Something so special about Scarborough – Part 1

Okay, let’s lift the lid on one of our secrets here! At Great Scenic Journeys HQ in Surrey, we talk regularly and whimsically about upping sticks and moving to Scarborough. It’s right up there as one of our very favourite Great Scenic Journeys locations – a fabulous, colourful, atmospheric, quirky seaside town in North Yorkshire, served brilliantly by bus operators, Transdev Blazefield, Go East Yorkshire Buses and Arriva. Here’s the first in our 3-part blog about this fabulous town!

A terrific triangle

One of the many great attractions of Scarborough is that it’s a perfect base for a staycation as well as an action-packed day-out! The Coastliner 843 goes all the way from Leeds and York to Scarborough (for only £2) and a fabulous triangle can be created by then catching the bus to Whitby, followed by crossing the stunning and wild North Yorkshire Moors back to York and Leeds on Coastliner 840. Oh and don’t forget a pleasant trip on the Coaster service to Filey and Bridlington, where the friendliness of drivers was recently rated the best across all 200 journeys within the Great Scenic Journeys collection!

Anticipation gathers on alighting the bus

Scarborough is one of those traditional coastal resorts where you arrive off the bus in the town centre, very slightly inland, but at the top of a cliff and there are palpitations of excitement as you walk through the fascinating town centre and then make a zig-zag walk or cliff railway ride down the cliffs to the deep blue sea below, where amusement arcades, fish and chip shops, donkey rides and funfair thrills and spills await as well as the jewel in the crown, the Beachcomber open top bus that is a fun-a-minute sojourn from South to North Bay that starts running again around Easter time.

Stunning Scarborough at both ends of the bay

Visitors to Scarborough often debate their favourite bay and it’s difficult to decide. Award-winning South Bay Beach is famous for its golden sands and classic seaside atmosphere, with the theatre and grandiouse-looking hotels perched atop the cliffs. North Bay feels more serene as the road juts inwards leaving the bright lights behind, before Peasholm Park and the Sealife Centre awaits. Peasholm Park has a miniauture railway and boating lake and hosts mock naval battles during the summer.

Subterranean Scarborough 

Sealife is a real thrill. Visitors get the chance to check out Penguin Island, home to a colony of adorable Humboldt penguins. It’s great watching them waddle on the shore, swim gracefully, and interact in their specially designed habitat. There’s an opportunity to explore the ethereal world of Jellyfish Kingdom, featuring illuminated displays that showcase the delicate beauty and mesmerizing movements of these fascinating sea creatures. Seahorse Sanctuary, meanwhile, is the place where these intriguing creatures captivate visitors with their unique appearance and graceful movements.

The fascination of Sealife is the chance to learn about conservation efforts to protect seahorses and their habitats, as well as journey into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest Adventure exhibit, where you’ll encounter exotic species like piranhas, poison dart frogs, and curious turtles, creating an immersive experience of a tropical rainforest ecosystem.

Cliff-top county cricket like nowhere else

A cliffside stroll from the seafront or walk up the road from Peasholm Park, leads to North Marine Drive, home of Scarborough Cricket Club and iconic outground for Yorkshire! Set on top of a cliff, it’s one of the most popular cricketing venues on the circuit and crowds throng from all parts of the UK on holiday to watch the game in this captivating setting, surrounded by tall guest houses! You can feel the rich history of this place as soon as you set foot in the ground and look onto the wicket. Perhaps one of the most legendary moments in Scarborough’s history was when Sir Don Bradman, widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket, scored his final first-class century during Australia’s tour of England in 1930. The legendary West Indian batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, showcased his brilliance at Scarborough in 1985 during a County Championship match for Somerset against Yorkshire. Richards scored a breathtaking century in just 36 balls, a record that stood for over three decades. The Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar, marked his first-class debut in English county cricket at Scarborough while playing for Yorkshire. During that stint, he scored his maiden first-class century against Durham, hinting at the greatness that would follow in his illustrious career.

 

Coastal capers

The town itself is charming and juxtaposes big brand stores with independent shops, including a lovely model railway outlet! There are gift shops and ice-cream parlours aplenty, as well as pubs with live music in the evenings and a decent nightclub scene. Scampi and chips on the seafront are the stuff of dreams at one of the many seafood eateries, close to the harbour.

The seafront with its arcades and funfair rides is a feast of fun-filled entertainment. Captain Jack’s Adventure Golf offers a delightful pirate-themed crazy golf experience suitable for the entire family. This attraction is a hit with children, who find the pirate elements of the game especially entertaining. Meanwhile, the Terror Tower Haunted House is a ‘must’ for those who crave spooks, ghosts and ghoulies, so too, the fabulous ferris wheel! Meanwhile, history comes alive at the Rotunda Museum, showcasing geological and archaeological treasures, whilst culture and entertainment is rife at the historic Stephen Joseph Theatre.

South Bay’s spectacular Spa

Overlooking the South Bay, the Spa Theatre is an architectural gem that dates back to the Victorian era. With a seating capacity of around 600, the theatre hosts a variety of performances, including drama, comedy, musicals, and live music. Its location offers stunning views of the bay, providing an unforgettable and picturesque backdrop for cultural events. A unique feature of the Spa Complex is the Scarborough Spa Orchestra, one of the last remaining professional seaside orchestras in the UK. Established in 1912, the orchestra performs daily during the summer season, creating a nostalgic atmosphere with its repertoire of light music, classical pieces, and popular tunes.

Plays, poets, presenters and punching

Scarborough, with its rich history and cultural significance, has been associated with several notable individuals who have lived, been born, or had connections to the town. One prominent figure is Sir Alan Ayckbourn, a highly regarded playwright and director. Born in London, Ayckbourn made Scarborough his home and served as the Artistic Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre for many years, contributing significantly to the town’s cultural scene. Dame Edith Sitwell, a distinguished poet and critic, spent her early years in Scarborough. Known for her avant-garde poetry and literary contributions, Sitwell is remembered as one of the leading literary figures of the early 20th century. The renowned actress and television presenter, Angela Griffin, also has ties to Scarborough. Born in Leeds, Griffin spent part of her childhood in Scarborough and later gained fame for her roles in popular TV shows such as “Coronation Street” and “Holby City.” In the world of sports, boxer Paul Ingle, a former IBF featherweight champion, was born in Scarborough.

Watch this space for Part 2 as we showcase more of sumptuous Scarborough later this week, including the captivating Castle, but meantime, start planning your trip, by checking out these awesome routes…

Coastliner 840 Leeds – York – Whitby – Great Scenic Journeys

Coaster Bridlington – Scarborough – Great Scenic Journeys