English Heritage Bring A Very Particular Kind Of History To Life At Whitby Abbey

At least 1,369 vampires gathered at Whitby’s Gothic Abbey on 26th May, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula – and the get-together has been officially confirmed as a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ for the largest ever congregation of vampires.
May 27, 2022

Dracula has had a phenomenal cultural impact on Whitby and the wider region – and visitors are welcomed from all around the world as a result.

Just like Bram Stoker, most fall in love with its incredible atmosphere, thousand-year history and stunning sea views.

Whitby Abbey’s record breaking vampire gathering was the first in a series of events planned by English Heritage in 2022 to celebrate the 125th anniversary.

While Bram Stoker’s book might well make you shiver, there was a real care-free sense of happiness and inclusion from attendees, as they queued patiently in the evening Spring sunshine to be counted. It was also incredibly windy, which ensured a maximum billowing of capes.

English Heritage of course said afterwards, it had been a fangtastic effort. But there was a lot at stake. After months of meticulous preparation, the idea was still a nerve-wracking one.

“It was a daft event, yes, but one we were taking deadly seriously”, said the Abbey’s site manager, Mark Williamson, who looked every-bit the blood-thirsty dandy, wearing a magnificent Victorian cape and suit made in the 1840s. “I live with a costume historian,” he explained.

And while the ‘horror’ genre generally has a thing for making victims of women, there are exceptions. Vampires are one of horror’s favourite characters and, interestingly, female vampires are some of the few examples where women are actually in control, and even empowered, transcending both genre and gender stereotypes. Their secret power? Fashion. The Yorkshire coast was awash last-night with vampiric divas.

Vampires are glamorous, sophisticated, cultured creatures. They love luxury and indulgence, and this was made most obvious in Whitby through their clothing.

Also perhaps unexpected, was the overwhelming sense of both community and individual empowerment, that permeated the cliff-top event. The young, the old, families, people with ‘vampire’ dogs, lone vampires and vampire couples had travelled from across the UK (and possibly even further afield) to participate in this once in a ‘lifetime’ event (perhaps not the correct noun?!)

There are further great events coming up this year at the Abbey, for any Dracula fan to get their teeth into. You can find the details here:


All images copyright: Mag North