The first seaside resort in England first attracted holidaymakers in the 17th century after a healing spring was discovered on a cliff in the south of the city.
Until that time Scarborough was a fishing port in the shadow of a formidable castle built by Henry II, and hosted the Scarborough Fair, a six-week market that attracted traders from all over Europe.
The ruined castle is still an authoritative presence on its cliff between the north and south bays.
When the railroad arrived in the mid-19th century it brought mass tourism to Scarborough, and was soon followed by the Royal Spa Buildings, the Cliff Cable Car and the Giant Grand Hotel.
Now, though English seaside resorts have suffered since the 1970s, Scarborough is a touch of class, home to the UK’s last remaining beach orchestra, and the acclaimed Stephen Joseph Theater.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Scarborough:
1. Scarborough Castle
Occupy the 91-foot cliff between the north and south bays, the remains of Scarborough’s medieval castle.
This unaccompanied accommodation over the North Sea was a hill fortress in the Bronze Age, and in the fourth century served as a signaling station by the Romans.
You can now locate the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon chapel, built around 1000 on the site of the signaling station.
The stone curtain wall surrounding the cliff was raised in the 12th and 13th centuries, and is in excellent condition, with a mighty barbican giving access to the dormitories.
To reach them one has to cross a stone bridge from the 30s of the 20th century, where the rotten remains of the 26 meters float to the eye.
It was destroyed during a massive bombing in 1645 during the English Civil War.
In the western wall you can identify the remains of the fireplace that warmed the great hall.
2. Peasholm Park
Just behind the North Bay is the magnificent Peasholm Park, designed in an oriental style in 1912. At that time the park was Scarborough’s choice for festive events and extravagant exhibitions, but its fame waned as the century passed.
The park was closed in 1999 after its pagoda was damaged by arson, but reopened in the 2000s and is now an expensive part of the resort.
One of the many ancient pleasures is the Battle of Peasholm, a naval reconstruction that took place three times a week every summer on Lake Hanoi for almost 90 years.
There are also brass band concerts and lantern displays in the park, as well as a potting field, artificial waterfalls, a Japanese garden, and the Peasholm Glen Tree Trail with exotic tree species.
3. St. Mary’s Church
High on the isthmus between the old town and the castle, St. Mary is a Class I listed church, first established in the 12th century.
This building was mostly lost in the Civil War in the 17th century, and was rebuilt in the late 16th century.
Outside in the spacious cemetery you will find the ruins of the old western towers, which give a sense of how big the medieval church was.
The main reason people stop to visit is to visit the tomb of Anne Bronte, best known for the tenant of Wildfell Hall.
She died at the age of 29 in 1849, and her tombstone, now in severe weather conditions, was commissioned by her sister Charlotte.
In 2011 it borrowed from a new base, placed at the front.
4. South Bay Beach
On a smooth arc, South Bay Beach is the one that fills up the fastest in the summer.
The castle cliff to the north and the cliff line to the south help to gravel the worst of the North Sea currents.
The beach is also south facing so it is sunny in the clear summer days.
There is enough golden sand to sunbathe in during the tide, and when the tide goes down you can take the younger tribe members for a hike in the rocks to hunt crabs and starfish.
And being a classic English beach, there are serious walks on the beach as well as amusements, ice cream parlors and fish and chips shops along the Foreshore Road in the back.
5. The Spa, Scarborough
At the base of the cliffs in South Bay, the spa is a 19th-century venue set up on the Scarborough Natural Springs site.
The current Grand Hall opened in 1880 after the previous spa salon burned down in 1876. The complex is almost half a mile long and you can reach it via the magnificent spa bridge, dating to 1827, and the southern cliff lift from 1873. Grand Hall contains 2,000 seats and is home to the spa orchestra Of Scarborough and hosts the annual Jazz Festival in September.
The smaller Victorian theater has a program of summer performances as well as pantomimes at Christmas.
Outside, on the boardwalk, is the Sun Court, a magnificent neoclassical column of columns with a stage where the spa orchestra and other bands perform outdoor performances in the summer.
6. The North Bay Railway
At Peasholm Park you can take young people for a round trip to Scalby Mills on the other side of the North Bay using a miniature train.
The line opened in 1931, and almost all of its rolling inventory is dated to the first two years of service.
The exception is a brand new steam engine that was intentionally built for the train and started in 2016. The rest of the locomotives are all powered by diesel.
There are three stops on the line, for a total return time of about half an hour, and you can get off at Scalby Mills to visit the Sea Life Center.
7. North Bay Beach
Like South Bay Beach, the North Bay is the winner of a perennial blue flag.
The least sought after beach is a bit more open to the North Sea and has rolling waves that attract surfers.
But even if the water is a little more turbulent, the beach is safe for rowing and there is an RNLI lifeguard on tour throughout the summer.
At the northern end of the beach there is a rocky reef and cleavages that are exposed to the little ones to go surfing on the rocks when the tide comes out.
