Places to Visit in North Yorkshire
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phill@todoinyork.com

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

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The video below relates to Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire where we take a walk from Valley Bridge to Peasholm Park and discover what Scarborough’s famous seafront has to offer in the way of things to do, scenery, historic structures and places of interest. We learn a few unknown facts too!

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Narrative From Things to do on Scarborough Seafront

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

We’re starting our tour of Scarborough Sea front beneath Valley Bridge. Scarborough has a population of 61,000 and is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast.  Scarborough was founded on its fishing economy but presently thrives on it being a popular tourist destination.

It’s grand hotels and guest houses overlook the beach that testify to it’s popularity as a resort since Victorian times.  South Bay was the site of the original medieval settlement making up the old town along with its harbour.  

It is believed that Scarborough was founded in 966 AD as Skaroaborg by a Viking raider despite being no archaeological evidence to suggest such.  During the 4th century there was a Roman signal station for a brief time, but evidence suggests there had been stone age and bronze age settlements.  

Valley Bridge Scarborough

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

Valley Bridge spans Ramsdale and was built in 1865.  Originally the materials were constructed for Lendal Bridge in York but it collapsed there and it was later brought to Scarborough. 

Depending on how you travel to Scarborough, it may be the first major landmark that you witness. Underneath it is a garden with a large duck pond. This characterises Scarborough as not just a seaside resort, but an idyllic one.

Spa Footbridge Scarborough

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

This fantastic Spa footbridge was opened in 1827, built by the Cliff Bridge Company who’s aim was to increase trade at Scarborough Spa by linking it to St Nicholas Cliff.  It also gives you a great view over the South Bay. When we say spa we think immediately of spa waters, and it applies here too but we’ll come to that in a moment.

Scarborough Spa Complex
Scarborough Spa Complex

This bridge takes us to the most southern side of Scarborough’s enormous seafront of which is located by the North Sea.

Rotunda Museum is found alongside the Spa Bridge and this museum contains local fossils and other artefacts including the Gristhorpe man who derived from the bronze age. 

South Bay Scarborough

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

South Bay is very popular with tourists owing to its amusements, historic buildings, harbour and other attractions. Of course, it also consists of a large curved beach from the Lifeboat Station right through to the Scarborough Spa. 

Beach South Bay Scarborough

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

The beach falls under the shadow of Scarborough’s oldest historic structure Scarborough Castle. However, the vista comprises of many landmarks including Scarborough lighthouse, St Mary’s Church, Grand Hotel, Scarborough Spa and more. 

During winter months you are permitted to take your dog on the beach. However, during the busy spring and summer season dogs are prohibited. 

Like any other beach, don’t forget to check the times for the tide for the day as the moon’s hold on the earth effects it. Depending on the time of day, the beach can be a large area or can be significantly reduced. 

Amusements and attractions aside, don’t forget to look out for bird life. Of course seagulls are frequent, but you may also find other species too.  In any case, the rule is not to feed the seagulls as they can get a little combative when it comes to food. Best to keep them on a fish diet of the unbattered kind. 

South Bay Amusements, Restaurants and Pubs

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

Of course, South Bay is greatly known for its amusement arcades, fish and chip restaurants, cafe’s, gift shops as well as public houses.  This is not to say that North Bay doesn’t have its attractions too. It is also known for its cliff side gardens too which make a great area to take a seat and admire the view and absorb some of that sea air. You can even eat your fish and chips or ice-cream here. A large tree lined garden walk resides behind Scarborough Spar too.

In 1903, electric ornate towers were constructed as part of Lunar Parks on Coney Island New York. This particular Coney Island also has its electric tower the overlooks South Bay.

There are many gift shops along the sea front along South Bay, so if you are planning on escaping the Yorkshire hot sunshine for a moment of two, they are worth a shady visit. 

When rail travel became popular amongst the Victorian’s, day trippers would alight at resorts such as Scarborough. This of course boosted the tourism economy and it still continues today.

Many amusement arcades, hotels, entertainment venues and other structures were built by the Victorian’s around the country.  By the 1950’s and 60’s, families would take a break at holiday camps such as Butlin’s of which can be found at seaside resorts. 

Scarborough also has a fun fair on South Bay, so if you enjoy a thrilling ride, then this may be for you. This is Scarborough’s Lunar Park and the rides have recently had a revamp. 

