Many visitors to Scarborough on the amazing Yorkshire Coast, just do the standard touristy things. There is much more the the area than that though.
Forget the typical beach getaway, you’re diving headfirst into the unusual, the unique, and the unexpected.
From secret historical spots to quirky experiences, you’re about to uncover a side of Scarborough that’s off the beaten path.
So, strap in and get ready for an unforgettable journey of discovery.
Let’s explore the most unusual things to do in Scarborough!
Table of Contents
- Scarborough offers a range of unique and unusual activities for visitors.
- The town is known for its historical attractions such as Scarborough Spa, Scarborough Castle, and Anne Brontë’s Grave at St. Mary’s Church.
- Scarborough also offers breathtaking natural scenery, with cliffside walks and panoramic views of the coast.
- Visitors can enjoy a variety of cultural experiences, including tours of the Grand Hotel Scarborough, visits to Scarborough Art Gallery, and exploring the Legend of the Blue Willow Tea Sets at Peasholm Park.
Also see the video below:
Events In Scarborough
Below can see some of the current events in Scarborough.
Date & Time:May 10th, 2024 7:00pm
Date & Time:August 11th, 2024 1:00pm
Date & Time:October 10th, 2025 12:00am
Date & Time:April 18th, 2024 8:00pm
Shaun Ryder – Happy Mondays, and Fridays, and Saturdays, and Sundays at Scarborough Spa Theatre, ScarboroughSouth Bay, Scarborough, YO11 2HD
Date & Time:May 3rd, 2025 7:00pm
Navigating the Streets of Scarborough
You’ll discover that navigating the streets of Scarborough is an adventure in itself, with its historic landmarks, unique shops, and local eateries adding to the charm of this Yorkshire coastal town.
As you wander through the bustling town centre, the scent of fresh seafood wafts from the Scarborough Market Hall, a must-visit for any foodie. You might even see the Scarborough Borough Council at work, preserving the town’s heritage.
Don’t forget to visit Scarborough Bay, where the salty air and the cry of seagulls will transport you to a different world. Whether you’ve visited Scarborough before or it’s your first time, you’ll find that every turn uncovers a new, delightful surprise.
Reality will feel miles away as you lose yourself in the magic of Scarborough.
The Scarborough Spa Experience
Once you’re at the Scarborough Spa, you’ll find it’s not just about the mineral waters, there’s also a Grand Theatre, cafes, terraces, and a bandstand to explore. As you walk through the grand hall of the spa complex, the history of this iconic Scarborough destination envelops you. Each step on the Spa Bridge reveals stunning panoramic views of the coast.
The art gallery, another gem of the complex, beckons you with its magnificent collection of local and international art. The rich heritage of the Scarborough Spa offers you an immersive cultural experience that goes beyond relaxation and rejuvenation.
Exploring the Historic Scarborough Spa Bridge
Walking across the historic Scarborough Spa Bridge, you’re treated to magnificent views of the Scarborough coast. As you stroll, the seafront unfolds in all its grandeur, revealing the coastal heritage that this town so proudly embodies.
The Scarborough Spa Bridge: Erected in 1827, it bridges history and beauty, offering panoramic views of Scarborough harbour. You might spot a fishing boat bobbing in the distance or hear the distant gulls.
The Scarborough Seafront: A picture of lively activity, with the iconic Ferris wheel and the bustling beach.
Peasholm Park: A quick detour away, ready for you to explore its tranquil waters, beautiful pagoda, and charming gardens.
Take your time, breathe in the salty air, and let Scarborough’s charm seep into your soul.
Fun Activities at Scarborough Beachfront
Down at Scarborough’s beachfront, there’s a whole array of fun activities waiting for you to enjoy. Imagine the salty sea air filling your lungs as you stroll along the sandy shore, your eyes catching sight of the vibrant amusement arcades. You’ll get caught up in the nostalgia of classic seaside entertainment, with the sound of arcade games and laughter filling the air.
Just a stone’s throw away, you’ll spot the Scarborough Open Air Theatre, a hub of live entertainment where you can catch amazing performances under the stars.
And for an out-of-this-world experience, climb aboard the pirate ship, anchored in the sparkling waters. As you sail along the coast, you’ll feel like a true adventurer, making for unforgettable moments at Scarborough beachfront.
