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Museums and Art Galleries in Scarborough

The kids built a sandcastle, ate fish, chips, and ice cream galore, and rode the cliff lift. Now it’s time to visit the Museum and the art galleries!

Scarborough is a beautiful seaside town known for bright arcades, delicious ice cream, crabbing, and beach games, but it’s so much more than just that. You can also learn more about the area’s interesting maritime history at one of these museums or art galleries.

Rotunda Museum of Coastal Heritage and Geology

Rotunda Museum Scarborough.

This Scarborough museum was established in 1829. It is among the world’s earliest purpose-built museums. It was designed based on the ideas of William Smith, and the Georgian gallery inside features a frieze created by Smith’s nephew, John Phillips. Displaying the geology of the local coastline. The original cases showcase the museum’s history and delve into the stories of the Scarborough Philosophical Society. Which brought together the collections in the 19th century.

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Visitors can also learn about dinosaur footprints, fossils, and the impressive Star Carr Collection. Which features artefacts over 11,000 years old. The Ancient Seas Gallery also allows visitors to meet the amazing creatures that once roamed the Yorkshire landscape.

Rotunda Museum Scarborough Fossil Collection.

Children under 18 go free which is great for families and is an affordable activity. If you are visiting Scarborough with your dog they are welcome to!


Car parking is not available onsite at the Rotunda Museum.

However, accessible parking for Blue Badge holders can be found on Valley Road, just a 2-minute walk away.

The South Bay underground car park and the Palm Court car park are also available nearby. The South Bay underground car park is close to the museum, while the Palm Court Car Park is just a 5-minute walk away. Additionally, on-street pay and display parking are available on Valley Road and The Crescent.

Scarborough Art Gallery

Scarborough Art Gallery.

Scarborough Art Gallery is home to the borough’s permanent collection of fine art. It has been expanding since 1947 through gifts, bequests, and purchases. The collection reflects the community’s diverse mix and cultural heritage.

This Grade II* Italianate villa, known initially as Crescent House, was constructed in the late 1840s as a family residence by a local solicitor named John Uppleby. It is one of the most impressive buildings in Scarborough.

In addition to the permanent collection, the Art Gallery hosts frequent temporary exhibitions. It provides an opportunity to showcase some of their best collections and display work by local, national, and international artists. As well as exciting touring works from throughout the UK.


Car parking facilities are not available at the Art Gallery.

However, Blue Badge holders can access accessible parking outside the Gallery, on The Crescent. Additionally, visitors can use the Palm Court car park, which is a multi-storey, pay and display car park located in close proximity to the Gallery.

Alternatively, on-street pay and display parking can be found on The Crescent and Valley Road.

Woodend Gallery and Studios

Woodend Gallery and Studios.

Woodend, a gallery and creative industries hub, will inspire you! Situated in a picturesque grade II* listed building, it is conveniently located just a short walk away from the town centre. Woodend Gallery, at the heart of the building, features a stunning view of the Valley Gardens and showcases a constantly changing program of contemporary exhibitions. 

Woodend Gallery and Studios Cafe Drink.

Visit the cafe

The excellent Eat Me team heads the café at Woodend and offers a brilliant selection of hot and soft drinks, savoury options such as soup and sausage rolls, and sweet treats like cinnamon rolls. The room that now houses Sitwell by Eat Me café used to be the dining room of the famous novelists and poets Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell, who spent their summers at Woodend during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 


For general visitors, there is no car parking available on site. However, tenants can make use of designated parking spaces.

Blue Badge holders can find accessible parking outside Woodend on The Crescent. If you’re looking for a multi-storey, pay and display car park close to Woodend, you can head to the Palm Court car park. On-street pay and display parking is also available on The Crescent and Valley Road.

The Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre

The Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre.

This small community-run museum and archive is dedicated to preserving the history of Scarborough and its connections with the sea. The friendly local volunteers are always ready to show visitors around the changing and fixed exhibitions and videos.

As a registered charity, their main aim is to educate the public. They have been working for over 10 years to help preserve the maritime legacy of Scarborough so it can be passed on to future generations. Much of this history is being lost because of the ever-reducing number of fishing families in Scarborough. Their goal is to ensure that this valuable history is preserved and shared. 


There is 40-minute parking spaces on the street directly outside the Centre. Alternatively, there are 4 car parks nearby: Eastborough, West Pier, King Street & Friarsway.

Scarborough Fair Collection and Vintage Transport Museum

Scarborough Fair Collection and Vintage Transport Museum.

The museum is home to an impressive assortment of vintage cars, steam engines, fairground rides, and mechanical organs. Visitors can also see the majestic ‘Mighty’ Wurlitzer Organ in the ballroom. 

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, The Scarborough Fair Collection offers a variety of thrilling rides. Visitors can bump around in bumper cars, relive the good old days on gallopers, or experience the speedway.

The museum is an ideal destination for school trips, where students can learn about the lives of showmen, discover how a pipe organ works, experience a disco from 100 years ago, and ride the ‘Golden Galloping Horses’. Those interested in arranging a guided tour or booking a trip can contact the museum directly.

The collection is situated in the grounds of the Flower of May Holiday Park, which lies on the coastal road between Scarborough and Filey.


You can park in the Flower of May’s car park. The museum is adjacent to the car park on the left.

Scarborough is rich in history, culture, and art. The museums in Scarborough are fantastic to visit. They offer a glimpse into the town’s past and present and are a great way to learn more about the area. 

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