Lonely Planet Writer

See the historic Whitby Abbey that inspired Dracula lit up for Halloween

The historic and beautiful Whitby Abbey in England will be illuminated in a range of striking coloured lights this week to mark the run-up to Halloween, with a range of special events planned.

The historic Abbey will be lit up for four nights in the run up to Halloween.
The historic Abbey will be lit up for four nights in the run up to Halloween. Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
Whitby Abbey sits on East cliff in the town in a commanding position overlooking the North Sea.
Whitby Abbey sits on East cliff in the town in a commanding position overlooking the North Sea. Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
The ruins inspired part of Bram Stoker's Dracula after the Irish author visited the area in 1890.
The ruins inspired part of Bram Stoker’s Dracula after the Irish author visited the area in 1890. Image by Whitby Abbey

The ruins of the 13th-century church are one of the most celebrated sights in North Yorkshire, with literary fans from all over the world making the pilgrimage each year to find out more about the Abbey that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Following a visit to the site in 1890, the Irish author heard the tale of a Russian vessel called the Dmitry that was shipwrecked on the shores of Whitby six years earlier. The ship later featured in the book as the Demeter, a vessel with a slightly changed name that carries Count Dracula to Whitby with a cargo of silver sand and boxes of earth.

Bram Stoker's Dracula was published in 1897, becoming one of the most famous novels of all time.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897, becoming one of the most famous novels of all time. Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
The Abbey will host special events this week in celebration of Halloween, with a host of characters on site to interact with visitors.
The Abbey will host special events this week in celebration of Halloween, with a host of characters on site to interact with visitors. Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

In celebration of the famous gothic novel, Whitby Abbey will be illuminated for four nights this week until 29 October, during which time visitors will get the chance to encounter costumed characters from the past, including grave robbers and ghost hunters. There will also be special performances of Dracula taking place each night for lucky guests.

Actor Richard Hollick poses for a picture as he prepares to play Dracula during a performance at the spectacular light display during illuminations at the historic Whitby Abbey.
Actor Richard Hollick prepares to play Dracula during a performance at Whitby Abbey. Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
This spectacular headland was first settled as a monastery in AD657 by King Oswy of Northumbria.
This spectacular headland was first settled as a monastery in AD657 by King Oswy of Northumbria. Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
The Abbey features 199 steps leading from the town up to the site.
The Abbey features 199 steps leading from the town up to the site. Image by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

“Having the abbey illuminated allows visitors to come in and experience the site after dark whilst getting an insight into the rich history that inspired Dracula. We encourage Halloween fancy dress for this spectacular event and invite people to wrap up warm, join us for a hot chocolate and enjoy witnessing history brought to life,” said Delphine Jasmin-Belisle, Site Manager at Whitby Abbey.

More information on event times and tickets is available at the English Heritage website.