Journey on the Hispaniola Pirate Ship
You’re in for a thrilling adventure when you embark on a journey aboard the Hispaniola pirate ship at Scarborough Harbour. As you set sail, the stunning North Bay unfolds before your eyes, a sight to behold.
First, you’ll pass by the vibrant North Bay Heritage Railway, bustling with life and laughter. Don’t miss the chance to wave at the passers-by, who are just as excited as you are.
As you venture further, you’ll spot the Scarborough Fair Collection, a nostalgic sight filled with vintage items that transport you back in time. Listen for the old-time music wafting through the air.
Finally, as the Hispaniola turns back towards the harbour, you’ll get a glimpse of the tranquil Peasholm Park. Its serene setting makes for a perfect photo opportunity.
The Holy Cow Ice Cream Shop
After your exciting journey on the Hispaniola, there’s no better way to cool down than indulging in a delicious, Instagram-worthy ice cream at the Holy Cow shop on the seafront.
Situated in the bustling South Bay, this unique shop offers a variety of flavors that you’re sure to love. Imagine licking a creamy, Bueno-flavored ice cream as you stroll towards Scarborough Castle. Or perhaps you’d prefer a vibrant rainbow glitter cone, the perfect contrast against the sandy Scarborough beach during the summer months.
And the best part? It’s entirely dog friendly! Now, your furry companion can join the fun, making your visit to Holy Cow a sweet memory for both of you.
This summer, don’t just visit Scarborough, taste it at Holy Cow!
Delving Into the History of Scarborough Castle
Next on your itinerary, you’ll delve into the rich history of Scarborough Castle, a 3,000-year-old fortress perched high on the cliffs. This majestic edifice has so much history. It served as a Roman signal station, and under King Henry III, it was a royal stronghold.
Here’s a quick overview:
- Roman Signal Station: Built during the 4th century, it was part of a coastal defense system.
- King Henry III’s Reign: The castle was fortified and expanded, becoming an impressive royal residence.
- Anne Bronte’s Grave: Located near the castle, it’s a poignant reminder of the literary legacy that thrives in Scarborough.
Exploring Scarborough Castle isn’t just about connecting with the past; it’s about being part of a story that spans centuries. Enjoy the journey!
A Visit to Anne Bront’s Grave
Just a stone’s throw away from Scarborough Castle, tucked away in the tranquil grounds of St. Mary’s Church, is where you’ll find the final resting place of renowned author Anne Brontë.
As you meander through the churchyard, the scene of the Scarborough Fair song, you’ll feel a sense of tranquility that’s as palpable as the North Yorkshire breeze.
Anne’s grave, a stark yet touching reminder of her untimely death, sits quietly amidst the headstones, radiating a certain melancholy charm. The inscription, despite its noted spelling error, tells a tale of a life cut short and a spirit undimmed.
As you pay your respects, you can’t help but imagine Anne, strolling along Robin Hood’s Bay, penning her poignant tales.
A visit to Anne Brontë’s grave is indeed a stirring tribute to her enduring legacy.
The Breathtaking Cliffside Walk
As you leave behind the Stephen Joseph Theatre and the impressive collections of the Scarborough Art Gallery, your next adventure awaits.
Prepare yourself for the breathtaking cliffside walk. The journey begins at the tranquil Italian Gardens, a hidden gem nestled on the South Cliff. The Italian Gardens are rich with vibrant flora, ornate stone work, and a tranquil lily pond.
From there, you will embark on the Cliffside Path, an exhilarating walk with the North Yorkshire coastline stretching out beneath you. Feel the sea breeze on your face, hear the waves crashing below, and bask in the stunning vista.
South Cliff, boasting panoramic views across the town and the sea beyond, will be your next stop. It offers a mesmerizing sight that will leave you in awe.
This walk promises both a thrilling challenge and a sensory feast. The beauty of Scarborough awaits.
An Inside Look at the Grand Hotel Scarborough
You’re about to discover the splendors of the Grand Hotel Scarborough, a remarkable structure that once was a beacon of luxury and elegance in its heyday. This grand hotel, with its intricate architecture and historical significance, is like a treasure chest, waiting to be explored. Its halls echo with tales of lavish balls and distinguished guests.
A short walk away, you’ll find the Sea Life Centre, home to exotic marine creatures and an underwater world that’s sure to captivate your imagination. Not far off, the Rotunda Museum beckons with its impressive collection of local geology and archaeology.
