There’s more to Scarborough than a day on the sand, soaking up the sun while scoffing fish, chips and ice cream. Here, we’ve gathered some of our favourite activities and attractions, with excellent options for every age and interest.
Activities in Scarborough
In all honesty, you can’t beat a day at the beach in Scarborough. This was Britain’s first seaside resort. London aristocrats were racing up north to holiday here centuries ago. While you’re here you can take your pick from a couple of beaches split by the headland that’s home to Scarborough Castle.
South Bay Beach is the busier of the two bays. It’s sheltered by the Castle Headland, so the waters are lovely and calm. The sand lovely, golden, fine and soft. Plus, you can enjoy everything the town centre has to offer, including one particularly stellar chippy we can’t help but wax lyrical about when asked about our favourite places to eat in Scarborough. At low tide, the beach is huge and has plenty of rock pools for exploring, while, even at high tide, the sea only very rarely reaches the promenade, so there tends to be a swathe of sand to enjoy. North Bay Beach is the beautiful Blue Flag beach which, you guessed it, lies to the north of the Castle Headland. It has plenty of parking available a stone’s throw from the sand. The Beach Centre has all the facilities you could need, including showers, first aid and lifeguards.
South Bay Beach
Keeping watch over the North Sea, Scarborough Castle is a medieval Royal fortress with some of the best views in Yorkshire, and that’s saying something. The ruins you see today date back to the 1150s. Over the years it’s seen more than its fair share of conflict. English Heritage do a fantastic job of bringing Scarborough Castle’s horrible history to life with interactive exhibits and a calendar of special events. As you’d expect, exploring ruins when it’s raining can be a miserable affair, but when the sun’s shining if you want to get away from the beach then the Castle’s ready and waiting to offer a couple of fascinating hours of history. A word to the wise, there isn’t much in the way of parking available, and the walk from the harbour is quite long and steep in places.
Just past the incredible Scarborough Open Air Theatre – one of our highlights of the Scarborough entertainment scene – you’ll find one of the town’s must-visit attractions, Peasholm Park. The stunning Oriental park first opened in 1912 and was extremely popular during Scarborough’s heyday as a holiday destination. It fell into decline in the 70s, but it’s recently been restored and is as beautiful as ever.
In total, there’s roughly 35 acres to explore. Inside, the pagoda is the park’s main attraction, along with the Half-Moon Bridge, the boating lake, lily pond, and the stunning Japanese gardens. The Peasholm Glen Tree Trail is one for nature lovers; along the way you can see some rare species of trees, as well as a cornucopia of wildlife in the tranquil wooded areas of the park.
If you’re visiting Scarborough with a young family, then it’s well worth checking out Alpamare Waterpark. There’s plenty to keep kids busy, including a wave pool, four excellent flumes, and a wonderful splash and play area. On top of that, adults can enjoy the Alpine-style wellness centre and spa, as well as the infinity pool, and heated outdoor garden pool.
Alpamare isn’t just for families, though. In fact, if you visit outside the holiday season when the kids are in school, there’s arguably nowhere better to relax. Unlike a day at the beach, where, if you want a swim, your only option is the less-than-warm North Sea, here the heated pools are an absolute delight, and with stunning views across the North Bay, it can be really rather beautiful, especially with a beer in your hand – oh yeah, we forgot to mention the waterpark has a licensed bar, and you can drink in the pool!
SEA LIFE Scarborough
Another one for families is a trip to SEA LIFE Scarborough. The town’s aquarium sits at the top of North Bay Beach. Inside, you’ll find penguins, seals, otters, turtles, octopi, jellyfish, along with a whole host of other wonderful wildlife. If you check the website, you’ll be able to see what kind of events are taking place during your stay. We’d highly recommend trying to organise your visit around ‘Penguin Island’ when you can walk with the little tykes trailing at your coattails.
One way to kill some time, particularly if the weather’s being less than pleasant, is a trip to the cinema. We don’t have any major silver-screen chains here in Scarborough. However, you can pay a visit to the Hollywood Plaza cinema on North Marine Road. It may be a bit antiquated, and only has one screen, but it still brings in all the latest blockbusters and serves popcorn, what else do you really need?
The last spot on our list of activities in Scarborough goes to the Rotunda Museum. It’s barely more than a minute’s walk from our Scarborough South Bay hotel. It first opened its doors in 1829, making it one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the whole of the UK. It now houses an incredible geological collection. In total, the museum houses over 5,500 fossils and 3,000 minerals. The building alone is rather beautiful, plus entry is only a couple of quid, so it’s worth calling in for a look around during your stay in Scarborough.