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13 of the best things to do in Scarborough

If you’re looking to enjoy a British weekend away, then why not consider a visit to Scarborough? This beautiful seaside town in North Yorkshire is home to a variety of breathtaking views. With a wide range of things to do in Scarborough, it makes the perfect trip for all the family to enjoy. From dreamland beaches to adventurous sea life resorts and explosive jazz festivals, there are so many different things to explore.

things to do in scarborough - scarborough harbour

Grab fish and chips from the harbour

What else comes with sea, sand and Scarborough? That’s right, a good old fish and chips! Wrapped in newspaper and covered in salt and vinegar are what everyone imagines when they hear the phrase seaside town.  We couldn’t not include it in our list of things to do in Scarborough. The harbour itself was originally built in 1225 by Henry III, gradually being extended and renovated throughout history. A true British classic combined with some of the finest seafood in the UK, Scarborough is home to some of the best fish and chips around.

things to do in scarborough - beach

Explore South Bay and North Bay beaches

A coastal town wouldn’t be a proper coastal town without a smashing beach to visit. Scarborough town is home to North Bay and South Bay beaches along with Cayton Bay and Cornelian Bay a bit further out. Stunning stretches of silky sand are waiting to be explored, and are perfect to dip your toes in – or go for a swim if you’re feeling brave in the colder months.  Take a donkey ride along the South Bay or a walk along the promenade and get that real seaside feel.

Things to do in Scarborough - Scarborough Spa orchestra

Enjoy a concert at Scarborough Spa

Scarborough Spa is a real hidden gem of North Yorkshire. It was first built around the source of the town’s spa waters, and is now a concert space open to visitors. Offering coastal views and a variety of different concert nights, including performances from The Spa Orchestra.

At over 110 years old – it’s the final remaining professional seaside orchestra – making visiting this spot a must and one of the most elegant things to do in Scarborough. Enjoy the classic Victorian seaside feel with the music from the orchestra and relish a seaside night out like no other.

South Bay, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 2HD – 01723 376774

Find peace in Peasholm Park

A visit to Peasholm Park makes a fabulous day out and is one of the best things to do in Scarborough. If you’re looking for something that all the family can get involved in, there’s lots to get up to.

Admire the beautiful sights of the oriental-themed park, matched with the island bandstand located in the middle of the tranquil lake. Chill out and get stuck in with the fun-filled boat hire to travel around the park with someone else driving. If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, consider hiring one of the dragon-themed pedaloes, popular with summer visitors and the locals. Cafes are also on-site serving hot and cold drinks and a variety of snacks.

North Bay, Scarborough, YO12 7TR

things to do in yorkshire - scarborough castle

Explore Scarborough Castle

History nuts – this could be one for you. Filled with over 3000 years of Northern Yorkshire history, this is one of the best things to do in Scarborough. Perched on the cliff, proudly towering over the crashing waves of the sea stands Scarborough Castle. Having been attacked by Vikings, medievals barons and Tudor rebels over the ages, this castle has been a part of Yorkshire’s history for centuries.

Now, thousands of years later, the castle has opened its doors to visitors of Scarborough, so you can explore all it has to offer. Soak up the stunning coastal clifftop views, or pay a trip to the Master Gunner’s house, where you might spot some ancient relics.

Castle Rd, Scarborough, YO11 1HY – 01723 372451

things to do in scarborough - alpamare scarborough

Jump right in at Alpamare

Adrenaline junkies – this could be one for you. Pay a visit to Scarborough’s famous water park, perched right next to North Bay Beach. This state-of-the-art waterpark is a fantastic day out and certainly, not one to miss if you’re looking for something thrilling to do in Scarborough. Take a ride down one of the super streamlined slides or have a splash in the thermal wave pool.

If you’re looking to relax, pay a visit to the infinity pool, complete with massage jets, which looks out over the North Bay. Afterwards, pay a visit to the on-site Alpine-themed wellness centre, where you can indulge in the sauna or steam baths.

28 Burniston Rd, Scarborough, YO12 6PH – 0172 386 1431

Things to do in Scarborough - Sea Life aquarium

Dive into the ocean at Sea Life Scarborough

If you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Scarborough that suits all the family, then this spot is certainly not one to miss. Sea Life is an amazing destination for those looking to find out more about our wicked waters. Set across 12 themed sections, each home to a different environment, there is an array of marine wildlife to explore and appreciate.

Take a walk through the ocean tunnel and become friends with some sneaky sharks, or pop down to the turtle rescue centre where you can get a hands-on experience. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the adorable seal hospital too, where you can even make a special booking to serve breakfast to the seals.

