Whitby: A Gothic Destination
Whitby, North Yorkshire

Whitby’s Gothic reputation is largely owed to its association as a feature location in Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 vampire novel, Dracula. Known to have visited Whitby in 1890, Stoker is said to have been taken by the atmospheric landscape and boasts of Whitby Abbey within the novel as “a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits”.

Not only an inspiration to Stoker, Whitby became a popular holiday destination in the nineteenth century for writers such as George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens. For Gaskell, her view from Abbey Terrace cottage in 1859 “would have been filled by the cliff-top monastery that has been a ruin since the Dissolution” and directly inspired her fictional town of Monkshaven in Sylia’s Lovers (1863) as her correspondence confirms.

Visitors to Whitby today may choose to walk the 199 steps to the peak of the crumbling abbey or explore the town’s rich history at Whitby Museum, home to thousands of fascinating and macabre artefacts such as The Hangman’s Locket and The Hand of Glory. Whitby’s continual popularity as a Gothic destination is celebrated in its annual Goth Weekend in which contemporary lovers of Gothic art, music, film and culture gather for a weekend of festivity. Whether it’s a Dracula inspired tour of the town’s most spooky locations or a detailed insight into the Victorian’s morbid fascination with death through an examination of its affluent jet trade, Whitby has something to offer everyone interested in the Gothic.

For details of Whitby Museum please see: http://www.whitbymuseum.org.uk