Scarborough proudly claims the title of the original British seaside resort – people have been breathing in the restorative North Sea air here since the 17th century. Today, there are plenty of other reasons to visit this North Yorkshire town – the burgeoning surf scene at North Bay Beach, the moody ruins of Scarborough Castle and even Scarborough Open Air Theatre – the largest in Europe. With a long history, Scarborough has historic hotels, country pubs and everything in between for you to rest up after a long day exploring. Here’s the pick of the top hotels and places to stay in Scarborough, bookable on Culture Trip.
Unusually for hotels in Scarborough, certainly one as budget-friendly as this, the Red Lea has a circular indoor pool, a hot tub and a gym stuffed with the latest gadgetry from Olympic supplier, Technogym. Spread throughout a Victorian townhouse on South Cliff (a five-minute walk from the Cliff Lifts), accommodations comprise modern, two-bedroom apartments and ensuite doubles, most of which have limitless sea views. Pull up a floral-patterned chair in the restaurant for breakfast, a daily-changing dinner menu and afternoon tea.
Each of the eight plush rooms at this bed and breakfast are individually dressed in two colours – including the purple and cream single and the black and orange family room. Small private gardens are attached to rooms in the extension and there’s a communal, plant-filled patio next to the entrance. At the end of the road, you’ll find the Japanese-style Peasholm Park and North Bay Beach, a popular surfing spot.
Imbue your sightseeing with local knowledge at this North Bay hotel, where owners and lifelong Scarborough residents Steve and Karen offer tips on what to visit, where to go and what to avoid. In the evening, hunker down for drinks and dinner (cooked by Steve) in the miniature pub on the ground floor, an intimate, low-lit space with reimagined wood furniture, board games and leather armchairs. Bag a superior double for a huge rainfall shower and views of Scarborough Castle.
Occupying one of several elegant brick houses built in 1763 for the wealthiest merchants in Scarborough, the Palace Hill Hotel is a boutique bed and breakfast with chic, beachy style. Think reclaimed wooden bed frames, whitewashed walls and original art depicting the Scarborough Coast. Choose from a twin room or eight double ensuites. Fuel up with full English before hitting key sights such as South Bay Beach or Scarborough Castle, both within a 15-minute walk.
As the name suggests, this is not your average seaside pied-à-terre. The Bike and Boot Inn styles itself as a leisure hotel for the 21st century, so whether you’re visiting Scarborough for surfing, for cycling or to walk the North York Moors, you’re well catered for. Rooms are bright and are decked out with vintage Scarborough posters; there is also on-site bike and surfboard storage and doggy grooming equipment – perfect for cleaning up muddy pups, who are welcome throughout the hotel. On-site eatery Bareca will keep you fuelled throughout your stay, with a hearty breakfast in the morning and a cheeky nightcap before you turn in.
Overlooking South Bay Beach, the Crown Spa Hotel offers all the trappings you’d expect from a traditional British seaside escape, including swimming pool, sauna, spa and those all-important sea views. The rooms are more old-school luxury than cool and contemporary, but they’re perfectly comfortable and you can always dial up the retro charm further by opting for a room with a four-poster bed.
If you’re after an olde adventure with a touch of grandeur, check in to the Central Hotel. Located on a Grade II-listed Georgian crescent (built between 1833 and 1857), this hotel is a must for history buffs, with decorative cornice ceilings and interiors that hark back to a historical heyday. That means no Scandi minimalism: expect generous helpings of Scarborough chintz. Outside, you’ll find the leafy Crescent Gardens on the doorstep, and the cultural quarter of town opposite.
Prefer a hotel with a Pre-Raphaelite chapel? Look no further than the Chapel House – a 14-bed hotel in a building that dates back to 1850. As well as the ornate stained-glass chapel, many other period features have been retained, including open fireplaces and wooden floorboards. Modern comforts include flatscreen TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities and wifi – but these luxuries don’t come at the expense of charming antique furniture. Centrally located in the South Cliff area of Scarborough, it’s an excellent base for exploring.
Just outside Scarborough and on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, the Plough is a historic pub with rooms that ooze homely character. Styled as a village pub with rooms (eight luxury ensuites and five self-catering cottages dotted nearby, to be exact), guests can enjoy quintessential Yorkshire hospitality and creature comforts galore, including rolltop baths, handmade four-poster beds and wool blankets that put the cute country twee in tweed. Not much can beat rolling into a hotel bed after a hearty pub meal.
When your locality is as spectacular as North Yorkshire, it’s only right that you put it front and centre in your design scheme. That’s exactly what you get at the Mayfield – a pub with rooms just south of Scarborough in the village of Seamer. Each of the 16 bedrooms features a wall with a spectacular black-and-white scene from the local area – be it the elegant promenade, the atmospheric ruins of the castle or fishing boats bobbing in the North Sea. Teamed with modern furnishings and good pub grub, you’re all set for a great stay.
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