by Amy Lord
Join me as I step back in time with a visit to the quaint fishing village of Whitby, on the North Yorkshire coast.
Full of winding, cobbled streets, and tiny shops and cafes, this town is the perfect place for literary heroines to experience the British seaside. It has been cited as inspiration by a number of well-known writers, not least Bram Stoker, who set part of his Gothic masterpiece, Dracula, there.
So you see, Whitby has more to offer than the typical seaside arcades and ice cream parlours. It has a darker side, one that attracted the vampire Count himself…
> Enjoy fish and chips at the Magpie Café
One of Britain’s favourite traditional dishes is a portion of fish and chips, especially on a trip to the seaside. The Magpie Café is famous for them, with queues for the restaurant snaking along the street outside in all weathers. If you prefer to eat your meal straight from the paper as you sit on the seafront, they also have a handy takeaway.
> Climb the 199 steps and explore the Abbey
Burn off your fish and chip supper by climbing the steps from Church Street up to St. Mary’s churchyard, which sits on the edge of the cliff beside Whitby Abbey. Enjoy the dramatic views over the harbour as you wander through the gravestones, where Dracula once stalked Mina Harker.
> Browse the shelves at the Whitby Bookshop
For me, no trip to Whitby is complete without a visit to the Whitby Bookshop. It can be found along one of the town’s winding cobbled streets, and is packed with both new releases and a selection of old favourites. After perusing the shelves downstairs, climb up the rickety spiral staircase to the first floor and discover a bargain.
> Dress up at the vintage photo place
If you’ve ever fancied stepping back in time, head along The Victorian Image on Sandgate and have your photograph taken in Victorian fancy dress. You’ll come away with an old fashioned print to commemorate your trip.
> Take a stroll along the pier with an ice cream
Enjoy a traditional seaside stroll with an ice cream in hand, either wandering along the pier to the old lighthouse, or along the beach out onto the flats where you can explore the rock pools whilst the tide is out.
> Mingle with the crowds at the Goth festival
As the home of Dracula, it’s no surprise that Whitby is famous for all things gothic. Twice a year, in the town hosts the popular Goth Weekend, where people of all kinds dress up in their finery and enjoy music, markets and entertainment.
> Shop for traditional Whitby jet jewellery
Jet is a beautiful gemstone formed from fossilised wood that has been compressed over millions of years. Although it can be found around the world, some of the best quality gems come from a seven-mile stretch of the North Yorkshire coast around Whitby. Naturally the town has several shops selling jewellery made from the shiny black gemstones, so you can buy something stunning to take home.
Amy [Ten Penny Dreams] writes a literary lifestyle blog to inspire fellow bookworms whilst penning novels and adventuring in northern England.
> Xandra recommends: A Manifesto for Dreamers