Travel

In the Steps of the Vampire

Our trip to Whitby took us first to the seaside resort town of Scarborough. For me, this had the significance of being the town where Anne Brontë died and sadly is buried away from her family, but alas, we didn’t have the time to track down her grave.

What we did have time for was a quick wade in the North Sea. It wasn’t nearly as cold as I feared, and I almost wished I had brought my bathing suit to enjoy a quick swim! As it was, I waded out to my knees (not as far as my friend, Ruth) and officially claimed the farthest eastern waters I’ve ever been in.

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Our next stop actually was in Whitby – Whitby Abbey. Suitably, the Abbey was completely shrouded in fog when we arrived, only becoming visible as we approached on foot through the tall, misty grasses. The Abbey was huge and the remaining ruins so majestic, I couldn’t help but wonder in amazement what it must have looked like in its original glory.

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From the Abbey, it was a short walk to St. Mary’s church, or perhaps more infamously, its graveyard, both inspiration and setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. From the church, once the fog has blown away, one can look out over the harbour and ocean, along with the picturesque village below.  As Stoker’s character, Mina writes in her journal:

This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over the town, and has a full view of the harbour and all up the bay to where the headland called Kettleness stretches out into the sea….

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To get to the town of Whitby proper, we walked in the steps of the vampire – one hundred ninety – nine of them to be precise.  Whitby itself is a beautiful, charming city, well worth a day of exploration, although a word of caution – the fish and chips are overrated.

After Whitby we spent the night in Goathland. You need to know two things about Goathland. First, there are sheep everywhere. Literally (no misuse of the word literally here), everywhere. In people’s yards, in the streets, hanging out on the obligatory local war monument. Sheep everywhere. Second, if you ever do go to Goathland (and really, why wouldn’t you?) stay at the Mallyan Spout Hotel. It’s fabulous, and the breakfasts are phenomenal. ‘Nuff said.

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The next day we caught a steam engine train in Goathland that ran through the North Moors National Park. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Then, just because we hadn’t had enough England for one trip, we made one more stop on the way home, this time at the market town of Helmsby. Despite being tired and ready to go back to my bed in the Manor, I was rewarded with the best lemon drizzle cake I’ve ever had at a little tea room tucked away off the market square.

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We finally arrived back to the Harlaxton that evening with a weekend off to look forward to before another packed week of Lack District fun followed by a solo excursion to Stratford-upon-Avon.

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