One of my closest friends is moving back to Germany next week after 18 years in London *cries* and one of the things she really wanted to do before leaving was to visit Whitby. Being a place where Bram Stoker visited prior to writing Dracula there are a lot of connections within the book. I’ve wanted to visit Whitby ever since school when I first read Dracula so we knew this trip had to happen.
Living in Watford the journey was meant to take about 4-4 and a half hours so we left at 7.15am with the hope of arriving by midday. Sadly due to a junction closure on the M1 we had a 2.5 hour delay just from this, but after over 7 hours driving we made it. Driving to Whitby itself was an experience as there is so much moorland it reminded me of The Woman in Black and I knew it would be pretty creepy at nighttime. The driving was an experience as there were a lot of steep inclines and drops on the roads but we made it to the pub we were staying in for the night.
After a quick change in our room we headed into Whitby centre straight to The Abbey and it was such a beautiful site. The ruins sit on a clifftop overlooking the town itself and despite it being in ruins the condition of certain areas is still really good. Being a national heritage site there was an audio tour but we didn’t bother with this as we only wanted to see the ruins and imagine how Bram Stoker would have felt here.
Next to the Abbey is St Mary’s church and graveyard which is perched literally on the cliff edge, so close as well that about four or five years ago due to erosion on the cliff edge some bones and graves which were buried there actually dropped down the cliff onto the homes below (poor people!) The church itself is pretty unimpressive but for some reason I love wandering around graveyards, there is such a strange feeling of peace in them.
From the cemetery, there are 199 steps down from the cliff edge to the rest of Whitby so after a quick walk we wandered around some of the cute little stores in the town. I could have gone crazy in the shops as they had so many skulls and other ornaments which are totally up my street. I was restrained though and only bought two things and a few books including a version of Dracula that I can re-read.
After a quick pub dinner and a few drinks, we joined onto the original ghost tour of the town. Like most ghost tours the person who ran it was absolutely crazy and the stories ambiguous especially for an agnostic ghost believer. The tour itself was only £5 though and we heard some cool stories, saw some nice buildings and were dropped back at the bottom of the 199 steps. As it was about 930pm and pretty dark by now we knew we had to re-climb the steps, walk through the graveyard and look at the abbey ruins from outside in the blackness.
Neither myself or my friend are real party animals/ heavy drinkers so after our nighttime wonder we went back to our room and ate fudge in bed chatting. Perfect Saturday night! Leaving after breakfast on Sunday morning our journey actually only took about 3 hours 45 minutes which was incredible considering our journey up there.