Ham House, the "haunted" National Trust owned mansion near Richmond, is offering spooky Halloween entertainment for children this weekend (October 28-29).

Activities include a witch hunt trail through the house and gardens and a witch’s hat crafting session

There’s also ‘spooky’ storytelling sessions and giant homegrown pumpkins for sale from Ham House’s very-own pumpkin patch and – up until Friday – there’s pumpkin biscuit decoration in the afternoons.

Ham House is reputed to be home to around 16 ghosts including the Duchess of Lauderdale, her dog and a heartbroken servant.

Sophie Johnson, senior visitor experience officer, said: “There is a story that one of our guides was standing alone on the stairs when he was pushed from behind.”

She added: “Some people think that they smell tobacco in the dining room because the Duke was a cigar smoker.”

Other reported past encounters are a lady dressed in black on the staircase, and a dog racing up and down the long gallery; there is also the horrifying story of John McFarlane, a heartbroken servant in the house in 1780s.

McFarlane had fallen for a lady’s maid who was above his station and had arranged to meet her on the stairs waiting with an engagement ring; upon realising that the maid had jilted him, he threw himself from an upstairs window.

Before he did this McFarlane etched his name in to a pane of glass which remains to this day; it is thought that it is the ghostly figure some say they’ve seen walking along the terrace could be him.

Another story relates to the 9th Earl of Dysart, who used a walking stick as he visited the outbuildings when he’d deliver presents around the estate on Christmas Eve.

He died in 1935, yet according to some the sound of the stick tapping on the ground and rapping on the door can still be heard each year.

The most famous of the reputed ghosts is that of Elizabeth Murray, Duchess of Lauderdale, who inherited the house from her father in 1655.

She was described as an ambitious and ruthless woman – friends with both King Charles II and Oliver Cromwell – who died in her bedchamber in her ground floor apartment, where she lived after the death of her second husband.

Ms Johnson said: “She was a very powerful woman, it was unusual back then for the daughter to inherit.”

People have reported feeling a presence in the bedchamber and the oppressive force in the room is said to feel so powerful that staff have been known to say before entering: "Good afternoon your ladyship”.