"Scarborough remains a big draw during the summer, when stunning beaches and traditional seaside charm provide the perfect setting for a weekend getaway."
As Britain's very first seaside resort, Scarborough remains a big draw during the summer, when stunning beaches and traditional seaside charm provide the perfect setting for a weekend getaway. But where to start?
Start with the seafront
Water, water, everywhere - the Ancient Mariner may well have been talking about Scarborough because it's a recurring feature in the town's best attractions, and a great way to start your day. A Queensferry cruise from the harbour can take you on a short journey to see native seals basking at Casty Rocks - sometimes joined by puffins, herons, and the occasional passing porpoise. Animal lovers won't be disappointed.
And if our inclement British weather dampens the appeal of a boat trip, the Sea Life Centre boasts penguins, turtles, sharks and even intriguing 'sea dragons', all safely under cover.
The simple life
Elsewhere, there's no denying Scarborough's claim to being a traditional seaside escape. So, fresh from your sea-life safari, why not sample the simpler side of life? With crazy golf, beautiful sandy beaches and ice creams aplenty, there's something to be said for doing very little for an hour or two on the seafront. When you've worked up an appetite, head to one of the plethora of cafés along the beach offering a range of tasty options for lunch.
Uncover some cultural gems
Suitably full, it's time to head to the 'cliff lift' - otherwise known as the funicular railway. One of the few still operating in the country, a ride on this is a must on your way from the sandy beach of South Bay to the town centre.
Once at the top, as well as gorgeous views, you'll find some of the town's most historic attractions ripe for exploration. Scarborough Castle is steeped in history, having witnessed everything from Civil War action to First World War bombings. Discover more than 2,500 years of history, visit the Master Gunner's house and enjoy unparalleled views of the Yorkshire coastline from the grounds. Afterwards, if it's not too near closing time, it's also well worth popping to the Rotunda Museum. Originally opened in 1829, this museum of geology houses many intriguing exhibits about the regional landscape history, including dinosaur finds from the Jurassic period. Renovated and reopened in 2008, it's a fascinating place to explore.
If you prefer art to geology, head to the Woodend Art and Craft Gallery on The Crescent, a unique exhibition space where local artists and craftspeople showcase their wares. From ceramics to jewellery and textiles, everything is available to buy.
Drama after dinner
When you've worked up an appetite, there are several options for eating out. Le Chat Noir on Eastborough is one of the town's favourites: a stylish bistro with a mixture of French and British cuisine and a loyal local following.
After an early dinner, head to the Stephen Joseph Theatre, where renowned playwright Alan Ayckbourn produced many of his most famous works when he was artistic director. Still a working theatre, the two performance spaces enjoy a constantly changing repertoire of plays, making it well worth an evening visit.
Queensferry Cruises, queensferrycruises.com
Sea Life Centre, visitsealife.com/Scarborough
Scarborough Castle, english-heritage.org.uk/scarborough
Rotunda Museum, rotundamuseum.co.uk
Le Chat Noir restaurant, lechatnoirrestaurant.co.uk
Stephen Joseph Theatre, sjt.uk.com
Places to stay
Park Manor Hotel
A family-run hotel that promises comfort and care, along with a pool, spa and steam room to relax in.
A proper seaside hotel, overlooking Scarborough's North Bay and the castle, it's just a short stroll from family favourites Peasholm Park and the popular Sea Life Centre.
A boutique hotel in a beautiful Georgian terrace, with lots of original features, Wi-Fi access and a stylish brasserie called Marmalade's.