A day in Scarborough

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The Thursday of our holiday we drove over to Scarborough. As far as I can remember I’d never been there before (although I’d been to Filey and Bridlington, a little further down the course, in the distant past). But Scarborough is the largest resort on the North Yorkshire coast. It’s been a popular destination since the 17th Century, originally as a Spa resort, but it really took off after the opening of the Scarborough–York railway in 1845, which brought in workers from the Yorkshire mill towns. The town goes back much further, though, as demonstrated by the impressive remains of a medieval castle on the hill overlooking the town. The Romans were certainly here and it’s likely that the town was founded by the Vikings. It’s built around two bays, separated by the hill that’s topped by the castle. The Marine Drive now goes round the end of the cliffs, linking the 2 bays, but this hasn’t always been the case.

There’s plenty of parking – not free, mind – and we parked up on the Marine Drive on the north bay. We walked round to the south bay, the site of the original medieval old town, and the attractive harbour.

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The Belle

After exploring the harbour we walked along hte prom on the south bay which is typical of a British seaside resort with the usual tacky amusment arcades and shops selling trinkets, with the odours of fish and chips, greasy fry ups and do-nuts constantly present. We carried on, climbing up through the gardens before the Grand Hotel, to the top road where there was a good view over the bay to the castle.

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The Grand Hotel was opened in 1867, when it was the largest hotel and the largest brick structure in Europe. It’s a Grade II* listed building. Today it’s owned by Britannia Hotels and so, like all their other hotels, it’s best avoided.

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The Grand Hotel – historic, but not so grand these days

We’d decided to visit the small museum so made our way past the Grand Hotel

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Pedestrian high level walkway

walking the short distance to the Georgian Rotunda building where it’s located.

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The mseum has small, but interesting, collection – mainly concentrating on fassils and the geology of the area.

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rather a lot of ammonites!
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The exhibits in the drum of the building are displayed in a way that probably hasn’t changed much since it was founded.

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Some of the exhibits displayed in glass cabinets lining the walls of the drum
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The old spiral staicase leading to the, now inaccessible, upper level in the dome.
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Some more exhibits
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The dome is very impressive – but it’s impossible to capture that in a photograph.
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A frieze around the base of the dome shows the geology of the north Yorkshire coast. I zoomed in on the section showing the Whitby area

We spent about an hour in the museum and then headed across the town towards the castle – and that deserves a post of it’s own. We also wanted to visit a celebrity in the old churchyard – you’ll have to wait to see whao that is (or perhaps you can make a guess!).

There was more to see in Scarborough, but our time there was limited. I’d have liked to have walked round to the old Spa building and the funicular railway and also spent some time walking along the norrth bay. It’s certainly worth another visit if we’re over that way again.

12 thoughts on “A day in Scarborough

  1. I discovered Scarborough some years ago, after having been put off it by people bad-mouthing it as being “like Blackpool”. I shouldn’t have listened. I fell in love with the place. As you say, there are some of the usual seaside amusements, but so much else besides. I love that walk from the Peasholme Park end, along the coast to the harbour. But your visit reminds me there’s much to the place I’ve still to see, so look forward to getting around to that next time. I’ve wondered about the hotel, but take heed of your warning. I think I know who you visited in the churchyard. Nice one.

    • I had the same impression and definitely agree with your view. It has it’s share of seaside seediness but here’s definitely other aspects to the town with some very pleasant areas. definitely a lot nicer than Blackpool. Some good architecture and historic buildings and it looked like the North Bay is undergoing gentrification too. It’s a little Jecklel and Hyde of a place!

  2. What a really neat museum. I know one an zooarchaeologist (specialising in shells) that would love the place. I’ll mention it to her. I think sometimes the smaller, now overlooked towns have some hidden treasures.

  3. I love a day out in Scarborough. Most years I have taken myself off there as it’s very easy by train from my local station. Just have to change at York. If I can get there early enough I make for the Spa Orchestra – coffee and a deckchair and nice light musical entertainment. Just right for the seaside. Then an open top bus ride up to North Bay and often stay on to come straight back. The museums, the Art Gallery, the Castle, paying homage to you-know-who. I do like fish and chips at the seaside and later an ice cream and maybe a cup of tea at the Royal Hotel. A ride on the funicular/cliff lift is a must. Sounds like you had a good day.

    • I really liked Scarborough Barbara – but you’d have guessed that as we often like the same places. Unfortunately we only had half a day there so couldn’t see everything. I’m always up early, even on holiday, but I can’t say the same for the other members of my “crew” 😂 So we didn’t leave as early as I’d have liked. Have noted your “agenda” for next time 👍

      • Ha! We even share that habit – getting up before the rest of the “crew”. Mine being a crew of one these days. But I know what to expect after 40+ years :-). Make my pot of tea and read and then take a walk. I also take some trips on my own or with friends.

  4. I have only been once and should have made more of my visit. I remember beach huts, which I am a bit obsessed with. I didn’t go to see the celebrities grave, which I regret. I have heard a big old hotel in Scarborough has been renovated and called something like Bikes & Boots. It has a bike cleaning room and a self service dog grooming room apparently.

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