If you prefer a relaxing beverage instead of a cold ice-cream, then there are some public houses by the seaside, convenient if its a hot day. However, some have outdoor seating so you can have the best of both worlds.

The Scarborough Spa theatre is a 600 seat Victorian theatre that hosts both shows in the summer and pantomimes in winter.

One of the gift stores is currently named myseabay.com which sounds slightly familiar. I wonder if you pay by bay pal? 

South Bay also has some fantastic restaurants including Italian, fish and chip restaurants, cafe’s and more. Therefore there is a fantastic range of food to choose from. Again, some have outdoor seating so you can enjoy the ambience of Scarborough as well as enjoy a tasty meal.

John Bull is a sweet shop that stems all the way back to Bridlington in 1911 when Earnest Hodgson opened an Emporium of Rock and Seaside Novelties. The business grew and you can find them around the country including Whitby, Bridlington, Scarborough and York. 

Scarborough Spa Complex

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

The Scarborough Spa however, is a grade ii listed building that is a venue for conferences, entertainment, live music and other events.  It was built due to it’s position of Scarborough’s spa waters.  The grand hall seats around 2,000 and is a venue for Scarborough Spa Orchestra as well as the Scarborough Jazz Festival. 

In the 17th century, Thomasin Farrer discovered the spa waters here at Scarborough who was the wife of John Farrer, a leading citizen.  The water was discovered from the cliff’s south of Scarborough.

You can walk Scarborough’s full seafront from the Spa Complex through to the Sea Life Centre at North Bay. You can also walk further along the cliffs as it forms part of the Cleveland Way to Saltburn and down to Helmsley. It is a 109 mile walk!

From South Bay to North Bay, you can watch all kinds of watersports taking place such as surfing, jet skiing, rowing, fishing, snortling and others. 

Scarborough Grand Hotel

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

One of the most significant landmarks other than the castle is the Victorian Grand Hotel, designed by Cuthbert Brodick a architect from Hull.  When completed in 1867 it was one of the largest hotels on the globe.  What’s fascinating about it is that it has 4 towers to represent the four seasons, 12 floors representing the months of the year, 52 chimney’s weeks of the year, and originally it did have 365 bedrooms for days of the year! 

Grand Hotel Scarborough
Grand Hotel Scarborough

To honour Queen Victoria, the hotel is made in a V shape. Another interesting fact is that as Scarborough was a spa town, there was an extra set of taps for guest to wash in seawater. 

Scarborough Castle

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

You will also notice Scarborough Castle of which some of it was destroyed by the German’s during a bombardment during the great war, as was Whitby Abbey.

You can see Scarborough Castle regardless if you are in South Bay or North Bay as it is wrapped around by the coastline. This structure follows you as well as towers above you.

Scarborough Castle
Scarborough Castle

The castle was recovered under King Henry II built on the headland and granted the town charters in 1155 and 1163.  The castle however, changed hands between Royalists and Parliamentarians seven times during its history.

The castle is open to the public and is under the care of English Heritage. You can expect to receive panoramic views of Scarborough as well as the castle itself, so it is well worth a visit.

Scarborough Harbour

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

On another historical note, Scarborough Harbour also testifies to the longevity of the town.  In fact, it’s part of the medieval town as you would expect.  It has undergone major regeneration with its Albert Strange Pontoons and a pedestrian friendly promenade. 

If you like to see the boats, fishing or otherwise, it’s worth a stroll and much of it is open to the public.  However, Scarborough’s fishing economy is still very much active. 

It is nice to take a seat here and watch the fishing boats enter and leave the harbour. It is also relaxing to admire all the fishing boats, yachts and other vessels berthed under the shadow of the lighthouse. 

You might even find another mode of transport in the form of a little blue box. However, I think this is more ornamental than a form of time travel. 

Also in the harbour there is opportunity to hire or ride on boats such as the Regal Lady and the Coronia that was used at Dunkirk.  There are also speed boats as well as a mock pirate ship.  However, on occasion they are not open due to rough  seas.

As you make your way towards the lighthouse, it is a good thing to stop and look towards the town as you get a good view of the Castle, St Mary’s Church and the Grand Hotel as well as the entire seafront at South Bay.

St Mary’s Church

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

St Mary’s Church with the blue clock was built in the 12th century. However, it once had two towers, west and central but it was largely destroyed during the English Civil War. During the 17th century it was rebuilt and restored again in the 19th century. It now has a tower at the east end replacing the central tower. During the civil war, the church yard was used to fire canons at Scarborough Castle and the castle returned fire. 

