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Count Dracula, Abbey Ruins and Whitby Town, North Yorkshire

Eileen loves to travel as much as possible both at home in the U.K. and abroad with local places of interest high on her to visit list.

Whitby Town

We returned home Friday from a two-week vacation in Whitby, North Yorkshire.

It was a return visit to Whitby and the dog-friendly accommodation we spent a week’s vacation in, in 2017.

Located close to West Cliff we have a bird’s eye view of the ruins of Whitby Abbey and associated buildings which sit on high on the other side of the River Esk on East Cliff.

A traditional fishing port Whitby is a popular tourist attraction for day-trippers as well as those on vacation. It has long golden sandy beaches, cafe, pubs, restaurants (many serving locally caught fish with chips), shops, beautiful scenery history and Count Dracula.

Count Dracula?

Yes Dracula!

Warning Sign


Bram Stoker

In 1890 Bram Stoker visited Whitby in North Yorkshire.

He reportedly stayed at a guesthouse located at 6 The Crescent on the West Cliff area of Whitby which has stunning views of East Cliff and the Abbey ruins.

We stayed at this Bed and Breakfast establishment in 1989, a little under a 100 years after Bram Stoker’s visit. The proprietor was pleased as punch to share the house’s link to Stoker and Dracula.

Another View Of The Abbey


Count Dracula

Bram Stoker published his Gothic tale of horror featuring Count Dracula in 1897.

In a short story by Stoker Count Dracula arrives in Whitby by sea.

The inspiration for Stoker’s Dracula was via his visit to Whitby; a book he came across and read during his visit, the abbey ruins and its bats and other Whitby peculiarities.

The character of Count Dracula of course went on to feature in many horror films often played by Christopher Lee.

Whitby Embraces Goth Culture

Whitby is a great town to visit and its quirky differences with other English seaside resorts has kept it a bustling, popular place to visit. Too many English resorts look tired and worn yet Whitby has retained a charm of its own.

The people of Whitby have embraced all things Dracula and Gothic.

There is a popular guesthouse called Bats and Broomsticks. We passed this on our bus into the town from Scarborough. The life-size mannequin of Dracula outside is a dead giveaway, pun intended.

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There is a rather tacky looking but still popular and interesting Dracula Experience located along the River Esk on Marine Parade.

Then there is the annual and twice each year Goth weekends when the full range of weird, wacky and fun Goths descend on Whitby. The weekends include goth music and activities.

Whitby Goth Weekend

Visiting Whitby Abbey and East Cliff

An old swing bridge divides the main area of Whitby town. It carries pedestrians and road traffic back and forth.

We crossed this bridge and walked through the warren of shops that lead to the 199 steps which you can walk up to visit East Cliff.

This area can also be accessed by a steep slope which runs alongside, or by main road.

As you look across from the town it often looks like a never-ending pilgrimage as visitors climb those 199 steps.

Turn left at the bottom of the steps and discover a little almost hidden area of cottages, holidays homes and one well visited old smokehouse which has been operational for 139 years. Fortune Kippers website says

Fortune’s smokehouse and shop is one of Whitby’s most famous attractions and they can both be found on the pretty and historic east-side of Whitby, North Yorkshire.

The smokehouse nestles beneath the ancient cliffs, under the gaze of St. Mary’s Church, and is located towards the end of a narrow cobbled street known as Henrietta Street, beyond the famous 199 steps which lead up to Whitby Abbey.

As you walk towards the smokehouse the all-pervasive aroma of wafting oak wood smoke fills the air and your nose will lead you towards what surely must be one of the best places in Britain to buy kippers!

The distinctive aroma will whet your appetite long before you even arrive at the smokehouse. Fortune’s kippers are the only genuine and authentic Whitby kippers because the Fortune family own and run the only traditional smokehouse in Whitby.

To peep inside the famous Fortune’s smokehouse is to awaken your senses to the flavours, tastes and smells of long ago!

We explored this area one windy, cool afternoon but the smokehouse was closed.

Street Entertainer


The next day Thursday was a beautifully sunny morning, though not excessively warm.

Perfect we decided for a return visit to the Abbey area after almost 30 years!

The walk up was not bad at all. There is a railing at both sides and the individual stone steps are not high. There are rest areas provided.

There were many other people climbing these steps, and some like us, had their pet dog or dogs tagging along but it was not packed with visitors.

The steps take you into the old graveyard of St Mary’s Church which sits in front of the abbey ruins.

We wandered through this old graveyard looking at the headstones and enjoying the surrounding views.

The church is one of the most unusual you may ever visit.

A pew for the Lord of the Manor, extra galleries added so that more than 2,000 people can be seated, outside staircases that lead up to those galleries maximise indoor space, gothic arhcitecture and more will fascinate the visitor.

We loved the fishing links in this church as we both have family links to seafarers of old.

This time around we did not visit the church just wandered around the outside area.

Check opening times and any fees payable before you visit.

There is an admission fee to enter a visitor Centre centre which leads you through to the abbey ruins.

However the ruins dominate the area and can be viewed well without actually accessing.

There are other attractions here to visit including a lovely walled garden area close to the youth hostel and tea rooms. We took our tea in the garden of the tea rooms as the weather was so good.

After we had explored further we followed the road briefly and stopped at a local small brewery for alcoholic refreshment.

You can follow this road and walk the Cleveland way. This stage leads to Robin Hood’s bay and is about 61/2 miles long. Take care however as part of the walk takes you along the cliffs and narrow paths. It is not a walk for those with mobility issues.

Find accommodation in East Cliff for a more restful less busy break or vacation.

The Youth Hostel has prime position in a fine old building close to the abbey ruins, there is also a nearby caravan park and various other places to stay such as holiday cottages.

But if you want to experience the full buzz of Whitby find accommodation closer to the heart of the town.


© 2018 Ethel Smith


Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 11, 2018:

It is ghostly looking as evening falls Peggy thanks

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 11, 2018:

Thanks, Ethel for showing us more of your country. I enjoyed seeing all of your many photos. Those ruins are particularly interesting. I can well imagine the people capitalizing on the stories about Dracula.

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