Your cultural journey continues at Royal Albert Park, a serene green space dotted with statues and memorials. Finally, satisfy your appreciation for fine art at the nearby gallery, brimming with inspiring pieces.
Riding the Central Tramway
Next on your itinerary, you’ll experience a bit of history while taking in the stunning views from the Central Tramway, one of the town’s original cliff lifts that’s still in operation today. As you ascend, the breathtaking panorama of the North and South Bay unfolds before your eyes.
- The Tramway:
- Initially designed to transport Victorian visitors from the town centre to the South Bay.
- It’s served by vintage cars that are reminiscent of a bygone era.
- The ride itself is thrilling and offers a unique perspective of the town.
While at the top, make sure to visit the Market Hall, a hub of local products and produce. This is where you’ll see fishing boats coming into the harbor, a typical Scarborough scene. And don’t forget to pay a visit to Anne Bronte’s grave, a poignant reminder of Scarborough’s rich literary past.
A Day at Peasholm Park and Island
Now, imagine yourself stepping into the tranquil beauty of Peasholm Park. You’re greeted by the gentle rustling of leaves and the soft lapping of the boating lake. As you stroll, you’ll find the miniature railway – a charming local gem.
Feel the excitement as you hop aboard for a scenic ride towards North Bay Beach. The salty breeze, the rhythmic chugging of the train, it’s pure magic!
As evening sets in, the Open Air Theatre beckons. The air buzzes with anticipation as the show begins under a canopy of stars.
On your way back, you’ll pass Anne Bront’s grave, a serene and poignant reminder of Scarborough’s rich literary heritage.
Ah, what a day at Peasholm Park and Island!
The Story Behind the Blue Willow Tea Sets
Let’s delve into the fascinating tale behind the Blue Willow tea sets, a story that adds a touch of intrigue and charm to your tea-drinking experience. Originating from the south bay beach, these dainty tea sets have journeyed across the North Sea to find their home in the quaint gift shops of West Pier.
The Tale Unfolds:
Mandarin’s Daughter: She fell for a humble clerk, a forbidden love in a society of rigid hierarchy.
Secret Meetings: They’d rendezvous in a beach hut, their love blossoming with each stolen moment.
The Escape: They planned to elope, embarking on a tumultuous journey across the sea.
Every sip of tea from these tea sets takes you on this thrilling journey, adding a touch of romance to your day.
Enjoying Scarborough Spa’s Concerts and Events
You’ll definitely enjoy the lively concerts and vibrant events at Scarborough Spa, making it a must-visit destination during your trip.
Imagine immersing yourself in the soothing melodies of a live band, as the sun sets over the south bays, painting the sky in hues of pink and orange.
On a rainy day, the Spa offers serene refuge, with its grand architecture and array of indoor activities.
Experience the thrill of the wave pool, with each surge mimicking the rhythmic dance of the ocean waves.
Find tranquility by the rock pools, their cool waters a refreshing contrast to the bustling atmosphere.
And don’t miss the infinity pool. Gazing across its edge, you’ll feel as if the pool merges with the sea itself, an illusion that’s truly breathtaking.
Exploring the Scarborough Art Gallery
After the concert, it’s time to explore the Scarborough Art Gallery, where you’ll find a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional artworks. Nestled in the beautiful surroundings of The Crescent, this Italianate villa is a treasure trove of artistic delights.
- Showcases a wide range of exhibits, from local artists to world-renowned masters.
- Regularly hosts interactive workshops and events, perfect for igniting your creative spark.
- A charming location lined with historic buildings, inviting you to take a leisurely stroll.
- Home to a quirky bowling alley, where you can engage in a friendly competition after soaking in the art.
The Italianate Villa:
- A masterpiece in itself, the villa’s stunning architecture is a sight worth capturing.
Beach Activities for All Ages
There’s no shortage of beach activities in Scarborough, whether you’re keen on sunbathing, swimming, or trying out some thrilling water sports. You’ll find the golden sands of South Bay perfect for building a sandcastle masterpiece, while North Bay’s waves invite you to grab a surfboard and ride the tide.
But it’s not just about the water. Why not try your hand at beach volleyball, or join a competitive game of beach football? And when you’re ready to relax, simply lay back and enjoy the sound of the waves and the warmth of the sun.
Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:
ActivityDescriptionBest forSunbathingSoak up the sun on Scarborough’s sandy beachesRelaxationSwimmingSwim in the clear, refreshing water of the North SeaExercise, FunWater SportsTry out surfing, paddleboarding, or kayakingAdventureBeach GamesJoin in a game of beach volleyball or footballSocializing, ExerciseSand ArtBuild a sandcastle or create your own sand sculptureCreativity, Family
Uncovering History at the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre
Diving into the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre, you’ll unearth the rich seafaring past of this coastal town. This treasure trove of maritime history brings to life the stories of the people who braved the North Sea, fishing for herring and cod.
As you navigate the museum, you’ll discover:
- Exhibits that showcase the town’s fishing and seafaring history, including:
- Models of fishing vessels that once sailed from Scarborough
- Personal stories and photographs of the fishermen and their families
- Interactive displays and educational resources that make learning fun, such as:
- Touchscreens filled with historical data and images
- Hands-on exhibits that let you feel what life was like on a fishing trawler
- Rare artifacts that offer a glimpse into the past, including:
- Vintage fishing gear
- Historical documents and maps of the Yorkshire coast
This journey through Scarborough’s maritime past is sure to leave you with a deeper appreciation of this seaside town’s rich heritage.
The Rotunda Museum: A Geological Treasure
You’ll find the Rotunda Museum to be a geological treasure, showcasing Scarborough’s rich natural history. As you step inside this dome-shaped wonder, you’ll be transported back millions of years, surrounded by fascinating fossils, minerals, and ancient artifacts. It’s a visual feast, an intriguing glimpse into the earth’s past, right at your fingertips.
From the remnants of the Ice Age to the secrets of the Jurassic sea beds, each exhibit tells a compelling tale of time and transformation. And it’s not just about passive viewing; interactive displays invite you to engage, to question, to discover. You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of the natural world, and perhaps a newfound curiosity.
Scarborough’s Traditional Fishing Trips
Scarborough’s long-standing fishing tradition can’t be overlooked, especially when they offer fishing charters and excursions for you to enjoy. Imagine casting your line into the vast blue, feeling that heart-stopping tug, and reeling in your own catch of the day.
Here’s what you need to know about these fishing trips:
- Location: The charters usually set sail from Scarborough harbor. It’s a bustling hub of activity with fishing boats hauling in their daily catch.
- Species: You’ll have the opportunity to catch a variety of fish species. It’s common to reel in cod, haddock, and mackerel.
- Guides: Experienced local guides are available. They’ll show you the ropes, ensuring you’ve a fruitful and enjoyable experience.
Embrace this traditional pastime and create unforgettable memories.
A Night at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre
Imagine spending a magical night under the stars at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre, where you can enjoy live performances by renowned artists in a unique outdoor concert venue. You’re nestled amidst a sea of faces, the stage lights illuminating the evening with their vibrant glow.
As the music swells in the open air, you feel a tangible connection with the crowd, sharing in the thrill of the live performance. This isn’t just any concert venue – it’s Europe’s largest open-air theatre, and it’s right here in Scarborough.
Throughout the summer, the theatre hosts a variety of acts, from chart-topping pop stars to legendary rock bands. So grab your tickets, invite your friends, and prepare for an unforgettable night of music and memories at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre.
The Majestic Scarborough Castle: A Must-Visit
Perched high on the cliffs, Scarborough Castle’s majestic beauty and rich history is something you can’t afford to miss on your visit. From its towering stone walls, you get a panoramic view of the North Sea and the charming town below – a sight to behold.
As you explore, you’ll discover:
- Its rich history, starting as an Iron Age settlement, then a Roman signal station, a Viking haven, and finally a medieval royal fortress.
- The remains of the 12th-century Great Tower, where kings once held court.
- The fascinating exhibitions in the Master Gunner’s House, giving you a peek into the castle’s past.
Savouring the Best Fish and Chips in Town
After soaking in the historic charm of Scarborough Castle, prepare your palate for an iconic British treat. Head towards the bustling Scarborough Harbour and follow the irresistible aroma of Winking Willys, a renowned local eatery. Here, you’ll experience the true art of British cuisine – the humble fish and chips.
Crispy, golden, and cooked to perfection, the cod or haddock served here is a revelation. Paired with salty chips, it’s a match made in food heaven. Whether you choose to dine in or savour your meal alfresco on a harbour bench, each bite transports you to a state of bliss.
