Dracula was originally published in 1897. While this may make him a bit long in tooth (we’re here all week), when you consider all the TV and film adaptations, books, toys and costumes celebrating Bram Stoker’s creation over the years, you can definitely say he has become immortal.
To mark Dracula’s enduring legacy, here are 5 locations in the UK and Ireland to celebrate the count and his creator.
1. Dublin, Ireland
Bram Stoker was born in Clontarf, a coastal suburb on Dublin’s north side. He later worked as a civil servant at Dublin Castle, which inspired the occupation of lead character Jonathan Harker in the novel.
While working as a theatre reviewer for the Dublin evening Mail, Stoker wrote a positive review of Henry Irving’s Hamlet at the Theatre Royal. He became friends with the actor and later went on to work as his manager. The well-dressed but brooding Irving was also said to be the main inspiration for Count Dracula!
2. Whitby, Yorkshire
While researching his novel, Stoker visited Whitby upon a recommendation by Irving. The dramatic bat-infested arches of the ruined Abbey and the wild waves crashing against the headland all struck a chord with Stoker and Dracula began to take shape.
Whitby was featured in the novel as the site of Dracula’s entry to the UK (as a large hound running up the 199 steps no less). Interestingly, the wreck he fled from was based on a true life Russian ship that ran aground on the shore a few years earlier.
Stoker moved to London to manage Irving’s Lyceum Theatre between 1878 and 1898. This was the location of the first stage performance of Dracula; it attracted two customers and was described as ‘dreadful’!
Stoker also lived at 18 St Leonard’s Terrace in Chelsea during his time in the Capital. A blue plaque now hangs on the property.
A large part of Dracula was set in London, too. Jonathan Harker researched Transylvania in the British Museum before setting off to meet the Count, and, later in the book, he visits Hyde Park and walks towards Piccadilly where he sees Dracula in the street.
4. Slains Castle, Aberdeenshire
Stoker never visited Romania – instead spending years researching the country through books. It is thought that New Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire was the inspiration for Castle Dracula. Look at its imposing location on the North Sea Cliffs and you can certainly see why!
Stoker stayed in the area two years before Dracula was published, and it is thought that he may have stayed at the castle. Now in ruin since the roof was removed, the location is even spookier today!
5. Exeter, Devon
Jonathan Harker sets off from Cathedral Close in Exeter towards Transylvania. Following a visit with the count, he and his wife Mina return to stay with Jonathan’s employer in the city.
It is thought by some that Exeter’s inclusion in the novel was to thank local writer Sabine Baring-Gould, whose work was a great influence on Stoker. While this fact is often disputed, with more hours of annual sunshine than many other places on the list, it is perhaps one of the most unlikely places for Dracula to visit and a delightful location to boot!