Everything I did on my 5-day holiday in Scarborough..
After a busy few months of work and general life, my partner and I needed a holiday away from the city.
As we both work within the city and live just on the outskirts, we prefer to holiday in quieter places where nature is more prevalent.
I love to be by the sea and my partner loves to go birdwatching, so we decided that Scarborough would be a good place for both of us as we were only a short train ride away from Bempton Cliffs, a well-known RSPB nature reserve.
As we were also going to celebrate our anniversary and both of our birthdays, we visited Scarborough at the end of November, meaning the days were short and we didn’t have a lot of time to play with each day.
Scarborough is definitely more well-known for being a destination you would visit during the summer (which we are already planning on doing in 2020), so you will definitely be able to fit in a lot more each day than we were able to if you choose to visit during summer.
Scarborough is a resort town situated in North Yorkshire and sits along the east coast.
With a population of 61,000 people, Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast and has been a popular destination for hundreds of years.
Scarborough is 113 miles from Manchester and 240 miles from London.
TRAVELLING TO SCARBOROUGH
To get to Scarborough we took a train from Manchester Piccadilly station to Huddersfield and then switched there to a train to Scarborough.
We learned on the way home that we could get a train from Manchester Victoria straight to Scarborough, no changes.
Overall the journey took just over a couple of hours, so I would definitely recommend bringing a book, handheld gaming console or something to watch Netflix on!
GRAND HOTEL SCARBOROUGH
We decided to stay at what was once the biggest hotel in Europe, The Grand Hotel Scarborough.
The price was reasonable and the location was perfect, however, if you are planning on staying for more than a night or two I can’t really recommend it as the beds were incredibly uncomfortable and really halted my sleep.
There’s two restaurants inside and a little bar, which also sells food.
Each restaurant offers a three course meal, however, one goes for £12 per head and is self-serve with both food and drink, and the other is £15 per head and is self-serve with food but you do get drinks delivered to your table.
They both have the same menu except the pricier option has one extra dish.
There’s entertainment on each night, from bingo to films, but please be aware that this is heavily catered to older people, so you may want to find your entertainment elsewhere.
The overall vibe in the hotel was nice, it was brimming with personality and there seems to be something going on at all times.
Again, I’d recommend it for 1-2 nights for the location, price and overall vibe, but if you are thinking of staying longer perhaps consider the Travel Lodge across the road.
As we didn’t really have a plan for the first day we decided to take a walk along the beachfront and head towards the harbour.
After dipping in and out of a few arcades we finally found ourselves at our destination.
We got really lucky with the weather and the drizzle gave way to some beautiful sunshine.
As we made our way along the harbour we found ourselves at the lighthouse, a picturesque part of Scarborough where you could easily spend a few hours just gazing out at the water.
It was here that I got some of my favourite shots of the whole holiday, including this one of a lady gazing out at the sea, but with the lighting behind her it looks like she’s a ghost.
I didn’t get any photos but we decided to have tea (the Northern English term for an evening meal) at the Pizza Express by the harbour.
After this we took a different route back to the hotel and found ourselves passing a taxidermy shop with a questionable figure in the back.
I only bring this up as it became something we spoke about during the whole holiday, was it a human being moving in the back of the closed taxidermy shop or was it a figure?
It both spooked us and entertained us regardless.
For breakfast we decided to go to a little cafe very close to the hotel, Espresso Yourself.
Overall it was a lovely little cafe with a great community vibe, fairly priced food and a lovely drinks selection.
Now if like me you’re quite unfit, you’re going to find the walk up to the castle very exhausting.
I’m sure there’s probably an easier route, but the route we took, which started at the harbour, was uphill the whole way.
However, once you’re up at the top you will be greeted with some incredible views of Scarborough, both the north and south side, along with the north sea.
To enter the castle ground cost us about £7 each, but this money goes to the upkeep of the castle and it’s grounds.
There’s a ton of history that is really worth looking into, which can also be discovered at the castle via an audiobook, but even without any knowledge of the castle you’ll still be in for a treat with the wonderful sights you’ll see.
ST MARY’S CHURCH
Now, I’m not a religious person, however, when my Nana passed away I made it my mission to light a candle for her in every church/cathedral I find wherever I travel.
This has allowed me to discover some absolutely beautiful places and I’ve met some lovely people along the way.
St Mary’s Church is just down the road from Scarborough Castle and is itself filled with lots of history, including being largely destroyed during the siege of Scarborough Castle in the English Civil War.
Nestled within the graveyard is the grave of Anne Bronte, an English novelist and poet from the 1800’s.
LOOKOUT ON THE PIER
After our walk down from the castle to St Mary’s Church, we then made our way back to the harbour for a spot of lunch.
We found ourselves at a little cafe overlooking the harbour, called Lookout on the Pier.
It was very busy and there was a great selection of dishes for vegetarians and vegans.
As the country’s first purpose-built museum, this beautiful grade II listed building was made in 1829 and is now home to a wonderful collection of Jurassic geology found along the Yorkshire’s coast.
From the gorgeous Georgian gallery to the wonderfully designed architecture by English geologist William ‘Strata’ Smith, you’ll be in awe at everything the Rotunda Museum has to offer.
The museum has a lift to all floors and is fully wheelchair accessible.
SCARBOROUGH ART GALLERY
Beginning in 1947, Scarborough Art Gallery has grown to have it’s own permanent fine art collection, obtained via gifts, purchases and bequests.
Alongside its permanent collection, the gallery also had two other exhibitions on, Kathy Prendergast’s ‘Strata’ and Kane Cunninghm’s ‘Northern Landscapes Part 1’.
