Now that I’m permanently living in England, I’m slowly but surely making my way through my local bucket list—seeing as much of Yorkshire as possible! So on a beautiful sunny day, I set off for the sea, to see the coastal town of Scarborough (and yes, I did sing the Simon and Garfunkel song “Scarborough Fair” in my head once or twice).
Unfortunately, so did everyone else in Yorkshire. There were literally so many people in Scarborough I couldn’t believe it! And it was only April, not even summer! The train from York was standing-room only, there were long waits (20+ minutes) for fish and chips at the beaches, and I honestly didn’t think that many people could possibly squish into a relatively small seaside town.
Despite the crowds, Scarborough was exactly what I thought it would be: your typical English seaside holiday destination. There was cotton candy (candy floss, as the Brits say), ice cream, regular fair-like (read: unhealthy) food in general, arcades, a marina, beaches, and of course, the sea. There are a few special attractions in Scarborough in particular that I really liked! So here’s a few things you should see if you’re planning a day out in Scarborough:
Perched on top of the sea cliff overlooking the town is Scarborough Castle. Built in the 12th-century, the castle is mainly ruins now—the keep and the walls are the main parts of the castle that remain today. The views across both the North Bay and South Bay, and the town itself, are spectacular. The medieval castle wasn’t the first settlement on this site though—you can also see what’s left of a Roman signal station in the castle complex!
Castle Walking Paths
If you don’t want to fork over the money to visit the castle itself, there are several walking paths along both sides of the castle. They also give great views of the city, and they’re free!
St. Mary’s Church
Scarborough’s main church is halfway up a hill, between the town and the castle. While the church is quaint, its main draw is the grave of Anne Brontë. Anne was taken away to Scarborough to get the fresh sea air after Branwell and Emily Brontë both died, but unfortunately she died of tuberculosis four days after leaving home. Anne is the only Brontë who isn’t buried in Haworth Church. Her grave is in the graveyard separated from the church, and her gravestone is on the left as soon as you walk through the gate.
Designed in Japanese style, Scarborough’s main park is action-packed on a warm, sunny day. There’s a boating lake with lots of boats to rent, a pagoda on an island, and in general is worth a stroll. Oh, and they also stage naval battles on the lake three times a week in the summer!
North Bay, Marine Drive, and South Bay
Scarborough has two big beaches, the North Bay and the South Bay. The North Bay tends to be the quieter of the two, and has plenty of restaurants, shops, cafes, and slushy stands. You should definitely walk along the Marine Drive, which snakes around the cliff and runs between North Bay and South Bay.
The South Bay is usually a lot busier, especially with families with kids. The South Bay is also where you’ll find the marina, lots of arcades, a small little amusement park, and more fair food stands than you’ll be able to try. The South Bay was absolutely packed when I visited!
Scarborough is an easy daytrip from York, with hourly trains taking about 45 minutes, and with Coastliner buses (#843) also running hourly and taking about 1 hour 45 minutes.
Overall, Scarborough was a really nice, classic day out to a seaside town. I’m happy I got to tick off one more thing from my Yorkshire Bucket List!
Have you ever been to Scarborough or to another British seaside holiday town?