Explore Scarborough

Scarborough is one of the busiest and most visited seaside towns in Yorkshire and its clear to see why. With plenty of attractions, restaurants, arcades and shops to visit as well as two well maintained beaches, one being a Blue Flag beach, Scarborough is perfect for families looking to enjoy a day at the beach.

In this article

  • Where is Scarborough
  • Scarborough town centre
  • Scarborough seafront
  • Scarborough coast
  • Things to do in Scarborough
  • Getting to Scarborough

Where is Scarborough

Scarborough is located on the North Yorkshire coast, just over 40 miles East of York and around 45 miles North of Hull. Close to the North Yorkshire Moors, Scarborough is accessible from most of Yorkshire and the North East as well as having great transport links, including the Coastliner bus which travels to and from Scarborough daily.

Scarborough Town Centre

For a seaside town, Scarborough town centre is thriving. With its own shopping centre at the heart of the town, which is home to high street names such as Next, New Look and The Fragrance Shop, there’s hours to be spent on retail therapy, a pleasant relief when the weather is wet or cold.

Scarborough town centre is directly opposite the train station, so getting there could not be easier. There’s plenty of parking nearby so if you want to take the car, you can use one of the nearby public car parks such as Falconers Road Car Park.

The town centre is pedestrianised and paved so it is accessible for those in wheelchairs or those thinking of bringing a pushchair. In the pedestrianised area, you have plenty of well known names such as Marks & Spencer’s, Superdrug and Wilko.

Scarborough town centre is a short walk from Scarborough South Bay and should take between 5-10 minutes. If you’re coming from North Bay, it’s a little further to walk, taking around 15-20 minutes, or you can hop on the regular Beachcomber bus service which leaves from Scarborough South Bay. An adult ticket costs around £5 and allows you to use the open top bus all day.

There’s plenty of cafes and restaurants in Scarborough town centre so you can grab some refreshments to take down to the beach or enjoy an evening meal with your family.

Scarborough Seafront

Scarborough’s main seafront is located on Foreshore Road, opposite Scarborough’s South Bay. Scarborough’s seafront stretches right from the junction with Valley Road, up to Luna Park fairground. Further round from Luna Park you have Marine Drive which connects Scarborough’s South Bay with North Bay, which is a much quieter beach with fewer attractions and facilities.

Scarborough Seafront

From Valley Road, heading right at the roundabout takes you towards Scarborough Spa where you can relax in the Summer and sample some live entertainment. This area of Scarborough seafront is much quieter and away from the hustle and bustle further up the beach. There’s a few independent souvenir shops so you can purchase all your gifts and grab an ice cream as you explore.

As you pass Scarborough Spa, there is a tramway up to the cliff top (this is run separately to the Central Tramway near to St Nicholas’ Gardens). Once at the top, you can enjoy the newly refurbished cliffside gardens which lead to the Italian Gardens which look out to sea. This area offers a very relaxed feel, often popular with older visitors and those with dogs, and you often spot sunbathers during hot Summer months.

If you are visiting Scarbrough as a family, you will likely want to be near the main seafront area, so you will head left at the junction with Valley Road, towards the lifeboat station.

This area of the beach has plenty of activities for children to enjoy, from fairground rides to donkey rides. Across the road, you have access to everything you could want from a British seaside town, from Fish & Chip restaurants to ice cream parlours and arcades (who doesn’t love a 2p machine?!).

If you’re walking down to Scarborough seafront (South Bay), the most scenic way is to head down via St Nicholas Gardens from the town centre, which should take around 5-10 minutes depending on your ability. Alternatively, there is a regular bus service that leaves from Scarborough Train Station regularly, which should take around 5 minutes. If you want a more unique experience or you struggle with mobility, the Tramway which runs daily. The tramway can be found next to St Nicholas Gardens, where the Cats Pyjamas café is located. 2021 fares cost £1.20 for a single journey.

