Scarborough Castle is an impressive medieval fortress in a stunning location overlooking the town from high up on the cliffs. Given it’s setting, it rather reminded me of Chinon Castle in the Loire region of France.
We walked across the town from the museum and climbed up the hill to enter through the fortified gatehouse. The castle is under the stewardship of English Heritage so we were able to enter without paying the entrance fee on the day.
There’s evidence of human habitation on the promentry from pre-historic times and the Romans were here – they built a signal station on the cliffs. The first castle on the site was built in the 12th Century. It becam a Crown property during the reign of Henry II and over time was expanded to become a major fortress. It was beseiged, and badly damaged, during the Civil War, although, due to it’s strategic position on the coast, a garrison was kept here until the 19th century. Although a ruin today, there are substantial remains to explore and it’s location presents good views over the coast and town.
The remains of the fortifications are along the south of the headland, facing the old town. During medieval times the cliffs to the north would have been pretty much impregnable.
We walked past the Inner Bailey and bought a coffee from the kiosk next to the Master Gunner’s House – a later building. We then decided to walk along the top of the cliffsto take in the views before exploring the walls from the east side.
About half way along the cliffs there’s the site of a Roman signal station, one of a chain of structures built along the north east coast. There’s little in the way of physical remains of the Roman structure. A chapel was built on the site near a “holy” well, in about 1000 AD which was extended over the next few centuries and the visible stonework are the remains of this building.
At the end of the headland we reached the eastern end of the castle walls. They’re still quite substantial.
There’s remains of several towers and rooms incorporated with the curtain walls and ruins of other structures inside the Outer Bailey.
We made our way to the Inner Bailey with it’s rectangular keep known as the Great Tower.
There’s a viewing platform here that provides god views over the town, harbour and south bay.