Visiting Whitby Abbey on the Cleveland Way

by Cass Jenks

Dracula on the Cleveland Way

Bram Stoker's Dracula

It's the novel that defined the modern vampire. Dracula charts the advance of the undead count from Transylvania across to England and is famous both for its blood-drinking villain and its atmospheric Gothic setting.

Stowed away atop coffins of Transylvanian soil, Dracula crosses to England on an unwitting Russian ship. He feasts on the crew along the way, until at last the ship runs aground at Whitby. Here, the rescue party find the stranded vessel empty - save for the captain's body, roped to the helm with an ominous diary in hand.

Dracula's Whitby

The novel pays a great deal of attention to the bay, streets and graveyards of Whitby. It lends them an eery, dangerous atmosphere as the residents begin to fall victim to the vampiric threat.

The town visited by our Cleveland Way walking holiday is a far warmer, friendlier place. That might change, of course, if you deliberately step out at night, Bram Stoker's work in hand, to drum up that Gothic tingle of fright.

Dracula on the Cleveland Way

The vast abbey that stands over Whitby is a more uniformly imposing structure. Its carved stone peaks and arches form a distinctive silhouette above the houses, standing high up on the headland.

Apparently it's not unusual to spy tourists prowling the graves nearby in search of Dracula's headstone. Fictional though the count may be, his ability to bewitch seems to exceed even the powers his author envisaged.

Walk to the site

If you too adore the definitive vampire novel, or quite like the look of Whitby's towering abbey, you can visit Whitby while walking the Cleveland Way.

Cass J, writer at Contours Holidays, rides a mountain bike down a hill.

Cass Jenks

Marketing and Strategy Consultant

Resident writer, editor and Google-wrangler at Contours Holidays, Cass spends each weekend on the trails, walking the dog or plummeting downhill along Wales’ best mountain biking tracks.

Read more blogs by Cass Jenks

Originally published 20/04/15

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