Scarborough on the Yorkshire coast has a history stretching back centuries. The dramatic castle ruins on the headland date from the Medieval period. In more recent times the discovery of the famous natural spa waters led to Scarborough becoming first a spa resort retreat and then a seaside holiday favourite from the Victorian period.
The history of this coastal town stretches even further back to prehistoric times. Excavations around the castle have revealed habitation in the area from around 800BC. The name Scarborough is thought to be derived from the old Norse meaning ‘the hill with the fort’.
It is the great Victorian seaside era that has really made a mark on one of Yorkshire’s favourite seaside resorts. The town is brimming with classic Victorian seaside architecture from the iconic Spa entertainment centre and Grand Hotel to a cliff lift and beautiful museum buildings like the Rotunda.
How to Get to Scarborough
A number of routes branch out from central motorway links east towards Scarborough on the coast. Those travelling from the West and South usually opt for the A1/ M1 heading North to Leeds, then off at the A64 from Leeds to Scarborough.
Alternatively take the M1 North to Sheffield, then divert off on to the M18 East/ M62 East/ A614 towards Driffield, then onto the B1249 towards Staxton, and onto the A64 to Scarborough.
From the opposite direction travelling from the North take the A1 south heading towards the A168 Thirsk, then onto the A170 Thirsk to Scarborough road. Alternatively take the A19 heading south towards Teesside, then take the A171 across to Scarborough.
First Transpennine Express operate an excellent rail service to Scarborough. Pick-up direct trains to the resort from Manchester, Huddersfield, York, Blackpool, Liverpool and Leeds. Virgin Trains East Coast mainline run train services from London to York and Leeds where you can change for Scarborough.
By Boat and Air
Scarborough is only around a 45 minute drive from Hull which is served by P&O Ferries from Rotterdam and Bruges. Scarborough harbour and marina also offers berthing facilities.
Major Yorkshire airports within an easy drive include the nearest to Scarborough – Leeds/Bradford Airport. Others are Humberside, Durham Tees Valley Airport and Doncaster Robin Hood Airport.
Areas of Interest in Scarborough
Scarborough has two award-winning sandy beach bays, a bustling town centre, a classic seaside promenade and just inland the popular Peasholm Park area.
The two beach bays are separated by the headland with Scarborough Castle atop. Sweeping sandy North Bay is a Blue Flag beach flanked by popular attractions including the Open Air Theatre, North Cliff Golf Club, the SeaLife Sanctuary and Alpamare Waterpark. Both are busy beaches and popular with families, but South Bay is often busier with its soft sands and calm waters. This beach sits close to the city centre and is flanked by lots of shops, restaurants, cafes, theatres and the famous Spa Entertainment Centre.
The Peasholm Park area just inland is one of Britain’s most historic parks with a boating lake, lots of events, a miniature steam train, cafes, concerts, trails and more. Scarborough Cricket Ground, one of Yorkshire’s most celebrated cricket grounds, is also in the Peasholm Park area.
Scarborough’s Claim to Fame
The story of the discovery of Scarborough’s natural spa waters is legendary. A lady called Mrs Farrow or Farrer is said to have discovered the natural mineral waters had medicinal properties in the early 17th Century. A spa house was already up and running in the town by the early 1700s!
Things to Do in Scarborough
There’s something for everyone in sunny Scarborough from internationally acclaimed theatre to big multi event venues like the Spa on the promenade. See big name pop performers at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre and be thrilled by the new waterpark with spa facilities. Seaside favourites in the town include the miniature railway and amusements by the beach bays.
Fantastic museums and galleries are here too. The circular Rotunda Museum built in 1829 houses a fascinating collection of fossils from Yorkshire’s Dinosaur East Coast. Scarborough also has an acclaimed art gallery with a fine local, national and international collection. Another bonus is the beautiful North York Moors situated just on your doorstep!
Scarborough Food & Drink
Take your pick of restaurant choice in this busy seaside resort. Most world cuisine is represented across the resort. Dine in quality Italian and pizzeria restaurants like Florios or sample the best Cantonese at Kam Sang on the North Marine Road.
Quality high street chain restaurants are well represented but you’ll also find independent unique dining experiences well represented in the resort. Head to the outskirts of the town into the North York Moors for local inns serving fine food and ales in villages like Scalby.
Where to Stay
Scarborough accommodation is varied and plentiful, catering for business and leisure visitors. Families will find a great choice of holiday parks, budget caravan parks and B&Bs with spacious family rooms. Luxurious apartments have become more numerous in the resort in recent years, particularly around North Bay and the harbour. Alternatively make your seaside escape a classic one and opt for a stay in one of Scarborough’s many beautiful historic guest houses or hotels, the most famous of which is the Grand Hotel built in 1863 overlooking South Bay and the harbour.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.