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The Top Family-Friendly Activities in Scarborough

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Scarborough offers an authentic British seaside town experience, just perfect for families. This blog post will share the top family-friendly activities in Scarborough that will make your visit one you’ll never forget.

Scarborough will always be a special place for us. We have visited since childhood, and visiting as adults with our children takes us back to that time. It’s full of traditional seaside fun where kids spend their money in the arcades, run along the beach, eat ice cream and enjoy family-friendly entertainment. We have compiled this list of the top family-friendly activities in Scarborough to plan your next family holiday.

Play in Peasholm Park

Peasholm Park in Scarborough.

Peasholm Park is just 5 minutes away from Scarborough Seafront. However, it’s a complete change of scenery. This public park has been a popular tourist destination since it opened in 1912.

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Covering an area of around 14 acres, it is situated in the North Bay area of Scarborough and boasts a tranquil atmosphere with its beautiful lake, gardens, and winding paths. The park has an oriental theme, featuring a pagoda and a large cascade waterfall as its centrepiece.

Peasholm Park is open year-round and is free to enter. It’s excellent for families with children as there is so much to do in the park. There are boat rides, mini golf, tree and nature trails and an island to explore. It has been consistently ranked among the best parks in the UK and Europe, currently holding the 6th position in the UK’s best parks list. Learn more about Peasholm Park and how to visit here.

Location: North Bay, Scarborough YO12 7TR

Have an entire beach day

Scarborough Beach.

Scarborough is home to some fantastic beaches that offer all the facilities for a fun-filled day in the sand. The waves in Scarborough are perfect for surfing and boarding, but the sea can get chilly, so bringing your wetsuits is a good idea!

Our favourite beach for a day with the kids is Scarborough Beach. Its sandy beach and excellent facilities are perfect for building sandcastles, playing in the sand, and trying water sports like paddleboarding and surfing. Plenty of amenities, cafes, restaurants, and shops are also nearby, making spending an entire day here easy. Click here for more information about all of Scarborough’s beaches.

Location: Scarborough YO11 2QE

Get hands-on at Sea Life Scarbourgh

Sea Life Scarborough.

You should visit Sea Life Scarborough if you love marine life or have a family and young children. This is a hands-on place for an educational and entertaining day. We highly recommend visiting.

The aquarium houses over 2500 creatures, including a playful colony of Humboldt penguins on Penguin Island. Another highlight of Sea Life Scarborough is the Tropical Ocean Tunnel, where you can walk through a 200,000l ocean tunnel and witness Blacktip Reef Sharks up close. There’s also a Rainforest Adventure exhibit where you can experience a world full of creepy crawlies, curious critters, and lurking lizards. You can get up close with Green Tree Pythons and be awed by Poison Arrow Dart Frogs.

We loved the Seal Hospital, where you can witness the incredible journey of injured seals rescued from local coastal waters, rehabilitated, and eventually released back into the wild. The aquarium takes great pride in providing these seals with a safe and nurturing environment. By visiting the Seal Hospital, you’re supporting the incredible work that Sea Life Scarborough does. Read our full review of our visit to Sea Life Scarborough here.

Location: Scalby Mills Rd, Scarborough YO12 6RP

Walk part of the Cleveland Way

Walking the Cleveland Way.

Our little one loves ‘walking adventures’ or amazing views, especially the clifftop views along the Cleveland Way overlooking the North Sea coastline. The Cleveland Way is a 109-mile hiking trail that crosses the Yorkshire coast and moors. The trail starts from Helmsley and ends in Filey, but you can choose to walk as much or as little as you like since the trail passes directly through Scarborough. Learn more about the Cleveland Way here.

Location: Scarborough YO13 0DA

Step back in time at Scarborough Castle

Scarborough Castle.

Scarborough Castle is a fantastic destination for families looking for a fun and educational day out. Located between North and South Bay, this 12th-century castle offers visitors impressive town views and a chance to travel back to the medieval era. Despite surviving five sieges, the castle was left in ruins during the English Civil War, but it continues to attract visitors daily.

The castle offers events and ghost evening tours on specific dates for those looking for excitement. These tours allow you to hear tales of ghosts and learn more about the gruesome history of the castle and the town, making it an excellent opportunity for families with older children to have fun while learning about the area’s history.

Location: Castle Rd, Scarborough YO11 1HY

Spend pocket money at the arcades

Scarborough Arcades.

If you’re ever in Scarborough on a rainy day, there’s no need to worry about being stuck indoors. There are plenty of fun things to do, including visiting one of the many great arcades in town. 

Olympia Leisure is a fantastic option for the whole family to enjoy. On the ground floor, you’ll find various arcade games, including penny pushers, slot machines, video games, and children’s rides. Upstairs, the teens (and adults!) will love the 12-lane bowling alley and go-kart track.

Location: Foreshore Rd, Scarborough YO11 1NU

Try crabbing in the Harbour

Harbour Crab.

It doesn’t matter how many things there are to do; a firm winner will always be crabbing for our kid. He loves it and will spend hours taking part. You can pick up nets, bait and crab lines from many shops that line Scarborough Harbour.

There’s no need for any hooks. Put some bait in a net on a line and submerge it into the water. The crab enters the net, which you can raise out of the sea to observe your catch. Once you’re done, return the crab carefully back into the water. Our guide to crabbing in Whitby might be helpful for this!

Location: W Pier, Scarborough YO11 1PD

Take a walk around the South Cliff / Italian Gardens

Kid Smelling Flowers.

The Spa Gardens, Prince of Wales Gardens, Rose Garden, Holbeck Gardens, Shuttleworth Gardens, and Italian Gardens are all part of the South Cliff Gardens.

This stunning park runs along the coast from Scarborough Spa to Holbeck Hill and boasts beautiful gardens, sculptures, and breathtaking sea views. There’s plenty of wildlife to explore and lots to enjoy here. 

The gardens were designed by the talented landscape designer Harry W Smith in the early 20th century and remain a testament to his vision. You can take delightful walks through the picturesque gardens and woodland.

The South Cliff Gardens also have several attractions, including a cliff lift, terraced walks, a putting green, a star map, and even beach chalets. Learn more about Scarborough Parks and Gardens here.

Location: 47-49 Esplanade, Scarborough YO11 2UZ

Ride Scarborough’s Funicular Tramway

The Central Tramway Company, Scarborough.

The Central Tramway Company is a Victorian cliff railway that has transported visitors up and down the cliff since the late 1800s. The tramway is situated in the South Bay area of Scarborough, between the Grand Hotel and St Nicholas Gardens. Children aged five and under can travel on the tramway for free, and registered carers can also travel for free when accompanied by their carer ID. The service runs on-demand and frequently throughout the day. You can find further information here.

Location: Upper Station, 1 Marine Parade, 2 St Nicholas Cliff, Scarborough YO11 2ER

Eat fish and chips…obviously!!

Fish And Chips On Beach.

If you’re in Scarborough and looking for tasty fish and chips, you can’t go wrong with the Lifeboat Fishbar. This cosy cafe is just a few metres from the waterfront, next to the lifeboat station.

The family-run business is famous for its service and mouth-watering fish dishes. You can either eat inside the cafe or grab your food to go. We suggest you order food and take it to the beach for a delightful seaside picnic. After all, what could be better than that? Find further information here.

Location: 76 Eastborough, Scarborough YO11 1NJ

Scarborough offers a variety of family-friendly activities that are both educational and entertaining; we hope you enjoy our choices! For further inspiration, check out our How to Spend a Day in Scarborough article here. We hope you enjoy every moment of your trip to Scarborough and make lovely family memories.

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