The Scots hotel and castle that '˜inspired' Dracula

It Is famously set partly in Whitby, where its author, Bram Stoker, went for his summer holidays. But it is not the only location to believe it is the spiritual home of Dracula, and yesterday a hotel in the Scottish Highlands staked a rival claim.

Tne Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, where Bram Stoker is said to have begun writing Dracula.

A blue plaque screwed to the wall of the Kilmarnock Arms in Aberdeenshire designates it as the place in which Stoker staying when he begun writing the novel, one of many sensational tracts he composed supplement his income as a theatrical manager.

He first discovered its location, Cruden Bay, then known as Port Erroll, on a walking holiday in 1893 – returning the following year and allegedly writing in the hotel’s guest book: “Delighted with everything and everybody and hope to come again.”

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Another year later, he was back to write the early chapters of Dracula and returned to Aberdeenshire in 1896 to complete the later chapters.

The nearby New Slains Castle, with its dramatic cliff-top location, is said to have acted as a “visual palette”, for him.

Mike Shepherd, an author and member of the Port Erroll Heritage Group, said: “Bram Stoker knew everyone in elite society but instead of going on holiday to a continental spa or grouse shooting he would go to a fishing village on the Aberdeenshire coast year after year.

“I think Cruden Bay was his very special place where he could feel at one with nature and he had the peace and quiet to write his books. That’s probably why he returned year after year.”