Everything You'll Want to See and Do in Scarborough
Split between two award-winning sandy beaches, Scarborough is considered to be one of the UK's original seaside resorts
A popular coastal resort for centuries, there’s lots to experience in Scarborough, from the famous spa with its rolling programme of family entertainment, to the many parks and gardens and of course, the wide sandy beaches of the North and South Bays. The kids will love Scarborough’s Fair Collection with fully-restored vintage rides, and for history buffs and art enthusiasts, the ruins of Scarborough Castle, the Grade-II listed Rotunda Museum, Woodend Gallery (once the home of the literary Sitwell clan and now a creative hub), and Scarborough Art Gallery tick all the heritage boxes. Take a wander through South Cliff Italian Gardens and Peasholm Park to enjoy an escape from the beachside bustle, and if the weather is iffy, head to the Terror Tower, a haunted house and interactive horror adventure that starts at the Bates Motel and ends with a dinosaur attack. Scarborough’s indoor market is where you’ll find great local produce, and in the Market Vaults, plenty of artisan crafts and independent shops. Whatever the weather, Scarborough has an entertaining line-up of theatre shows and big-name gigs to choose from. If the weather is set fair, Scarborough Open Air Theatre attracts a plethora of stars every summer, which for 2023 include Sting, Tom Grennan and Olly Murs.
Escape the hustle and bustle and retreat to Ox Pasture Hall Hotel & Spa. Only two miles from Scarborough and set in 17 acres of beautiful grounds, rest your head in one of the 32 bedrooms and suites before sampling delicious food in the Courtyard Restaurant or taking a dip in the pool. If you’re wanting to stay in the heart of the town, Bike & Boot is a chilled out, dog- and family-friendly hotel centred around activities – think a handy surf store, a boot room and a dog wash. For something a little different, try a night’s sleep in The Windmill, a unique bed and breakfast set inside Scarborough’s last remaining windmill built more than 230 years ago and better still, it’s less than five minutes’ walk from the town centre. If you prefer to leave the coast behind at the end of the day and stay a little further inland, Wrea Head Hall has peace and luxury in spades. It might feel like a million miles from busy Scarborough (in a very good way) but it’s just a few minutes’ drive from the sea, plus there are 24 individually-decorated bedrooms to choose from (located in the mansion and carriage house) and a good restaurant too.
A weekend break in Scarborough should be a game of two halves – between the fun, family-centric South Bay, packed with amusements, boat trips and fun fair rides, and North Bay, which sweeps round from the ruins of Scarborough Castle on the headland, past Alpamare waterpark to the Sea Life Centre. Start your day off right with a coffee from Troost, whereas Eat Me Cafe & Social provides an eclectic mix of British and Asian food; and Clark’s (open Wednesday to Saturday) offers an innovative approach to dining with surf and turf, North East cod and duck on the menu.
Don’t miss Scalby Mills, where the River Derwent reaches the sea cutting a deep gorge – there are lots of rock pools ready for exploring. Between the two bays is a working inner harbour with a small fishing fleet landing local lobster, and an outer harbour for pleasure boats and yachts. After a busy day at the beach (North, South, or both if you’re feeling adventurous) a handy cliff lift (Scarborough once had five, but now has two working lifts) provides easy access to the town centre, where you’ll find a host of places to recharge your batteries – we recommend GEO cocktail bar and kitchen which fuses city vibes with seaside views with their small plates and Yorkshire-themed cocktails.