Car-free adventures aroundScarboroughYorkshire
Are you going to Scarborough Fair? (Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme), runs the old song made famous by Simon and Garfunkel. In medieval times, Scarborough’s late-summer fair was an un-missable event for merchants from as far afield as Denmark, Latvia and Turkey. People are more likely to head there today for ice cream and donkey rides than to barter corn and cambric. With a good network of trains and buses, not to mention ferries and tramways, getting around Scarborough without a car is not just possible – it’s fun! And it's ideal territory for a staycation. Scroll to the end for suggestions about buses, bikes, hikes and places to stay.
1. Catch the train into town
Trains from York and further afield arrive in Scarborough every hour. The journey takes about 50 minutes and costs £17.50 for an off-peak day return (leaving York at or after 9.40am). Advance tickets are cheaper.
- Look out of the window as the railway runs alongside the flowery River Derwent, passing a lovely three-arched bridge near ruined Kirkham Priory and an elegant suspension bridge near Low Hutton, shortly before Malton.
- The train then passes the wooded hills of the Yorkshire Wolds before heading north, past a boating lake and a monument-topped hill called Oliver’s Mount.
- You can also arrive by bus from Whitby (see 3 below) or from Leeds and York on the fabulous Coastliner bus. We’ve got lots of suggestions for things to do along this route in our guide.
- Visitors from Hull can ride the Yorkshire Wolds Coast Line, a community rail partnership with old-fashioned stations and pretty villages along the route.
2. Ride the tramway down the cliffs
Castle-topped Scarborough is just made for strolling: wrought-iron bridges link gardens, full of winding wooded pathways, and promenades overlooking the sparkling sea.
- Right next to the railway station is the art deco theatre, where Alan Ayckbourn’s work still premieres.
- At the top of the cliffs, five minutes from the station, you can pick out local landmarks from Atkinson Grimshaw’s misty, gas-lit seascapes in the art gallery (£3 for an annual season ticket, 10am to 5pm Tuesday-Sunday).
- Hop on the nearby tramway (£1) down to the donkey-trampled beach – the views on the way are great and this feat of Victorian engineering is a unique way to travel.
- Buy fresh-off-the-boat crab sarnies from one of the kiosks, stroll along the beach, and climb up to the castle for views of town, sea and countryside.
- Don’t miss Anne Bronte’s grave outside St Mary’s church, just under the castle walls, where the friendly congregation often serve tea and cakes for visitors.
- Scarborough’s colourful market is ten minute’s stroll back into town (walk away from the castle and turn left into Auborough Street). It’s open Monday to Saturday in a traditional vaulted market hall.