Year 8 English pupils were invited to unearth the mystique of Whitby’s haunting shores at a Gothic Writing Retreat. Amidst ancient cliffs and echoing whispers, they immersed themselves in the eerie embrace of poetry, the spectral dance of playwriting, and the shadowy art of crafting tales.

The pupils had a fantastic first day exploring Whitby. They began by investigating the museum, selecting three objects to include in their writing from keys to gargoyles to mysterious stones. Some phenomenal writing and poetry was produced!

Time was spent in the Abbey looking at coffins and the hidden tunnels which had been used by the monks. As you can imagine the views from the Abbey were stunning.

Before descending the 199 steps into the old town, the pupils investigated the cemetery of St Mary’s where graves were encased in iron cages to prevent the vampires escaping. They discovered that the stones all faced seawards to enable the spirits of sailors easy passage to the sea.

In the old town, the children wandered around the many cobbled streets, old shops and the harbour. Then there was some quiet time to prepare their characters for the forthcoming murder mystery evening which was a roaring success. After a hearty supper of locally sourced fish and chips, we were provided with character information and proceeded to interrogate the other vampires or warlocks present at supper in the castle. Secrets were revealed and concealed mysteries slowly unravelled to expose not one, but two murderers of the great Frederick!

The gothic writing retreat was a wonderful enrichment trip allowing the children to enjoy the many opportunities on offer at Windlesham House.

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