things to do in Scarborough

The 9 Best Things To Do In Scarborough

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(Last updated on: 27/06/2022)

What are the best things to do in Scarborough?

Scarborough is a seaside town located in Yorkshire and is best known for being the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast and for being popular for fishing. It’s definitely worth a visit as there are so many things to do in Scarborough for everyone, and in this post – I’m going to tell you all the best! So read on for all the best things to do in Scarborough!

Tourism in Scarborough- an overview

things to do in Scarborough

Tourism in Scarborough has developed significantly over the years, but first, here’s a brief history of tourism in Scarborough to show you how much it has developed since.

In 1626, acidic water was discovered running from the cliffs into the town of Scarborough. This led to Scarborough Spa being created as the water was said to cure minor illnesses, and the water was soon seen as a type of medicine. In 1660, Dr Robert Wittie published a book about the spa, and this attracted more tourists to the town in order to feel the effects of the water. The spa led to Scarborough becoming the UK’s first seaside resort, and it was a very popular destination for the wealthy of London.

During the 1800s, the fishing industry boomed in Scarborough as tourists wanted to try the fresh fish and came from all over the country to do so and was known as one of the best things to do in Scarborough in the past!

In 1845, a railway was developed that linked Scarborough to York, increasing the number of tourists as this made Scarborough so much more accessible. The development of the railway also led to the fish caught in Scarborough being transported around the country easier and led to people wanting to travel to Scarborough to enjoy the fish fresh from where they were caught.

From the 1880s until World War 1, Scarborough was a popular destination for The Bass Excursions, which was a series of work outings for workers of the brewing company Bass. Around fifteen trains would take between 8,000 and 9,000 employees to Scarborough annually, which led to an increase in tourism in Scarborough as the employees would spend their wages on the local businesses and attractions.

Today, tourism is still a major part of Scarborough’s economy and is the second most visited holiday destination in England. Over the years, weekend and mid-week breaks have become more popular, replacing week-long holidays, which were more traditional.

Scarborough still has a very active fishing industry; however, it has reduced from what it was in the 1800s. Now, tourists and locals can still buy locally caught fish from various shops near the harbour.

Here are some quick facts about tourism in Scarborough:

  • Scarborough had an average of 1.4m trips per year from 2013 to 2015.
  • 47.3% of the population in Scarborough is employed as a result of tourism.
  • Nostalgia is a big reason why tourism in Scarborough is popular – many people want to recreate old photos.

Is it worth visiting Scarborough?

things to do in Scarborough

Is it worth visiting Scarborough? If you’re a fan of a traditional British seaside experience, then yes – Scarborough is perfect for you! There are so many things to do in Scarborough that will make you want to visit, but we’ll get onto those later on.

Scarborough is quite easy to access as there is a railway station located in the centre of the town, about an 8-minute walk from the beach. Travel to Scarborough takes around 4 hours from London on the train. There is also an airport located about 44 miles from Scarborough called Teesside International Airport, meaning that it’s relatively easy to access if you’re an inbound tourist. Unfortunately, there is no port; however, Hull has a port and is located only about 1 hour away!

 The hottest months of the year are July and August, with the average highest temperature of 17 °C and the lowest being 11 °C at night. The average daytime temperatures in January are 4 °C, and around 1 °C at night. I’d recommend that the best time to visit Scarborough is in May-June as the temperatures are still warm, but the beaches are quieter. Luckily most things to do in Scarborough are available in all types of weather!

Is it safe to visit Scarborough?

Is it safe to visit Scarborough? Yes, Scarborough is relatively safe to visit if you take some general precautions.

If you’re planning to go swimming in the sea, you should be aware of what all the types of flags at the beach mean, and if the beach is lifeguarded at the time you’re visiting. There is always the danger of being caught in a riptide or being taken out far to sea in an inflatable; therefore, you should make sure you’re a confident swimmer and remember what to do just in case!

As always, it’s important to look after your valuables if you’re on the beach, as petty theft can occur. That’s why I recommend using this amazing valuables holder – to hide your valuable items in secret, because who would want to steal someone’s sunscreen?

