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Scarborough North Bay by Mike KiplingScarborough North Bay by Mike Kipling

The 'Queen of Resorts', Scarborough is Britain's oldest seaside resort, with magnificent beaches set either side of a rocky, castle-topped headland. First known as a spa in the 17th century, it was the coming of the railway in 1845 that turned Scarborough into the premier resort on England's east coast, and it's still a popular place for holidays – 'Scarbados' according to many enthusiastic locals!

A Georgian old town overlooks the harbour, with sweeping bays and beaches to north and south, while the iconic Rotunda Museum explores the fascinating story of Scarborough's 'Dinosaur Coast'.

Things to see and do

Start with Scarborough Castle, on an almost impregnable clifftop site, first used by the Romans as a signal station. The views from here are magnificent and there are family-friendly events held throughout the year.

The geology of the local coast – and exciting displays about 'Scarborough's Lost Dinosaurs' – are on show at the Rotunda Museum. It's a celebrated building and collection, established in 1829 by William 'Strata' Smith, the 'Father of English Geology'.

You'll see town, sea and local landscapes through the eyes of artists at Scarborough Art Gallery, which has a programme of changing exhibitions and events. For the town's fishing and maritime heritage, visit the volunteer-run Maritime Heritage Centre, which is crammed with information about Scarborough's fascinating past.

The Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary is a unique opportunity to experience the wildlife of the North Sea close at hand – and you won't get wet! There are daily talks, feeding displays and demonstrations.

Nearby trips

The National Trust woodland and hidden bay of Hayburn Wyke lies just a few miles north of Scarborough (Whitby road). There's a wonderful circular walk from Cloughton, with a pub above the wyke and a tea room in Cloughton at the former railway station – download the walk here.

Walks and rides

The coastal Scarborough to Whitby railway closed in 1965, but the old track bed – the 'Cinder Track' – is now a popular 21-mile walking, cycling and horse-riding route. You can walk or ride it in either direction – in Scarborough, the Cinder Track starts from the children's playground behind Sainsbury's.


There's theatre, film, concerts and events at the excellent Stephen Joseph Theatre. It specialises in new theatre writing and has premiered most of Alan Ayckbourn's work.

Scarborough Indoor Pool has public swim and splash sessions, and swimming lessons. Call 01723 367137 for further details.

Local surf shops offer surfing lessons and hire out boards and equipment. 

Eating and drinking

Fish and chips on the harbour is a Scarborough 'must', and you'll also find stalls selling fresh crab and traditional seafood snacks. Otherwise, the town has plenty of choice, from Victorian pubs to contemporary bars, pizza places to fish restaurants.

Festivals and events

Coastival (February) is an action-packed 3-day programme of music, arts and theatre while the SeaFest Maritime Festival (July) celebrates Scarborough's maritime heritage over three days of food, drink and live music. Or visit Scalby Fair (June), near Scarborough, one of the few remaining village street fairs in the north of England.

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