We mention that Scarborough Castle is a great place to receive a panoramic view but also the lighthouse area, Vincent Pier does too. You can see the entire South Bay from here ranging from the Spa Complex through to Lunar Park. Of course, the boat tours give you an impressive view of South Bay too, and if you are into sea fishing then you have no option but to admire the views.

Scarborough Lighthouse, Diving Belle and World War I Gun

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

Scarborough Lighthouse is currently in possession of Scarborough Yacht Club.  Richard Oakes was the last Lighthouse Keeper here until 1997 after 20 years of being a trawler man.

Scarborough Lighthouse and Diving Belle
Scarborough Lighthouse and Diving Belle

The lighthouse stands on Vincent Pier and was built in the 18th century and was named after William Vincent. It’s thought that it was built between 1801 to 1806. The brick tower is around 49ft and the focal height is around 56ft. It has a fog blast warning every 60 seconds. As lighthouses go, it is a prominent landmark on South Bay, one in which you can walk right up to and touch. It makes an interesting focal point for photographers amateur and professional. 

Of course, like many historic buildings and structures it is grade ii listed, designated in 1973. You can cross a footbridge and access either side of the landmark. There is a large seating area where you can look out to sea and admire the views. 

In addition you will also see the diving belle statue, one of two sculptures commissioned by Scarborough Civic Trust in 2007, of which artist is Craig Knowles. The Diving Belle is not to be confused with the Bathing Belle that was in the town centre. It has since been moved and we visit this later at North Bay.

Scarborough Lifeboat Station

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

Scarborough Lifeboat Station belonging to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution began with just a rowing boat in 1801. Today, they are in modern accommodation boasting an impressive lifeboat. The new lifeboat station has a visitor centre as well as a gift shop. Remember that the RNLI are a charity and made up of volunteers. According to their website, they inform us that if you fall into cold water you should float by moving your hands and feet and not try to swim.

You also get a view of the 1914 Vickers world war 1 naval gun. This gun was raised from the sea in 1982 by the Scarborough Sub-Aqua Club as well as local fishermen. It was from the sunk S.S. Hornsund that met a torpedo in 1917. 

Without a doubt, the seafront not only gives you a feeling of being at the seaside, but it gives you a strong sense of being in Yorkshire owing to its scenery and buildings as well as the local Scarborian accent.

Another kind of accent is the vocal noise generated from the cliffs. The cliff face is adorned with the chorus of white seagulls and other species of seabird. You occasionally see photographers examining the cliffs here. 

Another type of species altogether is the porpoise which is a type of dolphin. Occasionally you might see one in the north sea so keep your eyes pealed.

At this end of the beach you will see a tram lift to the Esplanade from the Spa Complex. There is also another tram lift known as the central tramway that was opened in 1881. 

You also see its cliff-side gardens that adorn the seafront that give you stunning views of the north sea and the lighthouse. 

North Bay Scarborough

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

A walk by the seafront further northwards takes us towards what’s occasionally described as the more peaceful side of Scarborough, North Bay.  However, do not believe for a moment that it carries no attractions.  If your feet aren’t up to walking, there are open top buses that run between the two bays and you can sometimes acquire a ticket on bus services into Scarborough such as the Coastliner services. These buses shuttle from one side to the other frequently. 

Following Royal Albert Drive, you are literally walking around the periphery of the castle, but it’s not always plainly obvious as it is obscured above you at times.  

North Bay takes you to a miniature railway, sea life centre, a popular beach as well as Peasholm Park, a Japanese style garden that is based on a willow plate design.   

In any case, the walk is a fantastic one because not only do you have the castle above, but you also have the sea crashing against the rocks below you as well as the fantastic view you see on a clear day.  It is no wonder why the Victorian’s created this appealing promenade. 

The white pyramids that you see in the distance is the Scarborough Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills.  You will also notice the plethora of hotels and guest houses looking over the, at this point, more dramatic North Sea.  

Scarborough Castle has a 3000 year history, and it seems that wherever you go along the seafront, its there with you all the time.  The castle was built between 1159 and 1169 and you can’t help but notice the medieval walls.  At the seaward tip, is the site of a Roman Signal Station aforementioned as well as a medieval chapel.  The terrain of the sea cliff’s helped to fortify the castle whereas it was also fortified by a gateway, barbican and bridge that was built around 1245.  

