Written by TianjinPaul on 29 Aug, 2012
Readers of this journal entry will, unfortunately, have to permit me to indulge in a little bout or reminiscence. During the mid to late 1980s, my father regularly took me to Scarborough for week-ends away. We stayed in a caravan – or very occasionally a…Read More
Readers of this journal entry will, unfortunately, have to permit me to indulge in a little bout or reminiscence. During the mid to late 1980s, my father regularly took me to Scarborough for week-ends away. We stayed in a caravan – or very occasionally a bed and breakfast – and spent our time playing bingo or snooker in the games rooms and arcades on the promenade and eating fish and chips in the evening. Whilst this was not particularly glamorous, my younger self enjoyed it tremendously. Therefore, when we went back for a visit several years later, I was always going to be drifting down memory lane.Whilst drifting into the past was to be expected, I was extremely surprised to find that in the 20 to 25 years since I visited Scarborough regularly, it had not changed all that much. Much of this familiarity was to be expected. Scarborough is, after all, a renowned fishing port and has been for centuries. Therefore, to expect the main industry and the make-up of the town to have changed would have been quite simply ridiculous. So, I found the harbour and the surrounding areas to be much the same as when I was a child.However, Scarborough's other major industry is tourism, one which has changed dramatically in the past 25 years. When I first visited Scarborough, my family stayed in a small touring caravan that had no running water and needed to run the electricity from my dad's car battery. We took showers in a communal block and had to walk across fields to get to the camp-site's toilets. In the twentieth-first century, with the growth of package tours and budget airlines, my old-style trips have gone the way of the dodo. As a consequence, I was expecting to see far more hotels and slightly more modern accommodation options. This did not prove to be the case at all. There were no travelodges or motels and scarcely a sign of any major hotel chains (which was perhaps a welcome absence).Entertainment options had not changed dramatically either, which was a point that saddened me a little. The sea-front was still dominated by video-game arcades. This not only disappointed me, but also left me puzzled. In the 1980s, computer game sat home were rather basic, so it was fun to get a chance to play games at sea-side. However, now with X box's and Play-station's the games on show in the arcades looked frighteningly antiquated. There was also still a small fun fair, which also seemed like an anachronism. It had a rather small big wheel and a few rides that looked like they had been there for years. Both the fair and most of the arcades were pretty empty and staffed by employees who looked altogether jaded. The only entertainment option that hung on and seemed to be thriving was the pub. There were still plenty along the sea-front that seemed to be doing a roaring trade.Thus far the rather out-dated picture I am painting of Scarborough seems rather negative. It might explain why people in England tend to venture abroad for their holidays now and simply use English destinations for day trips or week-ends. However, there were a few refreshing elements to the lack of change. Chief amongst these was food. Scarborough seemed to have managed to avoid an influx of fast-food and the fish and chip shop was still king and was ably supported by fresh sea-food stalls and candy-floss vendors. There was not a McDonald's or Starbucks in sight. Close
Written by MichaelJM on 07 May, 2006
Scarborough is the first coastal town that I can recall from my childhood. That was in the days of steam trains (the railway arrived in Scarborough in 1846 making it Yorkshire's oldest seaside resort), when holidays were a real family adventure and my father managed…Read More
Scarborough is the first coastal town that I can recall from my childhood. That was in the days of steam trains (the railway arrived in Scarborough in 1846 making it Yorkshire's oldest seaside resort), when holidays were a real family adventure and my father managed with amazing dexterity to balance numerous heavy suitcases and load them into the plush carriage of the waiting train. Although the steam trains have vanished (there are still privately maintained lines in Yorkshire) and I am now older than my father was in those halcyon days, Scarborough is still a great place to visit.The castle presides over the two splendid bays and I never tire of the invigorating walk "over the top" from the North to the South Bay with a chance to explore the narrow but extremely steep alleyways that predominate as you approach the more commercialised South Bay. The castle was built between 1158 and 1168, costing just over £600 and assuming a prime defensive position (previously occupied by a Roman Fort) over the twin bays. Nowadays visitors can just be impressed by the skyline it creates and, from time to time, enjoy a spectacularly staged battle re-enactment.Although I’d not advocate staying in the South Bay you can’t beat an exploration of the Promenade when night falls and the amusement arcades display their gaudy lights. There’s a real buzz if you enjoy people watching, with a cacophony of sound from the hoards of people and the arcade’s music, the smell of the