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Witches, Ghouls, and Flying Hedgehogs: The Lake District’s Best Folklore Legends

Long Meg, Lake District

The Lake District has a fascinating history, one that stretches back thousands of years to tales of Druids, Romans, and Saxons from northern Europe.

So it’s not surprising that we’ve also collected our fair share of ghost stories too. There are thousands to choose from, but in this blog we’ve chosen our favourites to tantalise visitors to the Lake District.


  1. Luck of Eden Hall

Eden Hall once had historic associations with the Musgrave clan, who built a mansion on the site in the early 1890s.

With sprawling lawns, elegant design, and picturesque gardenscapes, the mansion of Eden Hall was said to resemble - well, Eden itself. But locked deep within this beautiful manor house is drinking glass that, as legend goes, is dependent upon the very survival of Musgrave family.

In the manor’s infancy, a butler took the drinking glass to a nearby well to fetch some water. As often happens, however, he stumbled upon a small group of fairies who took a shine to his cup. He refused to hand it over and the fairies - in their frustration and outrage - placed a curse upon the glass: “Whene’er this cup shall break or fall, Farewell the luck of Eden Hall.

To this very day, the cup is preserved in a leather case and can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Unfortunately, Manor House itself was demolished in the 1930s but visitors can still see entrance lodge and marvel at the long-lost Victorian mansion.


  1. Long Meg and her Daughters

Next to Stonehenge, one of the most important (and impressive) stone circles in England is certainly Long Meg.

As you may have guessed, ‘Long Meg’ is the name given to the largest stone on the site - measuring over 12 ft in height. Archaeologists estimate that the stone circle dates back to 1500 BCE, during the Iron Age, but local folklore has an even better explanation for the mysterious stones.

Long ago, Long Meg was a practicing witch who had multiple daughters - all of whom broke the rules of Sabbath by dancing wildly on the moor. They were turned into stone for their blasphemy and left as a permanent reminder on the site of their death.

Local legend states that if you count all the stones twice, and reach the same number, the curse will be broken and Long Meg and her fervent daughters will return to life on the moor.

It’s like Baskerville, but only with more hippy undertones.


  1. The Skulls at Calgarth Hall

One of the most famous legends of the Lake District, Calgarth Hall gained notoriety for seemingly playing home to two magically appearing and disappearing skulls.

According to legend, a magistrate named Myles Phillipson coveted the beautiful Calgarth Hall and plotted to take the home away from Mr and Mrs Cook, the mansion’s owners.

So he secretly hid a stolen silver cup in the Cook’s home, a crime which would have been punishable by death. Of course, the Cook’s were ‘discovered’ and sentenced to death, and Myles Phillipson gained control of the property. But not before Mrs Cook allegedly placed a curse on Calgarth Hall.

As the story goes, on the anniversary of their death, two skulls appeared in the property with no explanation as to their appearance. If the skulls were moved or disturbed in any way, they would reappear again and cause havoc in the Phillipson household.

Presumably, this got old - quick - because the next homeowner called in an exorcist to remove any evil spirits from the premises. It worked and the skulls were soon laid to rest… behind a brick wall in Calgarth Hall.


  1. Tizzie-Whizie

Perhaps the strangest story of the bunch, the legend of tizzie-whizies dates back to the Victorian period and has captured the imagination of visitors ever since.

The story goes like this: a boatman was out on Bay Windermere when he noticed a tiny creature whizzing past. According to his testimony, the animal loved shallow water, had the body of a hedgehog, and the tail of a squirrel and a small pair of wings.

It wasn’t until 1906, however, that a tizzie-whizie was allegedly caught on camera. After it was taken to a photo studio opposite St. Martin’s Church, it was given some warm milk and soon felt in the mood to pose for a photograph. And what you see above is the end result, before it disappeared again - of course.

Image sourced from

For many years, flocks of tourists would attempt to re-discover the infamous tizzie-whizie but the little hedgehog-bumblebee hybrid was never seen again.


Lake District Folklore

The Lake District has a history that stretches back thousands of years. And as a firm favourite amongst the spook-loving Victorians, it’s not surprising that this area of Cumbria is rife with a ghost tale or two.

So next time you’re in our neck of the woods, visit these fascinating sights and absorb everything the Lake District has to offer.

You can even send us our favourite tales - or just say hello - on Twitter @Hideawayhotel.