The best places to stay in Scarborough

There are plenty of great places to stay in Scarborough- here are some of my top picks-

Booking.com

Budget Accommodation

Black Lion – This cosy pub accommodation is accompanied by a friendly bar and a shared lounge and free WiFi throughout. The hotel features family rooms. Every room here has a shared bathroom with a powerful, refreshing shower. Every day, guests can wake up and enjoy a continental breakfast that will be sure to satisfy your appetite.

The Grand Scarborough – Overlooking Scarborough’s Harbour and beach, this hotel offers stunning sea views. There is amazing evening entertainment 365 days of the year in its stunning Ballroom for all to enjoy. All bedrooms come with en-suite bathrooms, TVs and drink making facilities. The restaurant looks out over the sea and has a big breakfast buffet, and serves traditional English meals throughout the day. There is also a coffee shop serving afternoon tea to treat yourself to after all the things to do in Scarborough!

Rivelyn Hotel – Rivelyn Hotel has a great bar offering real ales, ciders, international beers and wines. All rooms have an en suite bathroom, digital TV and tea/coffee making facilities are featured in each room, as well as free toiletries to indulge yourself with. In the mornings, a wide range of breakfast types is available.

Mid-range Accommodation

Chapel House Hotel – The Chapel House Hotel features a restaurant with a bar, a shared lounge to socialise in as well as water sports facilities. This property is located a short distance from all the best sites to visit in Scarborough. It’s perfect for business tourists as it provides big meeting facilities and free WiFi. The bedrooms all come with a wardrobe and a flat-screen TV.

The Central Hotel Scarborough – This stunning hotel offers accommodation with a bar, private parking, a spacious shared lounge and a big garden. All of the modern bedrooms also come with a sun terrace for guests to sit and relax on. The hotel has a 24-hour front desk, room service and luggage storage for every guest, so you will know you’ll be taken care of. It’s definitely a great place to stay whilst doing all the things to do in Scarborough as it’s so central to everything!

The Bike & Boot Inn – Offering express check-in and check-out, allergy-free rooms, a restaurant and bar, the Bike & Boot Inn is great for tourists wanting to fully relax as they deserve. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space for guests. All bedrooms come with a clean private bathroom equipped with a shower and free toiletries.

High-end Accommodation

Park Manor Hotel – A stay at Park Manor hotel will have you never wanting to leave. This beautiful hotel offers plenty of wonderful facilities, such as a restaurant with a varied menu, also serving a full English breakfast every morning. Guests can savour home-made cakes and biscuits in the relaxing lounge as well as enjoy Park Manor’s leisure facilities which include a heated pool, hot tub and steam room. It in itself is one of the best things to do in Scarborough to relax.

The Wrea Head Hall Country House Hotel – These private grounds are located on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, which means it boasts breathtaking views of the countryside. Every bedroom is individually designed with a classic touch to help soak in the atmosphere of the hotel. Additionally, every room has an en suite bathroom, TV and drink making facilities so you will be sure to feel comfortable and at ease.

Mansion House – Only a 3-minute walk from the beach, this hotel is perfectly placed on Scarborough’s pretty Esplanade. The hotel has an amazing sea view, free WiFi and free parking nearby the hotel. Mansion House is over 200 years old, so is a great experience for those who want a more traditional English beach holiday. Guests can enjoy a selection of breakfast options, such as cereals and pastries or a full English breakfast, as well as lots of gluten-free and vegetarian options also available to suit everyone’s dietary requirements.

The best things to do in Scarborough

There are so many great things to do in Scarborough that you’ll have trouble picking the best! Luckily for you, I’ve made you a list of all the best things to do in Scarborough:

Things to do in Scarborough for families

There are lots of fun things to do in Scarborough for families; here are my favourite things to do:

Planet Circus OMG – Planet Circus OMG travel all around the world with unbelievable artists, including captivating contortionists, funny clowns, amazing acrobatic skills, and a fantastic FMX stunt finale to leave you astonished! The whole family will be stunned by this brilliant circus and its great acts.

Luna Park Scarborough – No visit to Scarborough is complete without a visit to the fun-filled Luna Park. There are plenty of fantastic rides, a brilliant atmosphere, delicious food, and lots of memories to be made! The park has been fully refurbished recently and is conveniently situated in the heart of Scarborough – it’s one of the best things to do in Scarborough if you want a more traditional feel!

