Free Things to Do Scarborough

19 Free Things to Do in Scarborough

When it comes to thinking about what to do at the weekend, or how to fill the school holidays, it can become frightening just how expensive everything is.

A day out will often include transport, food & drink and then an entrance fee, so we thought we would make it easy for you by creating this guide of completed free things to do in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

1. Peasholm Park

Peasholm Park is one of Scarborough’s most visited attractions, and what’s more, it’s free!

Whilst the activities inside Peasholm Park (the boats and the golf) cost, there’s still plenty to do inside the park that doesn’t cost a penny.

There’s a good trail to follow around Peasholm Park – if you enter the gate where the boat house is located and head left towards the cafe, you will come to a small footbridge.

If you turn left here, you will be able to follow a circular route that loops back round following the stream. You will return back to the lake where you can then follow it round in clockwise direction, back toward the boat house.

Peasholm Park

Just before you reach the boat house, you will notice a wooden bridge which takes you to the island in the centre of the lake. Here, you will find the Japanese inspired gardens which offer complete tranquillity.

2. Visit Scarborough’s beaches

If you’re visiting Scarborough in the Summer months, you can have a completely free day out by spending the day on Scarborough’s beaches – North Bay and South Bay.

North Bay is slightly less commercialised and is away from the amusements and rides, whereas South Bay is closest to all the amenities.

With plenty of sandy beach to take advantage of, you can bring your bucket and spade, a frisbee or a football and get the whole family involved in some competitive games.

Scarborough South Bay Cover

If you’re feeling brave enough to take a dip in the North Sea, you can go out for a paddle or bring your body board and try and catch some waves.

If you don’t want to spend money on food, you can always bring a picnic with you to keep you going during your day at the beach.

3. Walk Cleveland Way

For those who struggle to sit on a beach all day, the Cleveland Way trail might be the perfect alternative. The Cleveland Way runs all the way from Helmsley to Filey, running through Scarborough itself.

For the coastal segment, you can start your walk at either SEALife Centre (heading towards Robin Hood’s Bay which is 12 miles away) or Scarborough Spa (heading towards Filey which is 10.5 miles away).

During both segments, you’ll have spectacular views out to sea as you meander along the cliff tops. There’s plenty of spaces to stop and take a break or have a well earned flask of tea.

4. Walk to Cornelian Bay South

If the idea of tackling the Cleveland Way sounds like too much of a challenge, but you want to explore more of the coastline, you can do just a fraction of it and walk from Scarborough to Cornelian Bay South instead.

Starting at Sea Cliff Road car park, you can pick up the Cleveland Way trail which straddles the coastline (you can park in South Cliff Road for free for up to 3 hours).

From here, the walk to Cornelian Bay South is just 1.5 miles away, taking just 30 minutes to walk – giving you a full hour to explore the beach before returning to your car.

Follow the signs for Cleveland Way and as you reach the sign for Cayton Bay, located on Osgodby Hill, you will start your descent down to Cornelian Bay South.

You can use your smartphone to download AllTrails and follow the route directly from the car park to Cornelian Bay.

5. Walk Cinder Track

The Cinder Track is a route that runs between Whitby and Scarborough on the old railway line and is popular with walkers and cyclists due to its flat terrain.

The whole route covers just over 21 miles, passing through Hayburn Wyke, Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay on the way.

There’s plenty of places to stop for refreshments, or you can bring your own drinks and snacks for a completely free day out.

You can hop on the Cinder Track behind Sainsbury’s supermarket, just off Falsgrave Road.

6. Visit Italian Gardens

If you enjoy and appreciate greenery and nature, the Italian Gardens, located on South Cliff are landscaped gardens with plenty of seating areas and trails to navigate.

There’s a large bowling green in the centre and a focal point where you can sit and reflect whilst taking in the spectacular views over the coastline.

There is plenty of colour in the Italian Gardens, from soft oranges to vibrant pinks and the well kept palm trees makes it feel tropical, especially during the Summer months.

7. Walk up to Oliver’s Mount War Memorial

For some of the very best views of Scarborough, head up to Oliver’s Mount where the war memorial is situated.

The walk up isn’t too difficult as it’s on a slight gradient rather than a sheer climb and the meander through the residential streets is safe for the whole family to do together.

You can start the walk either from Seamer Road, close to The Mere, or from Filey Road. The war memorial is visible from most places in Scarborough, so it’s just a case of keeping this in view as you hike up.

Once at the top, you’ll have a birds eye view of Scarborough!

8. Crabbing at Scarborough Harbour

If you already have your own net and line, you can head down to Scarborough Harbour where you can pick yourself a perfect spot for crabbing.

Crabbing is a cruelty free way to get to know the wildlife that lives in the seaside town we often visit. There’s no hooks involved, simply add some bait to a net and place it in the water.

The crab will enter the net, where you will then raise it out from the sea so you can examine your catch. Carefully place the crab back in to the sea.