hot dogs, fish and chip restaurants, and the excitement of youngsters as they head for the candy floss stalls or plague their parent for a stick of freshly made Scarborough Rock. A walk out of the bay will take you to the Spa theatre complex. Indeed the Spa was the start of Scarborough’s popularity as back in the early 1600s Scarborough Spring Water was discovered and over the years wealthy individuals would regularly descend on the this quiet village to "partake of the waters" and either improve their health or extend their life. Not that it worked for Anne Brontë who visited Scarborough for a cure. She died at the age of 29 and was buried in the churchyard in the shadow of the castle. During the summer the spa hosts daytime concerts in the open forum or in its extravagant sprung dance floor (if you suffer from occasional sickness its not a good idea to try dancing on this "elastic" floor.There are good views beyond the Spa from along the promenade and generally you’ll be able to take in the seascape without hoards of tourists. Up above the Spa (try taking the short journey by funicular railway) is the main shopping area. Most of the shops are predictable but occasionally you’ll spot a gem—a privately owned shop offering quality crafts or more unique clothing. They won’t be cheap, but they are northern and not London prices. Close
In the quieter North Bay, Peasholme Park, designed in the early 20th century in a Japanese Style featuring pagodas, waterfalls, a floating bandstand and a willow pattern style bridge. In my childhood I remember being fascinated by a naval battle on Peasholm Lake. These battle…Read More
In the quieter North Bay, Peasholme Park, designed in the early 20th century in a Japanese Style featuring pagodas, waterfalls, a floating bandstand and a willow pattern style bridge. In my childhood I remember being fascinated by a naval battle on Peasholm Lake. These battle enactments are still running and the large scale modeled remote controlled boats parade the waters, planes swoop down from on high and torpedoes can be seen speeding underwater to sink unsuspecting vessels. I have to say that, as an adult it had lost some of its magic, but the children were alive with excitement and adults, seeing it for the first time seemed to be enthralled.At night Peasolm Park takes on a different persona with its Japanese garden being adorned with lights. Some offer subtle lighting of the plants and shrubs casting eerie shadows amongst the strange and varied hues. But this is a child’s paradise and there are famous stars of the animated screen alongside magical toadstools, fairy grottoes and other magical scenes for the youngsters. It will certainly seem a totally different scene to the one that featured the miniature sea battle earlier on in the day. When the sea battle isn’t playing you can take a dragon boat around the island. Not an enthralling trip but the kids will love it.Cross the busy main road and you’ll see Scarborough’s indoor swimming pool and to the left of that the entrance to another extensive park. From here you can catch Yorkshire’s famous miniature train, up the coast to Scalby Mills. In the same area Scarborough’s "Sea Life" is still on the go. These are not uncommon nowadays, but when I first took my children to Scarborough they were fairly unique. Over the years its been upgraded, but I’m afraid it isn’t up to Disney’s Sea World standards!It wasn’t until wandering the streets in Scarborough’s castle area that I realised that the so-called "father of aviation", Sir George Cayley was born in the town, a fact that the town really doesn’t seem to exploit.If you have your own transport I’d strongly recommend that you take a trip up to Oliver’s Mount. It is an approved motorbike racetrack so you’ll have to choose your day carefully! It’s reputed to be named after Oliver Cromwell but I’ve not seen any documentary evidence to support this. However, as you stand at the top viewing the spectacular vista, just imagine Cromwell, the Lord Protector standing up there mustering the troops!
For a bit of culture Scarborough has its own Art Gallery and the Rotunda Museum brags that it’s the "finest Georgian Museum" in England". I’m not sure about that but it is certainly one of Britain’s oldest and the building’s architect is superb and has been tastefully update to make it a bright and interesting place to visit.
Written by been there-again-again on 17 Jul, 2002
Scarborough is an ideal location as a starting point or a place to stay while touring the great Yorkshire Moors with its tiny villages and dozens of great pubs. You can drive up to Whitby, down to Bridlington, across the moors to the Yorkshire dales…Read More
Scarborough is an ideal location as a starting point or a place to stay while touring the great Yorkshire Moors with its tiny villages and dozens of great pubs. You can drive up to Whitby, down to Bridlington, across the moors to the Yorkshire dales and even over to the wonderful old city of York, all within a couple of hours drive.
Car rentals and gas are expensive in the UK but distances between places are small so you can see a lot in one day. Don't miss Thirsk with its market square, old castle and best of all the museum home of James Heriot remember "All Creatures Great and Small" The house is an interactive museum, lots of fun for the kids and the movie set is still there. You can take your photograph sitting in the old car from the TV series.