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4. Gothic ruins and Dracula (Whitby, North Yorkshire)

Arriving the day before, we spent the night at Long Meadow Farm, a very well maintained campervan area (20 pounds), on grass and gravel, with all the usual amenities (water, electricity, waste water disposal), located by an adjacent road a few minutes from the center of Whitby, a seaside and port village, known since the Middle Ages for whaling and herring hunting. Several large shopping centers and gas stations are also nearby, you have to take advantage of them! A pretty road runs along the coast which allows you to avoid the town center and reach Withby Abbey quickly (Hawsker Lane).

Main visit of the day, the gothic ruins of the incredible Whitby Abbey (entrance included in the English Heritage pass at 72 pounds/person and valid for one year), which inspired Bram Stoker for his gothic novel Dracula, published in 1897. A great Parking is located right next door, just follow the signs. WCs, a refreshment bar and a shop complete the place.

Nearly 3,000 years of history dominate the site, which played a central role in the history of Christianity in England. The first monastery dates from 657 AD. Shortly after, the place hosted the synod which decided the date of the Easter festival and the abandonment of the Celtic religion in favor of the Christian religion. A Benedictine monastery succeeded it, the old one having been destroyed by the Danes. It was abandoned in 1539 and destroyed by bombs during the First World War.

The old cemetery and St. Mary's Church overlooking the cliffs, below Whitby Abbey, are worth a detour. The tombs, whose inscriptions engraved in the stone are erased, eroded by the sea winds, cause their share of chills and are connected with the novel of Dracula. The atmosphere is in a bygone era, sailors lost at sea in the time of lords and ladies, swashbuckling fights and duels against a backdrop of jealousy and passions. It doesn't take much to get lost in Mina Murray's wanderings through the pages of Stoker.

Treat yourself to a city tour with the Whitby Town Tower (£8.50/person/24 hours) which will save you from climbing the 199 steps leading to the Abbey to return from the village. On the quays, enjoy fish & chips in one of the many restaurants or a delicious seafood platter at Fishermann's Wife, located more peacefully, with a view of the sea.

Whitby was an already known stopover on our route. The magic of its Abbey still operates and will encourage us to stop there again. This small town is full of charm, even if there are always more tourists there.

A long drive awaits us the next day, we decide to sleep one more night there, on a roadside location located just outside Whitby, towards Goathland. The place is spacious, quiet and uncrowded. The sunrise in the morning is just magnificent. We took the opportunity to taste the wine labeled “Dracula”, pure joy!

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