Open daily from 11.30am to 8.00pm, this is a culinary adventure you wouldn’t want to miss. Savour the best fish and chips in town, and cherish this delicious Scarborough tradition.
Riding the Victorian Tramway: A Historic Experience
You’re in for a treat as your next stop in Scarborough is the historic Victorian tramway, a charming landmark that’s been around since 1881. This delightful contraption sits snugly between St Nicholas Gardens and the Grand Hotel, offering a unique ride that feels like a step back in time.
- The tramway, a testament to Victorian engineering, is an integral part of Scarborough’s history.
- It’s been ferrying visitors up and down the steep cliff of South Bay, providing a break from the arduous climb and adding a dash of fun to the journey.
- The ride itself is quite short but absolutely worth the minimal fee.
- Kids under five even get to ride for free!
- The top station of the tramway offers a splendid view of the sweeping bay.
- It’s the perfect spot for a quick photo before you continue your Scarborough adventure.
Live Music at the Scarborough Spa Complex
Scarborough Spa Complex, with its Grand Hall, theatre, galleries, and cafes, is your next stop for an indulgence in live music. Nestled on the edge of the South Bay, this historic venue breathes an air of nostalgia. As you step inside, you’ll feel the echo of countless performances resonating through the Victorian architecture. You can’t help but be swept up by the grandeur.
From concerts to ballet, there’s always something captivating happening. You’ll lose track of time as you’re immersed in the rich tapestry of sounds. And when the show’s over, you can stroll along the elegant walkway, the waves serenading you in the cool evening air.
It’s not just a night out, it’s an experience that dances with your senses.
Viewing Scarborough From the Observation Wheel
For a breathtaking view of the town and sea, there’s no better spot than atop the 35-metre high observation wheel. As you slowly ascend, the charming seaside town of Scarborough unfolds beneath you. The endless expanse of the North Sea on one side, and the quaint town with its terracotta roofs on the other, make for an unforgettable spectacle.
- Offers a thrilling 10-minute ride.
- Operates only during the summer months.
- Provides an almost silent journey, lettings you soak in the beauty in peace.
As you reach the top, it feels like you’re touching the sky. The panoramic view leaves you awe-struck. It’s not just a ride, it’s an experience that’ll etch Scarborough in your heart forever.
Below you can see some popular questions we’re asked about things to do in Scarborough
Are There Any Hidden Gems or Lesser-Known Attractions in Scarborough Not Mentioned in the Popular Guides?
You’re seeking hidden gems in Scarborough, aren’t you? Try exploring Wykeham Lakes for tranquil fishing, visit the whimsical Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery, or enjoy a peaceful walk through the enchanting Raincliffe Woods.
Are There Any Unique Local Festivals or Events in Scarborough That Visitors Should Be Aware Of?
Yes, you’ll love the Scarborough Seafest, a maritime festival held every July. It features lively sea shanties, delicious seafood, and fascinating maritime displays. Don’t miss the annual Scarborough Fair in September for a true local experience.
What Are Some Unusual or Unique Dining Experiences in Scarborough, Besides Fish and Chips?
You might enjoy dining in a haunted pub, like the Golden Last. Or, try a cooking class at the award-winning Stepney Hill Farm. There’s also the Secret Garden, serving meals in a unique outdoor setting.
Are There Any Unique Shopping Experiences or Local Markets in Scarborough That Are Worth a Visit?
Yes, you’ll find unique shopping experiences in Scarborough! Explore Bar Street for independent boutiques, or hit the Scarborough Market Hall for local produce. Don’t miss the vintage stores and craft shops in Old Town.
Are There Any Uncommon Modes of Transportation in Scarborough That Visitors Can Use to Explore the Town?
Absolutely! You can ride the Victorian tramway for a unique perspective of Scarborough, or take the North Bay Heritage Railway to admire the beautiful Yorkshire coastline. Both offer a delightful way to explore the town.
So, there you have it – an unexpected journey through Scarborough’s hidden gems.
From traversing historic bridges to savouring the town’s best fish and chips, you’ve experienced it all.
You’ve sailed on pirate ships, basked in live music, and taken in breathtaking views from the Observation Wheel.
So, why stick to the usual when the unusual awaits?
Here’s to more offbeat adventures in the charming seaside town of Scarborough!
Accommodation Options While In Scarborough
Below you can see some of the options available to booking while in the area.