Scalby Mills Rd, Scarborough, YO12 6RP – 01723 373414

Things to do in Scarborough - Scarborough Open Air Theatre stage

Watch a live performance at Scarborough’s Open-Air Theatre

Scarborough Open Air Theatre is an exciting spot on our list. As Europe’s largest open-air theatre built in the 1930s, this beautiful venue has proudly hosted some iconic household names in the past. After closing for refurbishment, the theatre was opened in 2010 by Her Late Majesty the Queen and is situated on the stunning North Sea coast.

The theatre has seen the likes of Lionel Richie, Elton John and Little Mix perform, so if live music is up your street, the Scarborough Open Air Theatre is definitely worth visiting.

Burniston Rd, Scarborough, YO12 6PF – 01723 818111

Things to do in Scarborough - Scarborough Cliff Railway carriage

Take a trip on a victorian cliff railway

For a quicker way to get into the town and onto the beaches, why not take the Victorian cliff railway? Built-in 1881, the Scarborough cliff railway is one of the oldest cliff railways still in operation in the UK. It’s conveniently located between St Nicholas Gardens and the Grand Hotel, running between St Nicholas Street and Foreshore Road. The railway also runs frequently throughout the day so you can make the most of your trip to Scarborough. Alight the railway to visit the town hall, or take a walk to the shops located on Eastborough.

Upper Staton, Marine Parade, Scarborough, YO11 2ER – 01723 501754  

things to do in Yorkshire - cleveland way

Hone your rambling skills on the Cleveland Way

The stunning views and location of this town are what makes it special. If it wasn’t for the smooth caramel beaches and the blue waters, Scarborough wouldn’t be what it is today. That’s why Cleveland Way has made it onto our list of the best things to do in Scarborough.

Beginning in the beautiful town of Helmsley, The Cleveland Way takes hikers on a journey across the beautiful North York Moors, before ending in Saltburn on the coast. The 109-mile way passes through old fishing villages such as Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby. This is a real chance to embrace the beauty and natural delights of North Yorkshire, whilst exploring what the individual towns have to offer as well.

things to do in yorkshire - scarborough jazz festival

Release your inner Sinatra at Scarborough Jazz Festival

Every year in September, musicians from around the country gather to take part in Scarborough Jazz Festival. Set in the beautiful Victorian surroundings of Scarborough Spa, the festival annually boasts record numbers of visitors who flock to the charming seaside town to indulge in the array of music that is on offer.

The three-day event is set on the North Bay coast, so attendees will not only have the chance to catch up with some great music but a great view as well. This year they’re also celebrating their 20th anniversary, even more reason to attend the festival.

Scarborough Spa, South Bay, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 2HD

The Plough Inn at Scalby - lamb main Scarborough restaurants

Visit nearby villages for top gastropub grub

In pretty Yorkshire villages such as Scalby lies some of the finest pub grub that Yorkshire has to offer. Scalby, just outside Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast, is perfect if you plan to visit the North York Moors National Park. Seamer is in close distance too – just outside of the town centre. Expect an array of pubs packed with menus containing high-quality locally sourced traditional British dishes, such as fine steaks, fish ‘n’ chips and award-winning ice creams.

We recommend dining (and staying the night) at The Plough

21–23 High Street, Scalby, North Yorkshire, YO13 0PT


things to do in scarborough - north bay railway

Enjoy your day at the North Bay Railway

The last of our list but certainly not least is the North Bay Railway. This would make the perfect day out for all the family and dogs are welcome aboard as well, meaning that the whole family can take a ride.

The picturesque views and history of the railway make it a really special attraction and other attractions mean that this is more than just a railway station. If you’re feeling adventurous, then why not explore some of the other activities NBR offer such as the Sky Trail? You can also take a ride on the historic water chute or make a splash at the Lakeside Adventure and enjoy the fun of electric boats and water walkers!

Burniston Rd, Scarborough, YO12 6PF – 01723 368791


DON’T MISS…

7 of the best hotels in Scarborough

£40 Three’s A Crowd Harrogate Restaurant Voucher

11 West Park, Harrogate HG1 1BL
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11 West Park, Harrogate HG1 1BL

3-course Sunday lunch at Aldwark Manor, York

Aldwark, Alne, York YO61 1UF
  • Beautiful York city centre boutique hotel
  • Served in the art-filled Leetham Brasserie
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Aldwark, Alne, York YO61 1UF

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Harvey Nichols, Fourth Floor Brasserie, Leeds
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Harvey Nichols, Fourth Floor Brasserie, Leeds

Gin Creation Classes at Liquor Studio, Leeds

156a Lower Briggate, Leeds LS1 6LY
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156a Lower Briggate, Leeds LS1 6LY

Angelica & Crafthouse Leeds Sparkling Afternoon Tea

Leeds
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Sherry Discovery Experience at Iberica, Leeds 

Hepper House, 17a E Parade, Leeds LS1 2BH
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Hepper House, 17a E Parade, Leeds LS1 2BH

Written by

Erin Rofe-Turner

25/08/2023

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