Spooky stories and creepy crafts will turn the October half term holiday into a ghoulishly good week for families visiting Whitby Abbey, as English Heritage’s Time Travellers return for nine days of fiendish fun!
One of the most unpleasant characters from the 19th century will be making his return to the site, with the slightly creepy Victorian undertaker measuring up visitors for their coffins, and inviting children to join in a sombre funeral procession.
The young mourners will carry the traditional wands, ostrich feather crowns and flags as they process around the site. Between processions, the undertaker will take visitors on a tour, pointing out some of the locations that have given birth to local legends, from the mysterious chariot to the white lady spotted in an old window.
“The 19th century was a real boom time for scary stories, with writers like Mary Shelley and Edgar Alan Poe really stoking the public appetite for horror in the first half of the century, with Bram Stoker following the gothic tradition when he published Dracula in 1897 – using the silhouette of Whitby Abbey to set the scene for the place where the famous vampire landed on English soil,” explains Kath Trumper.
“However, this only reflected a growing fascination with funereal traditions in society at the time, with undertakers often taking advantage of grieving families to propose very expensive ‘send-offs’ for their loved ones.
“Even though families could often not afford these, particularly if they had lost the main bread-winner of the family, the undertaker would use all his powers of persuasion to convince them that anything less would show a lack of respect for their loved one.”
There will also be a family-friendly fun ghouls and ghosts trail around the site – with successful ghost hunters receiving a certificate for their efforts - as well as a number of crafty activities, including pipe-cleaner spider making and origami bats, inside Whitby Abbey’s visitor centre.
The activities run from Saturday 22 to Sunday 30 October, 10.00am to 4.00pm, with times for the processions and tours displayed on boards on site each day. Admission prices are £6.00 for adults, £5.40 concessions and £3.60 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) available for just £15.60. English Heritage members get in free. An additional £1 per child will be charged throughout the week to cover the cost of the Time Traveller activities.