Visting Scarborough as part of a press trip; all opinions are our own.
Scarborough is located on the North Yorkshire coast. It’s just along from Whitby, which is famous for its Scampi. Scarborough is known for its castle. BUT what else is there for kids to do in Scarborough, around the North Bay area and beyond? We were actually pleasantly surprised at the amount of things to do in Scarborough with kids.
1. Ride the North Bay Railway
North Bay Railway is a lovely little track that travels from Peasholm Park to the Old Scalby Mills, near the Sealife Centre along the coast, past the fantastic Open Air Theatre in Scarborough – which is also well worth a trip.
Great views (as long as the weather is nice!), and really friendly staff; but it isn’t al about the railway either. There are Water Balls, a Water Chute, and a sky trail to try too. In addition, do check out the special trains throughout the year, including the Santa Special, and the Halloween Scream as well!
2. Feed the squirrels and ducks in Peasholm Tree Trail
Peasholm Park is an oriental themed park within Scarborough which was opened in 1912, and has been delighting tourists and residence of the town ever since.
The Tree Trail is a walk up through the trees and the ravine within the park, and it is perfect for the kids to get up close and personal with the ducks (on the way), and the squirrels (within the woods).
There is a really pleasant cafe on the edge of the lake and you can buy duck and squirrel food here. Then it’s just a matter of finding the wildlife, and watching your kids have a lot of fun. Food is about £1.50; and its well worth the money for the smiles on their faces.
The squirrels are tame enough to come and take the nuts from their hands too – if they dare! 😲
3. Watch the waves hit the wall at North Bay
Take a stroll along the beach – and then wander up to the sea wall a little bit along the headland and take a spot to watch the waves as they come in.
The sea wall on North Bay at high tide is often battered by the waves.
As you can see by the signs at the wall (!) – you do need to be careful here as the waves will breach the wall, and come over the fence.
Keep a safe distance and watch – but mind the cars in the road, and don’t get too close?!?
4. Spot the seals, otters, turtles and penguins at the Sealife Centre
The Scarborough costs £19 for adults, and £17.50 for children (as at October 2019). It is well worth a visit, but we do advise you to either book in advance online for reduced tickets, OR to keep an eye out for two for one Merlin offers. Though the centre is a great place to visit, and takes a couple of hours to do properly, paying full price isn’t necessary, and if you do, it does feel rather over-priced for a family of four at over £70 in total.
It would be a good addition to offer a family ticket here in fact…
Having said this – the visit itself is excellent, with activities for the younger kids; including a “hunting trail”. While we were there – kids were encouraged to look for the ingredients for a sea witch potion.
There are also regular feeding and educational talks, including feeding for the turtles, and penguins, a seal show, and a rock pool where the kids could touch an anemone.
The jellyfish and sea horses were a highlight for our children; but there are so many different displays, all with an educational theme, that there is something for everyone there – even gorgeous otters….
5. Find out about the Jurassic Coast in the Rotunda Museum
The Rotunda museum is located in a fantastic round house on the coast just inside the town of Scarborough.
The museum has three floors consisting of a shop, then a floor for the kids with some fabulous dressing up, and an activity table, and finally a set of displays including all of the fossils, and amazing fans from the East Yorkshire coast. This includes Gristhorpe Man, the skeleton and coffin of a Bronze Age man. This is the best example of a tree burial in Britain.
The floor for the kids is perfect for younger children – but perhaps a little too young for those over 10. Though the boy did find the colouring interesting….
And the husband met a rather funny friend in the dressing up section – a rather fabulous dinosaur puppet! 🤣
Don’t forget to look up when you are climbing the stairs either. Just stunning.
6. Ride the Central Tramway
This is operated by Central Tramway, the oldest surviving tram company on the UK. It was opening in 1881, and is open for 9 months of the year.
It is just the most quaint, and historic location within the city; in a particularly picturesque part of the town; well worth a visit almost for its location just by the historic town hall.
It connects Foreshore Road and Marine Parade, and the three months it is shut enable the company to keep it going.
It IS most peculiar watching the tram go up and down such a steep part of the cliff face too.
7. Explore a spot of history at Scarborough Castle
Scarborough Castle is a ruin maintained by English Heritage of the headland within the Albert Park in Scarborough.
The park and the headland the castle are located on are rather spectacular, offering a wonderful view back onto North Bay.
The castle itself is steeped in over 3,000 years of history, as it was first an Iron Age settlement, then a Roman signal station and medieval chapel.
It’s heydey was on the time of Henry II and King John. It played a part in the Civil War, as well as the First World War when it was bombarded by German forces.
