Set high on the East Cliff, the glorious ruins of the once grand church can be seen from the hills of the moors miles away. The abbey was founded in 657 AD by St. Hild; it's one of very few founded by a woman and operated with a mixed population of monks and nuns. Sacked by the Vikings in the 9th century, the monastery was refounded in the 11th century. Enlarged in the 13th century, it flourished until it was destroyed by Henry VIII. The excellent visitor center has exhibits
on Hild and Dracula author Bram Stoker, Anglo-Saxon artifacts from the site, and interactive displays on the medieval abbey.