Urban exploring is continuing to grow in popularity, with many people flocking to abandoned buildings for their fill of old architecture and rumours of ghosts. The UK is rich in diverse ancient architecture, making it a hotspot for abandoned buildings. These often derelict properties are full of history and beauty, waiting to be discovered. While many are open to the public, ensure permission is granted for any that aren’t, before visiting. Eager to find out more, Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance set out to reveal the most famous abandoned buildings in the UK.
1. Whitby Abbey – Whitby
Now owned and maintained by English Heritage, the ruins of Whitby Abbey is prominent in the history of Whitby and has ties to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Whitby’s history bleeds into the Dracula novel we have all come to love. The iconic 199 steps up to the abbey travelled by Dracula in the form of a black dog is also noted in the novel. In the 2020 Dracula series, there are several shots of the Abbey which has certainly increased its bucket list status for lovers of spooky sites, bringing more than 4.4 Million views on TikTok and over 111k Instagram hashtags.
2. St Dunstan in the East Church – London
The ruins of the Church of St Dunstan in the East are a hidden treasure in London. Built around 1100, this Grade I listed building was heavily damaged by the 1666 Great Fire of London. The church was then damaged again in the Blitz of 1941, where it was not repaired. Finally, in 1967, the City of London decided to turn the remains into a public garden, opening in 1970. Today you can visit the garden and soak in the history in the calm before heading back onto the bustling streets of London. This beautiful site is well-loved within the entertainment industry, with many tv shows and films shot here including Children of the Damned and Spooks. The ruins also have 3 Million TikTok views and 20,700 Instagram tags making it the second most famous abandoned building in the UK.
3. Crumlin Road Courthouse and Gaol – Belfast
This former prison dates back to 1846 and housed prisoners until 1996. The jail is now open to the public for tours, paranormal nights and even weddings. The courthouse adjacent to the prison links up via a system of tunnels used to transport prisoners to and from. The courthouse has been left to decay over time, built-in 1850 and abandoned since 1998. Although the courthouse is in a state of disrepair, elements of the beautiful neoclassical architecture that many cherish. The jail has over 700k TikTok views and almost 10k Google searches a month. This location continues to be a hotspot for the entertainment industry with many titles shooting here including the CBBC hit, The Sparticle Mystery.
4. North Wales Hospital – Denbigh
This former psychiatric hospital closed in 1995 after 147 years, so the abandoned grade II listed building was left for nature to take over. This architectural gem was even visited by the show Most Haunted in 2008 which exacerbated the rumours of ghosts in the property. This hasn’t stopped plans to redevelop the building into homes, which plans were approved in 2021. The building has more than 120k views on TikTok and over 3,600 Instagram hashtags, putting this former hospital in fourth place for the most famous abandoned buildings in the UK.
5. Newsham Park Hospital – Tuebrook, Liverpool
This Grade II listed property opened in 1874 as Seamen’s Orphan Institution before closing in 1949. The building was opened again in 1954 as The Newsham Park Hospital before closing one final time in 1992. Today the hospital remains unoccupied but frequently welcomes ghost hunters as it is considered one of the most haunted locations in the UK. The current property owners, Anglefarm Limited, are hoping to turn this historical hotspot into an events venue. The property has been the host to many ghost hunters alongside the star-studded cast of Celebrity Ghost Trip. The building has TikTok users intrigued too, with almost half a million views.
Rounding up the top 10 is Maunsell Sea Forts in sixth place, followed by Hamilton Place in Uckfield, Appuldurcombe House in the Isle of Wight, Millennium Mills in London and Asylum Chapel in London.