The star of Yorkshire's coastal resorts. Scarborough is a pleasantly attractive seaside town, built along a cliff edge, below which its wide sandy beaches stretch around a long bay.

Scarborough Bay
Scarborough Bay (by Steve Crowther (CC0))

Believed to be one of Britain's first seaside resorts, where bathing began as early as the 17th-c (the very first bathing machine is said to have been invented here). The height of its popularity grew during the 19th-c, due to the health giving properties of the local mineral waters; in conjunction with its refreshing sea bathing and the arrival of the railway. The old mineral spa still survives on the seafront and Scarborough's beaches are still very popular in summer, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

The resort has many other attractions including a permanent funfair, a castle above the Harbour and beautiful Italianate style garden on the cliffs to the south. The town also boasts a theatre, several good restaurants, plus all the other amenities and attractions of a modern seaside resort. The old Victorian Spa buildings have been adapted for modern entertainment purposes and stage regular productions, concerts and old time dancing.

Scarborough Harbour
Scarborough Harbour (by Chris Delgado (CC0))

The seafront is divided into two bays: North Bay, which has a fine marine drive that encircles the castle ruins, harbour and inshore swimming pool. South Bay has fine sheltered sands and safe bathing. Behind the seafront the narrow streets of old Scarborough rise up the cliffs to the walls of the castle. The old harbour is still used by commercial craft, bobbing fishing boats and pleasure craft.

Of the town's many interesting old buildings is the Customs House and King Richard Ill's house. The Three Mariners Inn, in Quay Street, dates from the 14th-c and was once known as an infamous haunt for vagabonds and smugglers. St Mary's Church (which dates back to the early 12th-c), was rebuilt in the 15th-c but severely damaged again during the Civil War.

The town is host to a number of national and international events, including festivals on sport, music, dance, road racing, food and art. In particular, the annual Cricket Festival is believed to be one of the longest running sports festivals in the world.

Places of interest to visit in Scarborough

Scarborough Castle

Scarborough CastleThe first fortress was constructed by the Normans in 1158. Its massive square keep, barbican and long curtain wall still stand on the headland between the two bays, at some 300 ft (100 m) above sea level. Although besieged several times during its 800 year history, it was never taken by force. Now open to the public, the castle's exciting history can be gleaned from a comprehensive audio tour.

Opening times: all year, Apr-Sep, daily 10-6; Oct-Mar, Thu-Mon 10-4. (closed Xmas) - Admission Charge
Location: Castle Road, Scarborough, YO11 1HY
Tel: 01723 372451
Image Credit: Jen Wood (CC0)

Scarborough Art Gallery

Displays a permanent collection of fine works by local artists. Also host to regular temporary exhibitions by both national and internationally renowned artists.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday (& BH Mon) 10am – 5pm
Small Admission Charge
Location: The Crescent Scarborough YO11 2PW
Tel: 01723 374753
Image Credit: Stephen Craven (CC2)

The Rotunda Museum

This fine curved grade II listed building (circa 1829) is one of the oldest purpose-built museums still in use in Britain. Contains an interesting collection of local archaeology, fossils and artifacts.

Don't miss the dinosaur gallery where you can meet the residents of Jurassic Scarborough, including Plesiosaurs and other marine reptiles.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday (& BH Mon) 10am – 5pm
Small Admission Charge
Location: Vernon Rd, Scarborough YO11 2PS
Tel: 01723 353665

Wood End Museum

Restored Grade II listed ‘marine villa (1835), once home to the Sitwells, a famous literary family. Set in charming gardens it houses a collection of first editions and portraits belonging to the family.

Opening times: 9am - 5pm weekdays - Free Entry
Location: The Crescent, Scarborough, North Yorkshire PZ1 7C4
Tel: 01723 384500

Map of Scarborough


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