SCOTLAND’S surprising links to Dracula and its famed author Bram Stoker are to be celebrated on the book’s 125th anniversary.

Scotland is said to have played a crucial role in the creation of the classic story with Stoker holidaying north of the border as he wrote it. VisitScotland is encouraging tourists and locals to delve into the country’s connections to Dracula, following in Stoker’s footsteps.

Locations in Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders and Glasgow all have links to Stoker – but it is perhaps the striking cliff top castle in Aberdeenshire that is best known for its links to the story.

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Slains Castle, near Cruden Bay, is believed to have inspired Dracula’s castle – specifically a unique octagon-shaped room described in the book, which Slains boasts. Stoker began writing Dracula – which was published in 1897 – while staying at the nearby Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, with his signatures from its guestbook in 1894 and 1895 surviving to this day.

Now in ruins, the castle is best admired from nearby and should not be entered due to safety reasons.

The 125th anniversary of Dracula is fittingly marked during Scotland’s Year of Stories which celebrates and promotes the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

Earlier this week, the national tourism organisation co-hosted a special event with Blackwell’s bookshop in Edinburgh to mark the anniversary attended by Stoker’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker, who took part in a Q&A and book signing attended by fans of Dracula and horror literature.

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Jenni Steele, VisitScotland’s film and creative industries manager, said: “This anniversary is a fantastic opportunity to highlight Scotland’s connections to this world-renowned book and character.

Dacre Stoker, great grandnephew of Bram Stoker, said: “It is a great privilege to part of this special anniversary, and even more so to be celebrating it in what is arguably the birthplace of Dracula; Scotland.”

Aberdeenshire Council will host a civic reception at The Kilmarnock Arms Hotel in Cruden Bay tonight to unveil a new information panel detailing Stoker’s ties to the area.