Whitby Abbey

Unravel the story behind Dracula in this dramatic 13th-century monastery and enjoy its intricate carvings, fascinating stories and spectacular coastal views.

Whitby Abbey is a set of gothic clifftop ruins that inspired the literary legend of Dracula. In addition to its ecclesiastical role, the monastery served for centuries as a landmark for sailors and inspiration for writer Bram Stoker. Enjoy a picnic on a grassy patch nearby and amble through the ruins to get a sense of the abbey’s history.

Enter the Mansion Visitor Centre to see its collection of items from the abbey’s past. The visitor center is in a converted manor house and has exhibits on monastic life. Listen to dramatized speeches from monks and Bram Stoker. Interactive touch screens make learning fun for kids.

Admire the remaining parts of the monastery, today consisting of an imposing façade and many empty arches. See the ruins at night, when lights make the site glow against the night sky. Use the audio guide to learn about the various features of the monastery and its history.

Climb the 199 Steps that the mythical Dracula ascended upon his arrival to these shores. Imagine the writer ambling through these ruins on a chilly night toward the end of the 19th century, piecing together his influential masterpiece.

Learn about the history of the abbey, which also inspired the literary awakening of Cædman, the first English poet whose name history remembers. The monastery was an important religious center after being founded by King Oswy of Northumbria in the 7th century. Hear about Abbess Hilda, who ruled over the male and female monks of the original monastery.

Purchase souvenirs and fun presents with vampire themes from the site’s gift shop. Enjoy snacks and refreshments from the adjacent café with views of the abbey.

There is a fee to enter the abbey, with discounts for kids and families. The abbey is open to visitors daily from morning until late afternoon in summer. In winter, it opens only on weekends.

Whitby Abbey is east of the River Esk in the northeastern part of town. Visit the nearby attractions, such as the 199 Steps and the Church of St. Mary. A bus stop is just outside the abbey.

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