Dracula and Whitby are forever connected, thanks to Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel. The story is well known worldwide and brought the idea of an undead, blood-thirsty creature into popular culture.
Here, we’re going to give you a little more insight about the connections between Dracula and Whitby. We’ll also show you some of the activities you can check out about the Whitby vampire while you’re here.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Whitby
Stoker found some of his inspiration for his novel while staying in Whitby in 1890. He’d been recommended to stay in our coastal town by actor Henry Irving after the two had finished a theatrical tour of Scotland.
By the time he came to Whitby, Stoker was already planning a vampire tale. He used his time in here to research and develop his ideas. Until his Whitby stay, his protagonist was a going to be called Count Wampyr.
Thanks to some time spent in Whitby library, he uncovered the name we all know today. There, Stoker learned about Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler as he’s more commonly known. Vlad was dubbed ‘Dracula’ meaning son of the dragon and devil in the Wallachian language.
Wallachia is the name for the historical and geographical region of Romania. If you’ve done your Dracula homework, you’ll know the character originates in Transylvania, Romania. 8th August 1980 marks the discovery of this name, the same date Dracula’s fictional ship runs aground in Whitby.
If you wander through the graveyard at St Mary’s church next to Whitby Abbey, you’ll find the a tombstone of a man named Swales. This name, among others, was noted by Stoker during his stay. Revisit Dracula and you’ll find that it’s poor Swales who becomes Dracula’s first Whitby victim.
There are little bits of Whitby to be found throughout Stoker’s novel, including, of course, our famous 199 steps to the abbey. Dracula, in dog form, is shown to run up the steps after his ship is wrecked on the beach. You’ll also see references to the town’s red roofs and noble ruins of the abbey.
Dracula attractions in Whitby
There are several Dracula related activities you can get involved in during your stay in Whitby, and our connections with the vampire are clear to see throughout the town. It’s perhaps one of the reasons we’re so popular with the Goth community.
Did you know we have a Whitby Goth Weekend twice a year?
The Dracula Experience
You won’t want to miss the Dracula Experience. Once inside, you’ll see the novel brought to life as you walk through different scenes and watch them unfold around you.
You’ll find the experience on 9 Marine Parade in a building dating back hundreds of years. One of the earliest Title Deeds shows Sir Isaac Newton to be one of the building’s original owners.
If you happen to see a young girl with ringlets in her hair playing on the first floor, she’s not one of the actors, but the resident ghost!
The Whitby Abbey
No visit to Whitby is complete without a walk up to the abbey and a careful count of the 199 steps. Follow the route taken by Dracula as he flees the wreckage of his ship up into the graveyard and abbey ruins. The abbey is also a great place to learn a little more about the history of the town.
There are several really interesting ghost walks you can set out on around town. But, for those interested in Dracula and Whitby, you need to take a trip with Dr Crank. His walk ‘In Search of Dracula’ will take you to the places featured in the novel and give you a much better idea of the connection between the town and the character.