The haunting of the Headland Hotel

The Headland Hotel opened its doors in June 1900. It had been envisioned and designed to be the finest hotel in South West England, and as its first patrons swept across the natural headland to the imposing red-brick building, they were certainly in agreement – in fact, King Edward VII and his Queen, Alexandra stayed at the Headland on several occasions.

That the hotel had opened at all was lucky; the local Newquay fishermen contested the build, claiming that the hotel was being constructed on common land they had used to dry their fishing nets on since time immemorial. It was a definite flashpoint – the locals even rioted about it, pulling down the foundation walls, setting fire to the scaffolding and – rather nastily – throwing the foreman’s hut into the sea.

As a teenager the Prince of Wales – later King Edward VIII of Wallis Simpson/abdication fame – stayed at the Headland for rest and relaxation while recuperating from the mumps. His younger brother Bertie (later King George VI, our current Queen’s father) joined him for company, and the two princes occupied rooms 102, 103 and 104 which, at the time, was a suite of interconnected rooms.

During the Second World War the hotel – like many similar grand buildings – was requisitioned to become an RAF hospital and ever since guests have reported seeing men in uniform walking the corridors late at night. Nurses have been seen too. On one occasion a group of children told their parents that a lady had walked into their room – without use of the door – wearing a “long, dark coat without arms [a cape] and a funny, small white hat on her head”. A decade later, a woman wearing this same distinctive ensemble disappeared through a wall in full view of customers and staff alike – in exactly the same position as where there had once been a door into the Ladies’ Powder Room. Guests have also reported being awoken by a woman stroking their cheeks…

Click here to visit The Headland Hotel’s website and book your stay – as long as you don’t mind being kept awake by eerie murmurings and creaking footsteps…

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