Founded in 657 AD by the Anglo-Saxon king Oswy, the now ruined Abbey at Whitby overlooks the town and the river Esk from the East clifftop nearby. Even after its destruction by a bloody Viking raid in 867 ad, and again by Henry viii in 1540, it remained a prominent landmark for sailors and local people alike - a stark and magnificent testament to the deep historical and cultural background of the town. Later still its atmosphere and imposing character would be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's masterpiece, Dracula, in which a doomed cargo ship carries the Count to Whitby.
Today, the Abbey, steeped in over two millennia of history, is still one of England's most important archaeological sites. The Abbey can be reached by car, or on foot via the famous 199 steps which lead to the site from the town below. The building is a cornerstone of the folklore which makes Whitby an inspirational place to visit for those interested in the traditions and history of Britain, as well as anyone who simply wants to take in one of the most beautiful spots of the North Yorkshire coastline.