Visitor Information

The displays are created and run by an informal group of friends in a private house each year for the purpose of raising money for Farleigh Hospice, here in Chelmsford, Essex. The story is told over a number of scenes throughout the garden, using props, effects and some really bad acting (joking, they all throw themselves into it 100%). A synopsis of the story is available under each of the tabs above. The displays are held on the weekend of or before 31st October each year. The story changes every other year (Odd years).

Described as a "brilliantly bonkers event" by Councillor Sue Dobson, Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford 2022 - 2023 at our 2022 display "Ravenskull Manor - Forever".

However there is, of course, a story behind the creation of Ravenskull Manor. It started in early December 2018 with a phone call. My mum rang me to ask me to come home and help her as she had very bad indigestion. It was actually an ongoing major heart attack.

Christmas Day 2018 saw my father collapse and be revived by an incredible Ambulance crew. As 2019 started my father was admitted to hospital and eventually diagnosed with bladder cancer that had already spread. He came home at the end of March 2019 with incredible help from Farleigh Hospice including a full hospital bed and incredible support, both for him and for us. He passed away in his sleep in the early hours of 24th March 2019.

Mum never full recovered from her heart attack and slowly walking became more and more difficult for her. Her memory started to let her down on occasions. We included her in almost everything we did and watched as she struggled more and more.

As we went into 2020 she seemed to get worse but she always made as much effort to do things as she could. In August we were in North Somerset and she managed to walk to the end of Clevedon Pier. She never managed to walk that far again after that. She eventually relented and went to A&E. After x-rays and scans - and a few days wait - she was diagnosed as having lung cancer, it too had spread and couldn't be treated. Slowly she became unable to walk and she became a wheelchair user.

As December came around she wanted to see a pantomime, but 2020 was the year of Covid and most events had been cancelled. A pantomime had been filmed in a celebrity's garden and shown at various cinema. Our local Everyman cinema went to fantastic lengths to enable mum to see the film. A few days later we managed to see the local theatres pantomime, which opened for a very short time. The theatre staff again went the extra mile. On the Saturday 12th December we went to see the "Enlightened" display at Hylands House in Chelmsford.

The following morning mum had taken a major down turn and was less responsive. Eventually she ended up on a syringe driver. At 9.30pm on Christmas Day 2020 there was no long any sign of life.

Once the diagnosis was confirmed Farleigh Hospice once again swung into action and a hospital bed was provided, along with care assistants and nurses. They liaised with Marie Curie nurses when mum stopped sleeping to allow us to get some rest as we were still working.

Farleigh Hospice did an incredible job looking after both of my parents and also us during an incredibly difficult time for any charity, with fundraising events cancelled due to covid.

For a few years we had started doing displays for Halloween. In 2020 it moved from just the Front Garden to be up the side of the house. In 2021 we wanted to use the building display to raise money for Farleigh Hospice. We talked about a display of various scenes throughout our garden. A good friend suggested it needed to have a theme to link them, Ravenskull Manor was born.

It has now morphed into a scare maze with live actors and effects and become a full home haunt.

Important Notes for Visitors 

  • All attendance is entirely at your own risk. By the nature of this event, it may be unsuitable for young children or people of a nervous disposition. Children must be accompanied at all times.
  • There are several steps and uneven ground. This may make it is unsuitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs or people unsteady on their feet.
  • Effects used: Animated items, flashing lights, smoke and other effects are widely used throughout the display but we do not use any strobe effects.
  • Dogs: Dogs are not allowed through the display due to the effects used and dark areas which may cause them distress. They are, however, welcome in our refreshment area.
  • Photography: We will be taking photos and video of the night for use in future advertising, social media and website. Please speak to our staff at the start if you do not wish to be recorded in this manner.
  • Availability: We reserve the right to close the display or part of it at any time without notice, although we will always endeavour to advise of any such situations.
  • Please respect our neighbours. We are in a residential area and ask you park and act with consideration for our neighbours, who have been very supportive of us.
  • Visiting recommendations: We recommend an earlier visit for nervous children as it remains light, therefore less scary for them, and later to avoid queues and get the benefit of the full darkness.

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