Monday, 24 October 2011

Anne Bronte's grave and Dracula's port: A trip to Whitby and Scarborough

What was a pleasure jaunt now looks like a bit of a morbid trip in the light of all the graveyards we visited on a recent trip to Whitby and Scarborough. Mike was itching for a celebratory excursion after writing his final exam (the culmination of 6 years of on and off Open Uni studies) and so we tripped off to Scarborough for a glimpse of the sea. 

While the sea front was gaudy in the extreme (Coney Island ice cream parlour anyone?) we stumbled (not quite literally) onto Anne Bronte's grave. Lying in the shade of the castle walls, it seemed rather sad that Anne ended up so far from her sisters, but she at least she had a chance to enjoy the 'unspeakable purity - and freshness of the air'. Saying, 

"There was just enough heat to enhance the value of the breeze, and just enough wind to keep the whole sea in motion, to make the waves come bounding to the shore, foaming and sparkling, as if wild with glee." 

It reminded me of Elizabeth Gaskell's excellent, The Life of Charlotte Bronte, and made me want to read it again for its sympathetic look at the sister's lives. 

In keeping with our horror tinged holiday, the hotel we stayed at was like an alternative set from The Shining, complete with mustard and gold bar room where all the guests met in the evening before dinner. I kept waiting for the waitor to tell Mike he needed to 'correct me'.

Next was Whitby, where Bram Stoker apparently stayed when he wrote about the infamous bloodsucker. Being a bit of a Gothic fantasy fan myself, it was great to mooch around the graveyard at Whitby cathedral and soak up the atmosphere in the town below.

With its numerous 'goth' shops and tea rooms, and its picturesque harbour I would definitely recommend it - especially next weekend on All Hallow's Eve. Who knows what will come crawling out of the grave?

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