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7 experiences not to be missed on your North Yorkshire holiday

09 March 2022

North Yorkshire has long been one of the finest beach destinations in the country and is a fine example of where to enjoy the Great British Holiday.

Part of the reason behind its success is the fact that it offers something for everyone; from a day of building sandcastles on Filey Beach to the wealth of historical landmarks, it’s important to plan your holiday as best you can to help make the most of your stay. With this in mind, here is our list of the top six experiences not to be missed.

  1. A day at the beach

Heading to the beach is a popular pastime of anyone’s holiday, and with the outstanding sands available to explore in and around Scarborough, you will struggle to find a better place to sunbathe. There are two officially designated beaches in Scarborough and depending on whether you head to the north or south side, it can offer a very different experience. While the south side is considered the livelier, the sands on the north are best for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

Another superb stretch in the region is Filey Beach, with its Blue Flag-rated sands stretching across five miles of East Yorkshire coast and just a short drive away for those enjoying their family holidays in Whitby or Scarborough. While those who enjoy a sunbathe will be more than catered for, there are also donkey rides and sailing lessons available for people who prefer a more active experience by the seaside. To discover more great beaches in the region, visit the Good Beach Guide for the complete list of beaches, plus info on their water quality and unique features.

The Marine Conservation Society, the body which operates the Good Beach Guide, highly recommend Scarborough’s North Bay Beach for a great day out:

“Scarborough North Bay has been consistently recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for excellent water quality since 2006 and its long sandy beach makes it a popular spot for families.” Rachel Wyatt, Coastal Pollution Officer at the Marine Conservation Society.

  1. Play a round at Ganton Golf Club

If you love nothing more than relaxing with a round of golf on your holidays in North Yorkshire, the fabulous fairways and gorgeous greens offered at Ganton Golf Club promise not to disappoint. Ranked among the top 60 golf courses in the world, its prolific bunkers have proved the perfect challenge for some of the world’s best players in the past. Part of the appeal of Ganton is the beautiful vistas it offers, being just seven miles from the cusp of Yorkshire coast to provide stunning views across the North Sea, the North York Moors and Yorkshire Moors. We spoke to Ganton Golf Club about what makes their course so special, and they explained that some recent changes mean that it remains a fun yet challenging experience.

“Recently some alterations have been made to tees and bunkering on the 6th, 9th, 13th and 15th holes to ensure that Ganton remains the great challenge that everyone who plays here expects.  Whilst the challenge is never far away right from the 1st tee, it begins in earnest at the 15th with the last four holes consisting par 4s of 493yds, 443yds and 435yds, with the last two separated by a 251yd par 3 to provide a tough but memorable finish.”

  1. Enjoy some fish and chips

No trip to the beach is complete without a delicious portion of fish and chips, so it’s a good job that Scarborough is home to a cluster of stunning restaurants and fast food outlets that specialise in this Great British classic.

One held in incredibly high regard is the Harbour View Café, an establishment that has been continually named as one of the best fish and chip restaurants in Scarborough by members of TripAdvisor. Renowned for its light batter, beautiful homemade chips and succulent freshly caught fish – combined with fantastic value – it’s no surprise that it holds such a high reputation.

Also celebrated for serving up fantastic fish and chips is Walkers, with their friendly service and wide variety of fish styles providing the perfect experience for the whole family during your summer holiday in Scarborough.

  1. Head to the SEA LIFE Sanctuary

With the wealth of things to do in North Yorkshire, there’s more than enough to fill the holiday itinerary for a whole month! If you are on the hunt for a great day out, heading to the SEA LIFE Sanctuary in Scarborough promises not to disappoint. With the loggerhead turtle, clownfish, common seal and Humboldt penguin just some of the many species that call the Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary home, it’s a great day out for kids and adults alike – particularly if the notorious British weather doesn’t hold out. Another reason to visit the SEA LIFE Sanctuary is the chance to visit Yorkshire’s only Seal Hospital, seeing how the dedicated team at the sanctuary care for over 30 rescued seals every year. To find out more about what the attraction has in store, click here to visit the official website.

  1. Discover history at the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre

With Scarborough boasting an illustrious past thanks to its status as Britain’s first seaside resort, why not head to the town’s Maritime Heritage Centre to discover this in the best possible way? We got in touch with Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre to find out what makes them such a wonderful family attraction, and here’s what they had to say:

“The Maritime Heritage Centre is unmissable because it is the only museum in the town that tells Scarborough’s story from the Romans and Vikings to shipbuilding, tuna fishing, our connections with the Titanic, our involvement in world war one and much more.  The Centre is run entirely by friendly volunteers and is free to enter.  We are open Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 4pm.

We are in the top ten ranking on TripAdvisor and have won 5 awards, including a BBC award for our website.  Exhibitions change every 3 months.”

  1. Treat the kids to a trip to Flamingo Land

If you are enjoying the North Yorkshire coast with the family, you will understand the importance of planning an itinerary full of attractions to ensure fun for all. An attraction which has to be included on any family holiday plan is Flamingo Land, the UK’s only combined theme park, zoo and resort, which recently won Yorkshire’s ‘Most Magnificent’ Attraction Award for 2014.

With over 140 species of animals, including giraffes, lions and, of course, flamingos, plus a raft of theme park rides, there’s plenty for the whole family to get involved with. One of the highlights at the park is Mumbo Jumbo, a theme park ride that has been inducted into the Guinness Book of Records thanks to its 112° vertical drop, making it the world’s steepest roller coaster made from steel.

  1. Scarborough Castle

Scarborough is also renowned for its rich history, with human habitation documented as far back as 966AD. A great method of learning more about the glorious past of the town is through a visit to Scarborough Castle, a medieval fortress that was built back in the 12th century and is a dominating sight in the town. Archaeological digs uncovered findings dating back around 3,000 years – among the finest was a Bronze Age sword that is now on display in the permanent castle exhibition. 

Blogger’s View – Lifetime Backpacker

We got in touch with Stuart at Lifetime Backpacker, a travel blogger whose home county is Yorkshire. As an expert on the subjects of travel and Yorkshire, who better to provide some local travel recommendations? Here is what Stuart has to say:

“Scarborough has been a holiday destination of mine on a number of occasions throughout my childhood and teenage years. During the summer months there’s great periods of sunshine to enjoy on the fantastic beaches mentioned above on the North and South Bay. I have fond memories of having lovely family days out at the beach, creating structural masterpieces (or not!!) out of the golden sands. 

As Britain’s first ever seaside resort, Scarborough has been a wonderful place to travel to for over three hundred years and additions such as the SEA LIFE Sanctuary and the castle really give that extra special touch to a visit. To add even more variation, the North York Moors National park, a wonder of landscape and nature, is just a short drive away! To add to that, another beautiful creation of nature is in close proximity in the form of Dalby Forest!

There’s so much to enjoy for everyone in Scarborough and the surrounding area. There’s definitely a wider, more enriching experience available than a traditional seaside holiday! Here’s to many more years of Yorkshire Coast enjoyment!”

Image Credits: Jeff Dalton, Atlaspix (, Ganton Golf Club, Flamingo Land

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