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Cruden Bay

St Olafs Well

St Olafs Well the stay in sand dunes at Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire

St Olafs Well, a natural spring, now enclosed within a rectangular concrete wall, 2.5m by 2.0m, a little mark where it is.

St Olafs Well

On the Buchan coast of Aberdeenshire, Cruden Bay stay to the North of the Bay of Cruden near the mouth of the Water of Cruden, 7 miles (11 km) south of Peterhead.

This is said to be the site of a battle where King Malcolm II of Scotland defeated the Danes in 1012, giving rise to the name – ‘Croju Dane’ meaning slaughter of the Danes.

St Olafs Well

Malcolm buried the dead of his opponents with honour and built a chapel to mark the spot, dedicated to St. Olaf (Olaus).

St Olafs Well is an ancient site of pilgrimage amongst the sand dunes at Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire.

St Olafs Well
Cruden Bay Beach

The nearby beach was the site of a great battle between the Viking army of Prince Canute and the Scots army under King Malcolm the Second of Scotland.

Peterhead_line
St Olafs Well the stay in sand dunes at Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire

dracula castle

Dracula castle is widely acknowledged is Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire having inspired Bram Stoker 1

Dracula castle is widely acknowledged is Slains Castle near Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire having inspired Bram Stoker to write world-famous novel Dracula.

Abraham “Bram” Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula.

Bram Stocker


There are many stories about how Bram Stoker came to write Dracula, but only some of them are true. According to his son, Stoker always claimed the inspiration for the book came from a nightmare induced.

Stoker was a regular visitor to Cruden Bay in Scotland between 1893 and 1910. His month-long holidays to the Aberdeenshire coastal village provided a large portion of available time for writing his books.

Dracula Castle
Slains Castle, Cruden Bay

Two novels were set in Cruden Bay: The Watter’s Mou’ (1895) and The Mystery of the Sea (1902).

Kilmarnock Arms Hotel
Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, CrudenBay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

He started writing Dracula here in 1895 while in residence at the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel.

sign bram stoker
Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, Cruden Bay (Port Erroll) Picture: Bram Stoker’s Signiture in hotel Guest Book

The guest book with his signatures from 1894 and 1895 still survives.

The nearby Slains Castle (also known as New Slains Castle, Dracula Castle) is linked with Bram Stoker and plausibly provided the visual palette for the descriptions of Castle Dracula during the writing phase in 1897.

slains castle 1

A distinctive room in Slains Castle, the octagonal hall, matches the description of the octagonal room in Castle Dracula.

The early chapters of Dracula were written in Cruden Bay, and Slains Castle possibly provided visual inspiration for Bram Stoker during the writing phase.

This is why the other name of the castle, Dracula castle.

The early chapters of Dracula were written in Cruden Bay, and Slains Castle possibly provided visual inspiration for Bram Stoker during the writing phase.

The Scotland castle thought to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been awarded listed status by Historic Environment Scotland.

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Dracula Castle

In 1916 the 20th Earl of Erroll, Charles Gore Hay sold the Castle and it’s contents to Sir John Ellerman, the shipping magnate. This ended 300 years of the Earls of Erroll staying at Slains. The surrounding estate and farmland were not productive enough to support the castle, especially after a period of agricultural depression and after death duties (inheritance tax) were introduced.

slains castle
Dracula castle is widely acknowledged is Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire having inspired Bram Stoker 1

In 1925 the Castle was abandoned and the roof was removed to avoid paying taxes. Valuable dressed stone was also taken away and the castle has been deteriorating ever since. It is now quite a surprise to see old photos of how grand Slains Castle used to look. However there are modern-day plans to convert the castle and grounds into 35 apartments.

New Slains Castle 01
Slains Castle, Cruden Bay

To find the Slains Castle, follow signs for Cruden Bay. This picturesque village is 26 miles north of Aberdeen and has a lovely harbour and beach well worth exploring.
Impressive architecture is still clearly visible today as you roam the castle grounds and you can climb upstairs to the lookout and downstairs to the basement.

slains castle1

There was once marble steps, fourteen bedrooms, tennis and croquet lawns, stables, a walled garden, a kitchen with firepits and seven main reception rooms! As I walked through the castle I wondered about which room I was in and who might have stayed in it in the past.

Slains Castle is free to enter and the views are incredible.

We hope you visit soon!