If you want a regular base near the beach for the day, you can always rent one of the colorful cabins along the boardwalk.
8. Central tram
A ride up and down the cliff near the Grand Neo-Baroque Hotel is the choice of Scarborough’s five railways.
It was opened in 1881 and has since been run by the same company.
The 71-meter-long route has a 50% slope, linking the maritime parade near the town center with Porsche Road on the beach.
The tram is open from February to October and has a charming Victorian-style top station with a tea room and outdoor seating in the front yard.
140 years later, the line remains the most convenient way to descend to the South Bay from the resort center.
9. Stephen Joseph Theater
This reputed theater is a cultural touchstone for North Yorkshire.
For more than 35 years until 2009 the theater’s artistic director was the playwright Sir Allen Aikbor, and at that time almost all of his plays premiered in this place.
The menu will feature quality productions at the 404-seat theater in a round, and an edge auditorium on the 165-seat stage.
You can also catch all kinds of music, from jazz to folk and classical soloists and small ensembles.
The smaller auditorium also has regular cinema screenings for black-and-white films, international Arhaus films and recent blockbusters.
10. South Cliff Italian Gardens
Just south of the spa, the Italian Gardens of the Southern Cliff were recorded in the early 20th century and they sit on a terrace that bends with the contours of the cliff.
In the Italian Renaissance style, the gardens have geometric flower beds, a lily pond topped by a statue of Mercury and two very ceremonial staircases that climb to shelters under the pergolas from 1914. All part of a long open space, including a rose garden and a cliff top path with wonderful views back to the castle, all equipped On the stairs and on the cliff lifts down to the beach.
11. Scarborough Fair Collection
A short drive down the beach at Laberston is a museum with a set of vintage organ fairs and “showcases”, steam locomotives traveling on the road.
These engines were a component of English seaside resorts in the first half of the 20th century, and the showcase is Iron Maiden, who starred in a film called itself in 1962. The machine was built in 1920, originally to lead. A stone on the island of Portland in Dorset, before it became a showman’s engine.
Also on display was a 97-key Gavioli concert, as well as a 101-key Hooghuys organ.
There is a vintage “galloping” ride from 1893, a ride on caterpillars from 1928, as well as an array of miniature vehicles, model trains and antique cars.
12. Rotunda Museum
When this attraction was built in 1829 it was one of the first buildings in Britain to be explicitly built as a museum.
The driving force behind the Rotunda Museum was William Smith, remembered as the “Father of English Geology”. The collection contains more than 5,500 fossils and 3,000 minerals, many of which are “climbing specimens,” or the first of their kind to be documented and described.
For amateur geologists and fossil hunters, the museum is the stuff of dreams, with mammoth teeth from the Ice Age, Jurassic fossils, Cretaceous fossils and many carbon plants.
There are also pieces of bone, horns and flint from the enigmatic site of the Stone Age in the Star Car, and a skeleton and sarcophagus of the Gristorp man, buried in the Bronze Age in oak spilled out.
13. Scarborough Harbor
One of the many great things about Scarborough is that the harbor below the castle cliff is a working harbor with a fishing fleet.
You can stroll along the Sandside as well as the old pier to watch the traffic, grab a lobster or lobster sandwich and take a closer look at the lighthouse.
This building dates back to 1806, but had to be restored after the infamous bombing at the beginning of World War I, which also damaged the castle.
The sunside has a wide sidewalk, full of outdoor seating for the long line of cafes, ice cream parlors, restaurants and bars.
And if you are ready to sail in the North Sea, the port has fishing companies that organize trips of up to ten hours.
14. South Cliff Clock Tower
A landmark for Scarborough At the entrance to South Cliff Gardens, this clock tower was built on a scenic lookout to commemorate the coronation of George V in 1911. The tower was inspired by Christopher Ren’s English Baroque monuments and has a lantern and weather vane over four checkered clock face On wheels and framed by ionic columns.
This watch had to be manually twisted until the 1960s.
It was electrified not long after a ladder ladder slipped, trapping it in an overnight tower.
The Holbeck Putting Green is located just below the tower, and examines your short game as you watch the stunning views of the bay.
15. Mount Oliver
Further inland, this area of high ground has a supreme view of South Scarborough.
The 152-meter-high hill is named after Oliver Cromwell, as the so-called place where parliamentary forces established their artillery in the English Civil War.
Later, Anne Bronte wrote about Mount Oliver in 1840 poetry, The Blue Bell.
There is a stone obelisk that catches the eye of Scarborough’s victims in the two world wars, while the hill roads form the only road racing circuit in England.
Oliver’s Mount hosted British Formula III racing in the 1950s, but is better known for its bicycle racing.
On the weekend of early May, the Scarborough Speed Festival takes place here, raising speed hills, bike and car shows and setting up trade stalls.
Where to stay: Best hotels in Scarborough, England
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