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What is Whitby Goth Weekend and how did it come about?

From Captain Cook to Dracula, whaling to walking, Whitby has been a sought-after tourist destination for centuries. But what about the famous Whitby Goth Weekend?

You may have seen images of spookily dressed revellers heading to the seaside for this biannual event. The weekend takes place every April and October, and typically attracts around 1,500 visitors – including some internationals!

Whitby Goth Weekend: where one of the best-known Whitby events began

Whitby is perhaps most famous for its connections to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, having been chosen as the setting for the chilling novel. But Whitby’s dark and gothic connections transcend literature – there is also gothic architecture in the form of the Whitby Abbey ruins.

Wanting to pay tribute to Whitby’s gothic roots, Jo Hampshire founded an event in 1994. Like many world-famous gatherings, it started as a small social meet-up in a pub. Just three years later, it became a renowned bi-annual festival, featuring:

  • Live music
  • Costumes
  • Local markets
  • Charity football matches.

Fans of gothic rock, synth pop and heavy metal are welcomed with open arms every year. And the event isn’t open to ‘alternatives’ only – anybody with a sense of fun can take part!

Why the White Horse and Griffin loves Whitby Goth Weekend

Over the years, our themed public house has become a mainstay of the weekend, with many visitors booking up to two years in advance.

Fans come for the festival and stay for the history – with many eager to learn about our connections to Captain Cook and Charles Dickens. We’ve worked hard to maintain our gothic, historical image, paying tribute to Bram Stoker’s Dracula with candlelit interiors and dark aesthetic.

What to expect from the Whitby Goth Weekend

If you’re a first-time visitor, be prepared to wear comfortable shoes! Whitby is known for its long walks including the 199 Steps – and while gothic dress isn’t ideal for hiking, it’s certainly worth it for the views.

There’s also a chance to indulge in a little retail therapy. Since 1994, more and more gothic-themed retailers have cropped up in Whitby, selling their clothing and accessories to darkly-dressed visitors.

Those sensible shoes should also be dancing shoes as more bands book to hit the stage. Head to venues like the RAW Nightclub and The Metropole to see your favourite bands perform.

And above all else, make sure you’ve booked ahead. You can book your room online at the White Horse and Griffin here.

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