Visitng Whitby, Dracula Country

It has been over one decade since my first ever visit to Whitby. It was New Year's Eve and my family was traveling with a friend who had made the suggestion - I remember the ambient gloominess which hung over the place in the form of heavy grey clouds, and the way that the Church was lined with Christmas trees, whose multicoloured fairy-lights glowed bright in the dark naves.

Over this summer I had wanted to take the opportunity to explore Britain more extensively, having lived here my whole life and appreciating the fact that this island is splendid and worth exploring. It was my sister's recommendation to revisit Whitby and I was glad of the suggestion - it is Lilliputian and brimming with cultural titbits. The places at the top of my visit-itinerary were...

Whitby Harbour
Whitby's harbour is crisp and still: it is lined with beautiful boats which sway gently in front of the narrow houses which are cobbled on to Whitby's hills. It's landscape is exceptionally similar to Bergen, Norway, and if you are entranced by European travel, you will bask in its view.
Pictured above: the view of the harbour and the village from the steps below the Castle

Whitby Abbey
Like many people who love to explore, I find ruins to be so beautiful. They tell their own story, and they leave room for every passer-by to similarly make up their own. The Abbey is a 7th Century monastery, grand in size despite being partially destroyed, and helped inspire Bram Stoker's Gothic novel Dracula. It is evident in the crowds which flock to Whitby that many - cloaked in black and eager to head to the Dracula exhibitions - are drawn to the town as a result of Stoker's work. Even if you haven't read the book, you can feel the Gothic elements in the atmosphere, which adds to Whitby's allure - and, of course, the town caters to tourist needs, providing stacks of copies of Dracula in the tourist information portals.
Pictured above: an array of versions of Dracula, all with covers which express differing artistic interpretations of the text

Church of St Mary
Ever since I became a member of St Mary's College at Durham University I have noticed Churches named after St Mary everywhere! Whenever I see one I feel a little buzz of recognition. The Church of St Mary in Whitby is small and sweet (especially when lined with Christmas trees, as it is in the Winter months) and wonderful for a moment of quiet and shelter, away from the breeze beyond.
A particularly sunny moment on the skirts of St Mary's Church, overlooking the beach and village scenes below

The Old Town
Like most Old Towns and Village Shambles, Whitby's Old Town is brimming with a hobbledycobbledy collection of cute quaint shops, particularly aimed at lovers of chocolate, ice cream, books and teddy bears. Plus, there are food and drink shops at every nook, so you will be able to find a place to nibble (a la Count Dracula) in no time!

The beach
Whitby's beach has a fast approaching tide, but the beach is worth padding across (there is the potential that, to pad across the beach, you may need to paddle through the waves). The overhanging cliffs are magnificent and it is particularly atmospheric on a stormy or rainy day.

Have you ever visited the Haus of Dracula? It is wonderfully Gothic! Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below...

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