The story of Dracula is well known, but it’s the exact attention to the geographical detail of Whitby – little changed since Bram Stoker first wrote the words – which has proved a huge attraction to visitors. Using first-hand observation of a town he knew well – he stayed at a house on the West Cliff, now marked by a plaque – Stoker built a story which mixed real locations, legend and historical fact: the grounding of Count Dracula’s ship on Tate Hill Sands was based on an actual event reported in the local papers.
It’s hardly surprising that the town has cashed in on its Dracula Trail. The various sites – Tate Hill Sands, the abbey, church and steps, the graveyard, Stoker’s house – can all be visited, while down on the harbourside the Dracula Experience attempts to pull in punters to its rather lame horror-show antics. Keen interest has also been sparked amongst the Goth fraternity, who now come to town en masse a couple of times a year (in late spring and around Halloween) for a vampire’s ball, concerts and readings.