9. Scarborough Maritime Heritage Museum

If you want to get to know a little more about the history of Scarborough, you can visit Scarborough Maritime Heritage Museum which is open Wednesday to Sunday between 11am and 4pm.

During your visit, you will learn about pirates, links to the Titanic, the harbour, fishing and the history of the town itself, including shops and people.

The Maritime Heritage Museum is just a short walk from Scarborough South Bay beach, so you can add this in to your usual visit to Scarborough.

10. Explore Broxa Forest

Broxa Forest is around 7.5 miles outside of Scarborough, so you will need your own mode of transport to get there.

Whether you’re looking for an autumnal walk or just want somewhere where you can let your kids run off some steam, there’s a full 6 mile circular walk you can complete (or just do section of it if 6 miles is too much).

There’s plenty of picnic spots dotted around, so you can take your own snacks and refreshments for your day out.

If cycling is your preferred mode of transport, The Moors to Sea Cycle Route cuts through Broxa Forest so you could always combine your visit with a longer trail.

11. Walk the Mere

Most visitors to Scarborough might not know that The Mere even exists. It’s nestled away close to one of the main routes in and out of Scarborough.

Located just behind Seamer Road Park and Ride off the A64, The Mere is a popular place for dog walkers and those who enjoy a spot of fishing.

You can complete the circular walk around The Mere and can even combine it with a walk up to Oliver’s Mount War Memorial which is also situated in the same country park.

12. Hairy Bobs Skate Park

If you have children between the ages of 4-16, there’s no doubt they have already visited Hair Bob’s Skate Park, or at least heard about it from their school friends.

Located on Marine Drive, Hairy Bob’s has a wide range of ramps for skateboards and scooters to learn some tricks.

There’s plenty of parking on Marine Drive so parents can supervise without having to get too close to the action.

Hairy Bob’s can get quite busy during weekends and school holidays, so for younger ones, it might be worth going earlier in the day.

13. Porpoise Spotting

Scarborough is home to pods of dolphins which circle the area regularly and can often be seen playing in the waves.

One of the best places to spot them is to position yourself on Marine Drive looking East. If you take some binoculars with you, you will get a close up as the dolphins dive in and out of the sea.

You can follow the local Facebook group where members of the public share their sightings with each other, so you have a better chance of spotting the dolphins.

14. Cycle to Filey

If you’re happy pottering about on two wheels, a great way to see more of Yorkshire’s beaches is to dust off your bike and follow one of the dedicated cycles routes around Scarborough.

You can follow the direct route from Scarborough to Filey which goes adjacent to the main road so you don’t need to worry too much about sharing the road with fast paced traffic.

If you’d prefer a circular route, rather than doubling back on yourself, Kamoot has a 20.4 mile circular option instead.

15. Discover Woodend Gallery and Studios

If you’re looking for something a little different and to appreciate some beautiful art, Woodend Gallery and Studios based in The Crescent is set in a Grade II listed building.

Inside you’ll find a range of contemporary exhibitions and unique art pieces to browse. There gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10am until 4pm.

16. Walk up to Scarborough Castle

Although Scarborough Castle is not free to enter, you can walk up to the castle itself and around the vicinity, so you can take advantage of the spectacular views.

As you approach the entrance to Scarborough Castle, you’ll notice a footpath to the left that you can follow to the top of the hill. On your right hand side, you will be able to see part of Scarborough Castle itself.

If you look down towards the sea, you’ll notice a zig zag path that leads all the way down to Royal Albert Drive which you can follow for a circular trail.

Remember to take some photos whilst you are up high – on a clear Summer day, you should be able to see quite far down the coastline.

17. Visit Anne Bronte’s Grave

Anne Bronte, who is famed for writing Wuthering Heights, one of the most well known novels of all time, died in Scarborough back in 1849 aged just 29.

Anne Bronte’s grave is situated in St. Mary’s Church, just off Castle Road, close to Scarborough Castle itself.

There is a car park located directly behind the church if you cannot easily make the walk up to St Mary’s Church. If you don’t have mobility issues, you can walk to the grave via Royal Albert Park for a circular route.

18. Walk Around North Yorkshire Waterpark

Whilst North Yorkshire Waterpark might be known for more adrenaline filled activities such as ziplining, wakeboarding and sailing, you can actually take advantage of the setting by taking a walk round one of the trails.

There’s 2.5km of trails around the lakeside which is suitable for cyclists, dog walkers and hikers alike. The paved paths are suitable for most abilities, as well as those bringing pushchairs.

If you’re bringing your own refreshments, there’s ample picnic benches dotted around so you can sit and take in the nature around you.

19. Scarborough Secret Garden

This is probably one you want to visit during your day out at Peasholm Park as it’s only a short walk from there.

Located in Manor Road Cemetery, the Secret Garden can be accessed by navigating to Peasholm Beck and following the woodland into the cemetery.

Alternatively, you can enter from Woodland Ravine if you don’t want to head all the way through Peasolm Park. For the younger ones, you can keep them entertained with a trail quiz.

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