Whitby Abbey

sights / Historic

Lonely Planet review

There are ruined abbeys and there are picturesque ruined abbeys, and then there's Whitby Abbey, dominating the skyline above the East Cliff like a great Gothic tombstone silhouetted against the sky. Looking as though it was built as an atmospheric film set rather than a monastic establishment, it is hardly surprising that this medieval hulk inspired the Victorian novelist Bram Stoker (who holidayed in Whitby) to make it the setting for Count Dracula's dramatic landfall.

From the end of Church St, which has many shops selling jet jewellery, the 199 steps of Church Stairs will lead you steeply up to Whitby Abbey, passing the equally atmospheric St Mary's Church and its spooky graveyard, a favourite haunt of courting goth couples.