A Hyperactive Artist’s Guide to Whitby Part 1

Down the road from historical haunted York is Yorkshire’s alternative seaside town Whitby. Having grown up in a British seaside town, it’s not that often I have found myself visiting other areas of the British coast. Wrongfully I have assumed that they are either nice but far away, or close but comprising solely of neon arcades, tourist traps and grimy bars full of stag and hen parties. I assumed they were what I as used to, except with much less rollercoasters, firework festivals and kitschy light displays. I always knew though, that if I were to venture somewhere it was always going to be Gothic Whitby.  For nothing more than the eerie Abbey ruins and gothic reputation. I have often been recommended to visit by friends certain that I would be besotted with the ‘Dracula Experience’ attraction. Indeed, the association of the town with Bram Stoker’s famous novel is a draw in itself.

Fangs for the Memories 

In the novel ‘Dracula’ the ship that the famous vampire enters England on arrives into Whitby harbour. If I remember right, the ship arrives in the dead of night, not a crew member to be found and full of crates of soil. The soil we understand is Transylvaniain, where Dracula slept during his transport. The crew members we assume, having faced a grisly vampiric death at sea. Stoker himself widely known to have stayed in the town, and reported to have written some of the novel there also I believe. 

I would like there to be more influence from the novel in the town. However, my friends were entirely correct about the ‘Dracula Experience’ being right up my alley. Kitsch, cheap and naff. I use the word naff lovingly of course. I have a complete penchant for haunted houses, ghost trains and cheap thrills and spills. The Dracula Experience is entirely that. Costs about £3 to get in. Signs up warning you of live actors and yet we never saw a soul the entire way around. 

Abbey Lane

The Abbey is a beautiful, imposing structure overlooking the town and the sea. Instantly visable as you approach Whitby. A beacon that you are about to arrive at your coastal destination.

For a fee you can visit the ruins, which I reccomend. The remaining architecture is a treat to behold. I found it inspiring enough that I subsequently sank many hours into completing a fine drawing of just a small portion of the ruins. Visit the neighbouring graveyard for views across the seafront.

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