English Heritage unveils £1.6m Whitby Abbey project

A £1.6 million improvement project will soon begin at Whitby Abbey, best known as the fictional landing place for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.

The ruins of Whitby Abbey attract more than 150,000 visitors a year and the site is a popular year-round destination for groups.

Spring 2019 will see English Heritage unveil a revamped museum, new landscaping, upgrades to the visitor entrance and shop, and a new coffee shop.

Benches will be added to the courtyard, along with herbs including sage, dill and lavender which will create the scent of a medieval monastic infirmary.

Cultural and historical information will be placed around the site to tell the story of its history.

The shop in the visitor centre, which was a grand banqueting hall in the 17th century, will be extended to cover the ground floor allowing a better flow for groups and helping to prevent queues at peak times.

At the abbey’s north entrance – at the top of the ‘199 steps’ leading from the fishing village of Whitby – a lodge will become the new coffee shop.

The new museum space and exhibition will house rare and internationally significant objects, from the early Bronze Age through to the occupation of the Cholmley family in the late 1600s.

Free pre-booked 20 minute group tours are available, covering the abbey’s history from dinosaurs to Dracula. Medieval mead tasting sessions are available and must be pre-booked.

Work is due to start at Whitby Abbey on November 5.

• Stokesay Castle near Ludlow, Shropshire, has unveiled a new interpretation project, which offers visitors a ‘tactile’ experience.

The English Heritage project means visitors can now climb stairs, handle objects and sit on replica furniture to gain an insight into the purpose of the rooms within the medieval building.

This autumn will also see a garden project begin at Stokesay, ready for groups to view in the 2019 season.