Both exhibits opened in November, not long before we arrived, and sadly end in January.
Bempton Cliffs is a RSPB nature reserve just a short train ride away from Scarborough in Bempton, Bridlington.
It is one of the UK’s top wildlife spectacles, home to around half a million birds just between March and October.
It is here that you can see a huge array of bird species, including puffins, barn owls and guillemots.
Alongside birds you can also find porpoise and humpback whales during the summer months.
As me and my partner don’t drive, we made our way to Bempton Cliffs by getting a train to Bempton from Scarborough and then walking 30-40 minutes through Bempton Village towards the nature reserve.
Walking back from the nature reserve to the train station was a beautiful experience.
As we visited in November it meant that sunset arrived during our walk back, gracing us with a gorgeous golden glow.
I managed to get a few photographs of the quiet and peaceful village along the way.
In the village there is a little pub if you need a pit-stop before your train, however, I believe it opens at 5pm and doesn’t serve food on Mondays.
For tea we visited a lovely little Thai restaurant just around the corner from the hotel.
The food was tasty and filling and the service was amazing.
It really felt homely, from the food to the decor.
I’ll definitely visit again when I’m next in Scarborough.
NATIVE HEALTH DELI
We started our day at a lovely little cafe just around the corner from the hotel, Native Health Deli.
I have a full blog post about my experience here, but overall it was a beautiful place with extremely tasty food and I really wish I could’ve brought it back home to Manchester with me!
We actually discovered Steampuss on our first day in Scarborough, making our way from the train station to the hotel.
I instantly fell in love with the array of cats in the window and just knew that I would have to visit here during our trip.
We booked in online and made our way to have a hot drink surrounded by some lovely cats.
Overall it was such a magical experience and I even got to hold a cat for the first time in my life!
The lovely couple running Steampuss are so kind and welcoming and really make the time to get to know you.
More importantly, you can see how much the cats are loved and how happy they are.
During our walk towards the North Bay Promenade we detoured slightly into Peasholm Park, an oriental themed town park not far from the beach.
Originally opening in 1912, Peasholm Park became a favourite venue for displays and exhibitions, later extending to also include a boating lake, putting green and champion tree walk.
It’s a lovely little walk and I highly recommend visiting it as there was a wide selection of birds and rare trees to be seen.
NORTH BAY PROMENADE
This was by far my favourite experience of the trip.
One of my favourite things is to be by the sea, and my favourite weather is when it is cold but sunny, luckily I was blessed with this.
Walking along the promenade we found some lovely rainbow chalets looking out at the sea.
The beach was filled with families, couples and groups of dogs, all enjoying a beautiful day at the beach.
A group of surfers were also at the beach, enjoying the waves that the wind was bringing in.
Further up the promenade was Scarborough’s Sea Life centre, and at the south side you can get a great view of Scarborough Castle.
After this we took a beautiful walk along the boardwalk back towards the harbour for a spot of lunch.
I didn’t get any photos, but it was a great chip shop that’s super modern and welcoming, a great selection of food and at a reasonable price.
We made our way back to the hotel and enjoyed spending some time in the bar there and had a little bite to eat for tea.
I opted for cheese and broccoli pasta and my partner grabbed a sandwich, we were far too tired to sit down and have a full meal!
There’s a real community vibe in there and it’s nice to just sit around other groups of people who are enjoying themselves, playing cards and chatting away.
Before our trip to Bridlington I really wanted to visit this little coffee shop hidden within Scarborough’s Woodend Creative Space.
The walk up to it is absolutely beautiful, taking you through The Crescent, an elegant area in the centre of Scarborough where the rich would stay.
Yay Coffee! is super cosy, warm and welcoming with a great selection of teas and coffees, alongside some lovingly homemade cakes.
After the 30 minute train ride from Scarborough to Bridlington we were definitely ready for breakfast.
A short walk from Bridlington train station you will find White’s Bakehouse, a great vegetarian and vegan cafe which overlooks Bridlington Priory.
Overall it was extremely beautiful inside with a vast selection of food (which you can also get to take away).
I could easily have spent many hours in here.
Bridlington Harbour is a short walk away from the town centre and is very close to Bridlington Spa.
It was lovely to walk around and look at all of the birds nestled around the boats, albeit very cold as it was a windy day in November!
NORTH MAN COFFEE
After purchasing the latest edition of the Independent Coffee Guide for the north, midlands and north Wales, I immediately knew that I had to visit North Man Coffee.
Situated in the town centre, North Man Coffee offers a great selection of vegetarian and vegan food alongside lovingly made coffee.
I highly recommend visiting if you’re after a tasty cup of coffee!
We took a walk to the beach to see what birds we could find.
Bridlington isn’t as big as Scarborough, but it’s still lovely to walk around.
Sadly as it was late November it became far too cold and windy for us to walk around in, so we cut our journey a bit short and headed back towards the train station.
We didn’t really eat anything for tea as the cold and wind had really exhausted us and we just wanted to go to sleep.
After checking out of the hotel we decided to visit another lovely coffee shop just around the corner, Greensmith.
The decor was so beautiful and I loved the mixture of nature and neon lights.
It was also here that I had the best coffee of the whole trip, it was super tasty and I wish I could’ve stayed for another.
Travelling home we opted to get the train from Scarborough to Manchester Victoria, no changes or messing around.
We were blessed with a fantastic conductor named Chris, he really made the whole journey humorous and just an overall delight.
I couldn’t believe how fast the whole journey flew by and I was really quite sad to be leaving, but without a doubt we will be back in the summer to experience it in a whole new way.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.
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