With mysterious footsteps, cold sensations and a little boy seen holding visitors’ hands without them realising, Bolsover Castle has been voted the spookiest English Heritage site.

The Derbyshire castle, built on an ancient burial ground, has topped the poll by 1,800 English Heritage staff, in which they were asked to rate the individual site they work at on a “spooky scale”.

Spooky events at the former home of William Cavendish also include muffled voices, slamming doors and being pushed, while security guards have seen unexplained lights and one woman heard a scream as she was locking up only to find no one there when she returned.

Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage/PA)Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage/PA)

Coming a close second in the spooky stakes across English Heritage’s 400 castles, abbeys and historic houses is 900-year-old Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, where staff have encountered ghostly figures, an antique cot rocking by itself and the smell of pipe smoke.

And Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, whose deep well was the tragic site of a young girl’s drowning, is haunted by several figures and staff often hear the sound of children laughing in other rooms.

Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. (English Heritage/PA)Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. (English Heritage/PA)

Lucy Hutchings, regional director at English Heritage, said: “Our sites are soaked in history and from bloody battles to dark deeds, not all of their stories are sweetness and light.

“Our castles and palaces, especially on these Halloween nights, can be eerie places and some of our team have seen and heard things they can’t easily explain.

“With Halloween fast approaching, who better then to decide which site is the spookiest of them all than those people who are there from dawn to dusk, who know the sites’ history and its ghostly legends inside out?”