Scarborough Coast

Scarborough Coast is a haven for those who enjoy walking, cycling or those simply wanting to explore the great outdoors. With plenty of rugged coastline to explore, Scarborough’s main coastal route is the Cleveland Way trail which starts at Filey Brigg and ends in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, weaving up the North Yorkshire coast to Whitby, before heading West across the North Yorkshire Moors over to Helmsley.

Most people walk the Cleveland Way in sections, rather than attempting to tackle the entire 109 mile trail in just a few consecutive days. The Cleveland Way trail is a great way to see as much of the North Yorkshire Coast as possible, as the route navigates through popular seaside towns and villages, close to the cliff edge, so you always have a sea view.

Attractions in Scarborough

Scarborough offers plenty of fun filled activities for families, so whether you’re visiting for the day or for a week, you won’t be bored.

When visiting Scarborough, you might not want to spend all day on the beach, especially if you don’t have young children. If you’re spending a week in the seaside town, you should try and see as much as possible, so we’ve listed some of the most popular visitor attractions that you can explore during your trip to Scarborough.

SEALife Centre

SEALife Centre is located close to Scarborough’s North Bay area, which is generally the quieter side of the town. Set right on the seafront, SEALife Centre offers families a truly enjoyable day out, whatever the weather and there’s plenty of parking available too.

Inside, you can explore various landscapes and zones, including Rainforest, Aquarium and Coral Reef. Get up close and personal with comical creatures on Penguin Island and see how SEALife is making a difference to the wildlife in the local area at Seal Hospital.

If the children have some energy to burn off, you can head over to the Outdoor Adventure Playground which has sheltered seating areas for the adults.

Alpamare Water Park

Alpamare, despite being a waterpark, is not just for the kids. Inside, you’ve got the exciting wave pool which offers a relaxing but exciting experience as well as the splash pool & play area which is popular with the younger ones.

Moving outside, you’ve got the heated garden pool, which makes you feel like you are abroad when the weather is nice as well as the infinity pool which overlooks the beach.

There’s several water slides that offer an exhilarating thrill or you can opt for the relaxing Wellness area which is an Alpine style spa.

After your swim, you can enjoy a bite to eat in the cafe, which offers much more than your standard swimming pool refreshment area.

Scarborough Castle

One of the best ways to see Scarborough (from high up that is) is at Scarborough Castle. If you enjoy heritage, Scarborough Castle has so much to explore and gives you the opportunity to learn about the history of the seaside town.

Discover 3,000 years of history whilst taking in some of the most spectacular views of Scarborough and out to sea.

Once you’re done exploring, you can grab a refreshment at the on-site cafe or the ice-cream van, both serving locally sourced food.

North Bay Railway

Located next to Scarborough North Bay, the North Bay Railway is a unique experience is one of the oldest seaside miniature railways in the country.

The route takes you from the old Kinderland site just off the A165 Whitby road right through to the SEALife Centre.

The railway is accessible for wheelchair users and those with pushchairs and dogs are also welcome to take the ride too (£1.50). A single journey costs around £3.50 or you can purchase a return journey for around £4.50.

Throughout the holiday and summer months, the train runs every 20 minutes, whereas in off-peak times, you can expect a train every 40 minutes.

Peasholm Park

If you enjoy green spaces then Peasholm Park is a must. With a large boating lake at the centre of the park and plenty of trails to explore, Peasholm Park is popular with those looking to get out in the fresh air and take in the nature around.

If you cross over the bridge to the middle of the lake, you can visit the oriental style gardens which offer a true zen feeling, especially if you have been in the crowds.

There’s a cafe on site with plenty of seating outside so you can enjoy the views whilst you grab a refreshment. Public toilets are located just by the cafe.

To make the most of your visit, why not rent a boat and take in the views from the lake. Dogs are welcome on the boats so you can head out as a family.

Peasholm Park

Getting to Scarborough

There’s several ways to get to Scarborough, including by car, bus and train. If you’re travelling from the West, you can use the A64 which heads directly into Scarborough. If you’re travelling from the North, you can use the A171 and from the South, you’ll use the A165.

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