8. Splash about at the water park in Alpamere
Our children LOVED this Water Park, and were keen to return. With four slides, two outdoor pools, a splash park/play area, and a wave pool, as well as a Spa – this place really does keep most of the family well and truly happy.
It is a little more expensive than some of the other attractions. But if you time your visit right to avoid the queues; it could well be worth it.
9. Colour your life with the beach huts
These beach chalets / huts are actually available to rent along the front of North Bay, but if you don’t have the money to rent (starting at £45/day), then why not pop along to take a look at their wonderful bright colours.
There is a lovely walk in front of them to the headland along the front, and round the cliffs too if you have the time, and the weather is good enough.
There are some lovely walks around the cliffs at Scarborough. So do take them in after the beach huts if you have the time with the kids. Depending on the length of their legs, you should be able to find something that suits.
10. Walk across the Spa Bridge and see the views
The town of Scarborough is a hidden gem, with some gorgeous architecture if you spend a little time looking for it, and wondering around its streets. From fabulous benches, with important memories and stories associated with them….
To some simple stunning buildings and views…
One location not to be missed with the children, and easy to take in after the Rotunda museum, is the stunning Spa Bridge over the road leading to the beach, and with views out to the water. The bridge is Victorian, and was built in 1826; formally opened by contractors in 1827.
You might even be able to get the kids to stop and look out to the harbour for a moment too. Take your time to look. And perhaps add the harbour to your list of spots to pop and see if you have time to fit in a sixteenth location!
If you have the time, do check out the Scarborough Heritage Trail as well.
11. Climb the Sky Trail
This is part of the North Bay Railway – and for all those little monkeys, it is the perfect place for them to expend a little energy; in good and bad weather.
It does take a thunderstorm to close the trail, so you could even go during the rain. As long as your kids don’t get too cold!
Costs are £7 per person. It’s a two level rope bridge and beam course for 5 years+ and 1m tall at least. Those under 1.2m need to be accompanied by an adult.
12. Have fish n’ chips on the front
As the guest book in The Sands Apartments said:
“You are in Scarborough. You have to have Fish n’ Chips. It would be rude not to.”
There are so many wonderful locations for you to enjoy the traditional, and every popular British dish.
However, we found that the Taylor’s Bar and Kitchen, with its wonderful aspect onto the Scarborough front, and its friendly staff, fluffy chunky chips. and crispy fries, was as good a place as any to enjoy the traditional British fare.
It’s downstairs in The Sands. Which is a bit of a bonus if you are staying there as well!
If you are looking for something for pudding and you don’t fancy anything on their menu, you could do a lot worse, that pop over the road to Peaches n’ Cream coffee and ice cream parlour too.
The flavours of ice cream include Lemon Curd, Rocky Road, Rhubarb, and Bubblegum alongside all the traditional flavours. They also have a full menu of Ice Cream sundae creations too.
13. Take in the historical Scarbrough Fair Collection
Graham Atkinson bought his first Steam Train in the 1980s. This was the start of the amazing collection of trains, fairground rides, and mechanical organs that are housed within the Scarborough Fair Collection.
This is an incredibly colourful day out for the kids, and with tickets at only £22 for a family ticket, it shouldn’t break the bank either.
Some of the vintage fairground rides have been restored too, and you can buy a book of tickets for the kids for £1 a ride.
14. Cycle The Cinder Track
This is part of the old railway line, opened in 1885, from Scarborough to Whitby. It was closed in 1965, and The Cinder Track cycle route is just over 21 miles, and is part of the National Cycle Network.
It is a well maintained route, perfect for horses, bikes, and even walkers too. Though you wouldn’t want to do it if its too windy, or the rain has set in.
If you have a chance, and its still open, why not pop into the Cloughton Station Tea Rooms while you are out and about too.
15. Boat on the lake at Peasholm Park
The lake is a key part of Peasholm Park, alongside the Pagoda on the island in the middle of the lake.
There are lots of different ways of enjoying the lake with the kids including:
- 3 – 5 seater dragon pedaloes (for comfort best for kids age five plus),
- Rowing boats,
- Canadian style canoes, and
- Swan Launch motor boat, which runs every 15 mins from the bridge jetty.
The park is a beautiful place to relax, and explore with the kids, and a great way to see it is by boat. Get someone else to do the work on a motor boat, or take the pedaloes or a rowing boat out with the kids.
Don’t forget to say hello to the Swans here too.
We think that there is PLENTY to do with the family in Scarborough, and if you need more ideas, why not take a look at some of the other options on the region.
So for more information and advice when looking into your trip to the Yorkshire Coast, please call the friendly and dedicated team at the Tourism Bureau on 01723 383636. To find out anything else about the Yorkshire Coast please take your time to visit www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com as well.
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Catch you later!