In the distance you will notice the North Bay apartments that overlook the appealing beach here.  Beneath the apartments are places to take respite if you need to.  

It seems incredible how only around the corner, is a more different feel to Scarborough, a contrast to South Bay’s more commercialised side.  However, the long sandy beach here is backed by sea defences, an esplanade as well as hills and cliffs. It is also popular with surfing, jet skying and other water sports but its always a good idea to check tidal times.  

Peasholm and Scalby Mills is home to the sea life centre as well as a miniature railway that was built in 1931, of which we pay a visit shortly.  It is also home to a famous open air theatre as well as the Peasholm Park garden.  There is also an ample opportunity to test your golfing skills on the mini golf course beside the sea.  

Again you cannot escape the castle in the backdrop that has a panoramic view of Scarborough.  

Freddie Gilroy Statue

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

You will also notice the giant Freddy Gilroy and Belsen Stragglers structure facing the North Sea.  This steel structure cost a staggering £48,000 and is based on a retired miner the artist Ray Lonsdale became friends with.  He was also one of the first soldiers to leave the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of the second world war.

Freddie Gilroy Statue Scarborough
Freddie Gilroy Statue Scarborough

The beach is adorned with some vibrant colours that emphasise the rentable chalets at North Bay.  Close by are some free to use public toilets facing the beach.

Further north and up the hill past the Scalby Mills Public House is access to the Cleveland Way walk.  This is a 109 mile walk begins at Filey not far south of Scarborough and up as far as Saltburn before descending towards Helmsley.

Bathing Belle

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

The Bathing Belle mentioned earlier is now in her new location just opposite the seaside apartments at North Bay. The statue represents a woman who enjoys bathing in the waters of Scarborough, with a costume Victorian style!

She also stands next to a mini golf course, one of many in Scarborough. 

North Bay Railway

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

The North Bay Railway is a historical seaside miniature railway that offers other attractions such as a skytrail boating lake, historic water chute as well as the Glass House Cafe.  Trains have been running on this short route since 1931 over a 3/4 mile line from Peasholm Park to Scalby Mills.  As a taster for you, we’re going to cover this route in this video.  The fare is relatively inexpensive but its best to visit their website for times, fares and other information.  Dog’s are allowed providing they are on a short lead.

Granted we are going to go back in time on an historic journey to Scalby Mills. This van is also attempting to travel backwards in time and completely getting it wrong.  

Are you ready?

The route takes you behind the sky trail, log chute and the open air theatre towards Scalby Mills overlooking the Sealife centre.  We’re safely assuming we’re not spectators of an antenatal clinic on this route, but should you want to bring a pushchair. 

Scarborough’s open air theatre is an award winning theatre in the heart of Regent’s Park.  To find out what’s on at the time of visiting, you should visit the web site for information and tickets. 

On the right hand side you will notice the historic log chute that dates back just after the opening of the railway, during 1932. The chute operated independently for around 50 years but is now owned and operated by the North Bay Railway, as is the Sky Trail. 

Unfortunately, we unwittingly capture some mothers with prams exercising in front of their children. Some children to have em? 

The red pylons you see belong to a former North Bay Chairlifts that closed some time ago. 

I bet he drinks Carling Black Label.

If you are planning to visit the sealife centre, its recommended to book tickets using their website rather than on the day.  At the time of producing this video it is more economical to do so.

Peasholm Park

Scarborough Seafront North Yorkshire

Just across the road is Peasholm Park. Maintained by a voluntary organisation, this park is open 24 hours and is free entry. It is the home of a tranquil lake of which you may hire boats or just simply walk through this attractive garden.  There is also a bandstand in the middle of the lake and you will also notice the attractive waterfall that is one of the focal points of the park. There is also plenty of seating as well as a cafe to sit and enjoy the scenery. 

Peasholme Park Scarborough
Peasholme Park Scarborough

The park is inspired by a willow plate pattern of which the romantic legend that surrounds the plate is well known.  Although it comes across as a traditional Chinese tail, it is in fact an English one that is designed to increase sales.  It is designed within a natural glen with a stream running through.  

Whatever the case, you can enjoy the gardens, the well, the sculptures, Cyril the squirrel and the ducks.  

We hope you enjoy your visit to Scarborough, until next time!


Further Series Pertaining to North Yorkshire

The North Yorkshire Reporter

My North Yorkshire Walks Video Diaries

North Yorkshire Photography Workshop (Phovlography)

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route