Scarborough is one of Yorkshire’s most popular seaside towns, that truly has something for everyone and there are a range of great hotels in Scarborough to choose from.
For a lot of people, visiting Scarborough is like taking a trip down memory lane. Lots of childhood holidays were spent building sandcastles and taking donkey rides, followed by fish & chips on the seafront.
Despite being a seaside town, there is still much more to Scarborough than penny arcades and lemon tops.
Scarborough is located on the 109 mile long Cleveland Way walking trail, which starts in Helmsley and ends in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, passing through ever changing landscape as you go. The trail itself is suitable for almost everyone, regardless of ability. Wheelchair access may be a struggle, but there are certain parts of the trail you should be ok with.
If walking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of family activities to do in the town, from Alpamare outdoor swimming pool to spending a peaceful afternoon in Peasholm Park, taking a boat ride around the lake or taking in the oriental gardens.
If you’re looking to stay overnight in Scarborough, discover our Top 5 Hotels to stay in Scarborough.
5. Crown Spa Hotel – Best for: Relaxation, from £96pn
Just a 10 minute walk from the railway station, The Crown Spa Hotel features a luxury leisure centre, European restaurant, spa treatment and modern fitness centre. The rooms are all comfortable and spacious, so you should feel at home at the Crown Spa Hotel.
As the name suggests, there is a spa that offers a wide range of treatments allowing you to indulge and be rejuvenated.
4. Britannia Grand Hotel – Best for: Budget, from £29pn
If you’re looking for something in the heart of the town, the Grand Hotel offers just that. With spectacular panoramic views available, you can overlook Scarborough’s popular South Bay and take a walk down the sandy beach first thing on a morning. You are also only a stone’s throw away from the town centre and the seafront.
3. Harcourt Place – Best for: Home luxuries, from £140pn
If you’re looking for a home-away-from-home setup, then Harcourt Place is the perfect option. Conveniently located near South Bay, you can access the beach and town within 5 minutes.
Each room has its own sitting and dining area, including all necessary amenities such as microwave and kettle, so you are not tied to certain meal times.
2. Britannia The Royal Hotel – Best for: Views, from £113pn
Overlooking South Bay, the Royal Hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of the town centre and the seafront shops.
The Royal Hotel dates back to the 1830s, and its grand imposing architecture, including The Royal’s famous staircase and atrium, still bear all the hallmarks of the Regency Period
1. The Clifton Hotel – Best for: Budget and comfort, from £165pp
The Clifton Hotel is located in the North Bay area, providing excellent views out to sea.
The Clifton Hotel is perfect for families, with a host of activities and places to visit all year round, including Peasholm Park, offering pedal boats, shows, the famous Naval Warfare and Scarborough Sea Life Centre, where guests can go beneath the sea without even getting wet, and come face to face with everything from shrimps to sharks.
More about Scarborough, UK
Scarborough really is the ‘Queen of Seaside Resorts’. It’s the place which has got the lot. Not just one but two wide sandy bays – perfect for swimming. Then there’s the harbour with fishing boats and pleasure boats bobbing about on the waves. And, of course, inevitably, I suppose, there are also rows of amusement arcades. But there’s more to Scarborough than all this; it’s also a place stuffed with historical interest.
The 12th century castle over there on the headland, makes that point. The great headland which overlooks both north and south bays at Scarborough has probably been a fortified location since the Iron Age. Certainly, the Romans had a signal station here. And in 1154 when King Henry II came to the throne he was the one who ordered that the castle should be built. Well, it last saw action during the First World War when it was shelled by the Germans, but all this isn’t down to them – it’s been a ruin since 1645.
1645 wasn’t a great year for St Mary’s church either: it was the height of the English Civil War. In the fighting the choir aisle was destroyed and the central tower collapsed. It means that the church we see today is much reduced in size.
Incidentally, perhaps one should also say that at various times Scarborough has also been home to three Orders of monks.
The White Friars, the Black Friars and the Grey Friars. But none of them survived King Henry VIII and the dissolution of their monasteries. So, the administrative and spiritual centre of the town is up there on the hillside. But down here in this area, has always been about commerce. By commerce, of course, I mean, fishing. And, if you look over there, well the great harbour walls were built to protect the Scarborough fishing fleet from North Sea storms. Now the industry is still going strong today, even though it is under incredible financial pressure.
But before Sandside was built – now that’s the road which follows the beach round; they actually used to build the fishing boats down here as well – 169 in 1797 alone.
Well you can’t get spa water anymore here in Scarborough. And, indeed, the Spa complex itself has had a chequered history. In its time it’s been washed away by the sea; it collapsed in a landslide; and, in 1876, it was burned down. But now this Spa has been lovingly restored and may visitors choose to come here in the morning to read the paper, have a cup of coffee, and listen to the Spa orchestra.
By the mid 1900s Scarborough really was the place to be seen. It was a fashionable resort attracting visitors from all over the country. And it was about that time that streets, here on the Esplanade, were laid out in a grid which centred on the Crown Hotel over there.
In 1827, this bridge was built to link the Esplanade with the rest of the town. It meant that visitors no longer had to scramble down the ravine and up the other side, when they wanted to get into the centre of Scarborough.
One of the other places they might have been going, of course, was the Rotunda, over here.
The Rotunda was built in 1829 to house the geological samples and collections of William Smith.
This building? Well, that is the Grand Hotel. It was completed in 1867 and it has 365 rooms, and it stretches over 13 floors. Now it was built to accommodate the visitors who flocked in once the railway link from York was completed in 1845. Indeed, on the day the first train arrived, the 1st July 1845, 1,000 visitors arrived in Scarborough. It was half the number who had been here the whole season in the previous year.
Truly, the age of mass tourism had arrived. As the number of visitors to Scarborough grew, so did the attractions designed to keep them amused. Perhaps even more important, to persuade them to keep coming back. So, in 1912, Peasholm Park was laid out. It includes this beautiful lake. Now on occasions here, grown men will squeeze themselves into model warships to fight the mother and father of all battles!
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the road to Peasholm Park, there’s the largest open air theatre in Europe, with seating for over 10,000 people. Recent artists to perform there include Little Mix and Britney Spears.
And, of course, Scarborough’s fame has been spread even further, thanks to the Simon & Garfunkel song ‘Scarborough Fair’. Now the song, or rather the poem, on which it is based, contains the words ‘Between salt water and the sea strand’. So, why don’t we now go up the strand – or the beach – just a bit to one of the smallest places on the Yorkshire coast, the village of Staithes which nestles right on the Yorkshire/Cleveland border.