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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > England > Scarborough beaches, Yorkshire

About Scarborough beaches, Yorkshire

With its mix of faded Victorian grandeur and coastal kitsch, Scarborough has something of the fun-at-all-costs atmosphere that characterises classic English seaside towns. It mixes frilly architecture, old-style grace and tawdry seaside treats, and buzzes with families in the summer season. It’s not just about the seaside though, a stream of theatre groupies flock to the renowned Stephen Joseph Theatre, playwright Alan Ayckbourne’s base.

Beach:

Scarborough’s two golden beaches are divided by its castle-mounted headland. Both are gentle sandy arcs with lots of facilities: North Bay and South Sands. Blue Flag North Bay has the bulk of the amusements and seaside kitsch, while South Sands retains more of its old-fashioned character.

Beyond the beach:

You’re only 37km (23 miles) from Castle Howard (www.castlehoward.co.uk), the magnificent stately home that starred in the TV version of Brideshead Revisited. It was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, who worked with Nicholas Hawksmoor to create a house of unparalleled theatrical splendour.

Family fun:

There is lots of bucket-and-spade fun on the beach, with seaside treats from donkey rides to speedboat trips in summer. Victorian funicular lifts make scaling Scarborough’s steep cliffs fun from February to October. A miniature railway runs to the Sea Life Centre & Marine Sanctuary (www.sealife.co.uk) at the end of North Bay, a recommended aquarium that does important work in rescuing seals. Surfers can hire gear and talk waves at the Secret Spot Surf Shop (www.secretspot.co.uk). Up on the headland you can visit the impressive Scarborough Castle.

Exploring further:

Scarborough is sat on the fringes of the North York Moors National Park (www.northyorkmoors.org.uk), where you can discover towering sea-cliffs, sandy beaches, ancient woodland, pretty villages, historic sites as well as interesting wildlife. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy the Cleveland Way National Trail, and there are walks suitable for all.

Splashing out:

The Royal Hotel (www.royalhotlescarborough.co.uk), with sweeping grand staircase and chandeliers, is Scarborough’s grandest hotel. Its Royal Beauty spa has a lush indoor swimming pool and treatments from head massage to hair extensions, and, for a fee, it’s open to non-residents.