A trip to Whitby to get into the Halloween spirit.
My visit was part of a wider itinerary to explore the Yorkshire Coast Route, a new route intended to showcase the off-season charms of the Yorkshire seaside.
The route spans 240 miles, taking in the North Yorks Moors National Park and walking routes off the Cleveland Way National Trail.
The highlight, however, is Whitby.
The traditional Yorkshire fishing village of Whitby is bracing itself for a black-mascara influx this autumn, hosting events to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula.
Published in 1897, Dracula was inspired by the seascape and atmospheric backstreets of Whitby with several key scenes set in the town.
The spindly ruins of Whitby Abbey [pictured above] remain the main draw, the Gothic-novel literati eagerly climbing the 199 steep, stone steps to soak up the abbey’s atmospheric setting.
By the time Bram Stoker visited Whitby in August 1890, the abbey had long since adopted its eerily tumbledown form.
He drew on local legends, such as the wreck of a sailing vessel, The Demeter in the novel, and the folklore of the barghest, a wolf-like hound that stalked the moors.
These added local colour to the story of his Transylvanian anti-hero.
Hence, when Dracula is shipwrecked off Whitby, Stoker has him transform into a fierce black dog, leaping from the ship to bound up the cliffs to the abbey.
“Dracula’s animalistic representation of the occult loomed large in the Victorian imagination.”
“The beastly incarnation was both shocking, yet fascinating, to Victorian society,” says Mark Williamson, Site Manager for English Heritage.
Read the full story in i Travel, A Very Gothic Grand Tour.