Alpamare Water Park – One of the most unmissable things to do in Scarborough is a visit to the Alpamare Water Park. If your family love speed and adrenaline, they will have a great time at this water park as there are 4 amazing slides that they can soar on. There is also a choice of steam and sauna baths, bubble jet pools, an infinity pool and a wide range of spa treatments to choose from to help you relax if that’s more your thing. All the changing rooms and shared areas are spacious, accessible for disabled users and cleaned very regularly, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

things to do in Scarborough

Things to do in Scarborough for couples

There are lots of romantic things to do in Scarborough for couples visiting; here are some of the best:

Scarborough Castle – Built in the 12th century, visiting Scarborough Castle is one of the essential things to do in Scarborough. It is in a stunning location and has beautiful panoramic views over the dramatic coastline. Learn about the fascinating history of this historic castle and marvel at the amazing features it has to offer.

Scarborough Open Air Theatre – Built in the 1930s, this open air theatre is the perfect date night location for things to do in Scarborough for couples. In 2010, the open air theatre underwent a lot of refurbishment and was officially opened by The Queen and was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh – so if it’s good enough for royals, it’s the perfect thing to do as a couple! Since its official re-opening, some of the biggest stars in the world have played here, such as: Elton John, Britney Spears, Noel Gallagher, Lionel Richie, Little Mix, Lewis Capaldi and plenty more, so have a look at what’s on for when you visit!

Sea Life Scarborough – Sea Life Scarborough is home to more than 2500 creatures, and it’s a great place to visit for animal lovers! Dive into an amazing underwater world and journey to the ocean depths as you learn about all the different types of species and where they’re from. There’s also even a cheeky colony of Humboldt penguins that reside on Penguin Island that are so adorable! You can even walk through the incredible 200,000l Ocean Tunnel as turtles and sharks swim all around.

things to do in Scarborough

Free things to do in Scarborough

If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck, as there are plenty of free things to do in Scarborough:

Scarborough Beach – This is one of the most essential things to do in Scarborough! There are two large, sandy beaches to take your pick from – the South Bay, which is livelier and is filled with cafes, ice-cream parlours, independent shops, theatres and all the traditional entertainments. A gorgeous Victorian promenade runs along South Bay into the North Bay, so it’s perfect for strolling along. It’s also great to surf in the waters!

Peasholm Park – This Japanese style park has pretty trails running throughout it and a large boating lake sitting idyllically in the middle. There’s a lot of lively wildlife, such as grey squirrels, ducks, geese and pigeons, who are all happy to be fed. It is the perfect place to sit and relax whilst hearing the birds chirping away all around you.

South Cliff Italian Gardens – There are lots to admire in these picturesque Italian gardens scattered with lovely statues. There are colourful seasonal flowers with pretty viewpoints and lots of seating available. It’s a great place to read a book or have a serene picnic in and is also very quiet, so you will definitely be able to relax.

things to do in Scarborough

Scarborough essentials- what to pack

When taking part in all the great things to do in Scarborough, you’re going to want to remember to pack these essential items:

  • Ambre Solaire UV Water Clear Sun Cream Mist – This sun cream is a must-have! It’s perfect for everyone in the family to use and comes in a handy spray bottle to help cover more skin. It’s even enriched with aloe vera meaning that it will hydrate skin for up to 24 hours!
  • 3 Pieces Inflatable Beach Balls – These fun beach balls will provide hours of entertainment on Scarborough beach! They’re great for throwing and kicking about on land and in the sea!
  • Giant Inflatable Advcado Float – Relax in style on this funky avocado float! The pip of the avocado also features as a ball, so it’s 2 for 1! How smart is that?!
  • FURTALK Sun Hat – Look fashionable whilst staying safe from the sun with this pretty sun hat which comes in a range of colours, so you will be sure to find one that suits you!

The best things to do in Scarborough- further reading

I hope this post has told you all the best things to do in Scarborough! Have you ever visited Scarborough? What things to do in Scarborough do you want to try the most? If you liked this post, I recommend reading:

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