Whether to explore the connection to Dracula, buy a piece of Jet jewellery or simply admire this gothic town. Whitby has welcomed the Gothic community for decades. Here are 8 reasons why Goths love Whitby.
There truly is something for everyone to enjoy in Whitby. It has everything you love in a seaside town and so much more. Beaches, sometimes some sunshine, shops, ice cream, fishing, crabbing, history, and more. It is a gorgeous little getaway spot visited by thousands every year.
Having said all that there is a group of people who, debatably, love Whitby more than anyone else. They flock there twice a year, at least, and in their thousands. They celebrate everything Dracula, spooky, and ghostly that the town has to offer. Who are these people? Well, the Goth community of course, and here’s 8 reasons why they love this spectacular town so much!
1. Whitby Goth Weekend
Whitby Goth Weekend is just one of two amazing events that are held biannually in Whitby. It involves a weekend of fabulous alternative music, gatherings of the like-minded, and an amazing display of all things gothic, steampunk, and everything in between meandering down Whitby’s streets.
Originally the brainchild of, and still run by Jo Hampshire, Whitby Goth Weekend or WGW as it is now known, for short, usually occurs during the second weekend of April and the last weekend of October. It attracts more than 1,500 visitors from the UK and beyond. Not all visitors to this amazing event are goths or alternatives, everyone is welcome!
This fabulous event started when a group of around forty pen pals decided that it was time to meet up. They did this in the Elsinore public house in Whitby and a twenty-eight-year tradition began. Of course, over the years the WGW has grown and developed into the large event it is today. Whitby was chosen for its connection to Dracula and gothic feel.
2. Connections to Dracula
It’s very hard not to be cliche and stereotypical when it comes to the Goths love of Whitby and all things Dracula. It is, however, a common truth, that this story is loved and celebrated during the Whitby Goth Weekend. Tracing its steps, and taking fabulous photographs in its famous locations.
Whitby’s connection to Dracula is probably common knowledge for any fan of the story or visitor to Whitby. However, it is an interesting story and links Whitby further with all things Gothic. I would, for example, be telling you nothing new if I told you that Bram Stoker, Dracula’s author, was staying in Whitby during the creation of his most famous tale and that, that is one of the reasons Whitby ends up featuring in the tale. But why does it fit so well?
Basically, when Bram Stoker visited Whitby, he was already working on a tale set in Austria with the central character being Count Wampyr. This was probably due to the time’s favoured literature being tales of foreign lands, eerie castles, and all things Gothic. Unsurprisingly, as Bram Stoker wandered the streets and lanes of Whitby, he found that very vibe there. This was especially true of Whitby Abbey and the Church of St Mary beneath it. The Dracula Experience is also well worth a visit!
3. Whitby Abbey and St Mary’s Graveyard
Whitby Abbey is a highly favoured visitor attraction for Goths who come to Whitby. This is partly due to the haunting description that Bram Stoker gave it in Dracula but also for its appearance now. In the darkness, the ruins of this once great Gothic building look haunting, spooky, yet still majestic. It is the perfect place to take some spectacular photos that capture the Gothic persona to its max.
The graveyard of St Mary’s contains many interesting and ravaged by time gravestones that just scream out to be photographed with Whitby’s Gothic visitors. They also, interestingly feature in Bram Stoker’s novel with names from them being used in his prose. The name ‘Swales’ for example is used by Stoker for the first victim of Dracula in Whitby, and also on the gravestone of one of St Mary’s eternal sleepers.
4. Tomorrows Ghosts Weekend
Tomorrows Ghosts is the second and more recent of the two fabulous events that are held with Goths in mind specifically in Whitby. Like the Whitby Goth Weekend, Tomorrows Ghosts is held twice a year, also in April and October. As well as a weekend full of alternative music and markets selling all things Gothic, Tomorrows Ghosts also host a fabulous film festival and talks with guest speakers. They bring less well known and hard to see artists and performers to Whitby alongside established performers. They are committed to supporting nominated charities and partners through their events.
5. Meet great people
There is absolutely no denying that we love Whitby for its friendly and warm welcome that is extended to everyone, not only during the Goth weekends but all year round. The people of Whitby and all its visitors, after all, embrace the Gothic charm and history of this fabulous town with open arms.
It is no secret, also, that people love to photograph the different and wonderful costumes that the Goths are dressed in. Photographers flock to Whitby, especially during the Goth weekends and the results, which are fantastic, can be seen easily online.
6. Find unique Gothic clothing and items
Whitby is full of one of kind, alternative clothing stores bursting at the seams with delectable dresses, terrific trousers, and fabulous footwear. Whitby is also home to some terrific independent stores that you will not find elsewhere selling everything from lucky glass ducks, not very Gothic I know, but still loved, to everything you need for pagan rituals. Goths visiting Whitby love to shop here for that something different.
7. Whitby Jet
It’s no secret that Goths tend to favour, not always, but often, jewellery that is dark, bold and created with the Gothic such as spiders, black cats, bats, and crosses in mind. This makes Whitby a centre for the kind of jewellery that they love as it is famous for the dark and mysterious gem, Jet.
Jet has continually mesmerised its wearers, including Goths, for many years now with its jet black colouration and amazing shine when polished. It is sourced from fossilised wood that has been undiscovered for millions of years with the best samples being found in the much loved Whitby. Read about the history of Whitby Jet Jewellery.
Nowadays there are many jet jewellers in Whitby who create some fantastic pieces. There is a plethora of necklaces, rings, and bracelets adorned with spiders, their webs, swooping bats, and all kinds of stylised crosses bound to warn even the meanest vampire off!
8. Haunted Whitby
Dracula is not the only supernatural tale that Whitby has to offer, they also have ghosts, ghouls and legends galore. From stories of the mystical and magical, tragic shipwrecks, superstition, and burning girls, Whitby has it all. There are many creepy tales linked with Whitby including rumours of a set of witches, the demonic screams that emanate through the screaming tunnel, and the hand of glory; a burning candle attached to a hanged man’s hand that aided yesteryears criminals. Certainly not last, and definitely not least there is the story of the burning girl. There are plenty of Ghost tours you can join in Whitby, find more information here.