered, the Witch Finder ordered her to be walled up in the underground tunnels.
These days, she wanders around the pub, playing pranks on guests.
Colchester Castle is certainly one of the most haunted places in Essex. With countless years of history, it’s no surprise there are several reputed ghosts.
One of those is a quaker named James Parnell who died in the castle. Visitors claim to hear his screams of pain echoing around the walls of his cells.
Many have also reported a beheaded nun wandering around the castle grounds, as well as a lady dressed in red.
Several reports claim the ghost of Anne Lisle wanders around the gun room.
Children visiting the museum are reputed to see her more than adults, with one child openly speaking about “the lady standing next to me”, but there was nobody to be seen.
Founded in 1100, the ruins of St Botolph’s Priory sit within a cemetery so it’s no surprise that it’s said to be one of the most haunted places to visit in Essex.
Visitors have reported encountering a dark figure who greeted them with a smile before it disappeared without a trace.
As well as being one of the most haunted hotels in Colchester, our 14th century hotel is also one of the most unique hotels in England.
One of the strangest and spookiest things about our haunted hotel is the former prison in the basement…
Back in medieval times, The Rose and Crown Hotel Colchester was a popular overnight stop-off for criminals being taken to stand trial in London.
The criminals would be sent down to the prison cells while the guard slept comfortably in the hotel. However, there are countless stories of the prisoners failing to make it back out of the prison alive.
How many of those angry prisoners still roam the empty cells? Dare you venture down there to see for yourself?
There are so many spooky places in Colchester and a night at our haunted hotel gives you the ideal base to head out and hunt for some paranormal experiences.
A night within our walls will thrill the keenest of ghost hunters….we’re waiting to hear your ghost stories!
Best Western The Rose and Crown Hotel
East Street, Colchester,
Essex, CO1 2TZ
We’re located just outside Colchester city centre, five miles from Colchester Zoo and a 15 minute walk from Colchester Castle.