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Family-Friendly Scarborough - Keeping the Kids Entertained on the Yorkshire Coast

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Scarborough gives families a lot of bang for their buck. The 2 sprawling beaches will keep everyone entertained for hours. There's plenty of fun to be had away from the sand, too, in the myriad amusement arcades along the promenade. For something a little different, take a ride on a miniature railway or head to the hills for a healthy hike.

Beach fun and food

 

Scarborough’s beaches are perfect for setting up a game of cricket or flinging a Frisbee around. While parents sunbathe on the sand, kids can build sandcastles, or the whole family can enjoy a donkey ride along the coast. When hunger strikes, the melodic tinkles of ice cream trucks and towering sundaes in Harbour Bar are never far away.

 

Harbour Bar

 

When it’s time for a break from South Bay's beach, stop by nearby Harbour Bar, a retro '50s-style ice cream parlor. Popular treats include classic Knickerbocker Glories - sundaes with layers of fresh fruit - and banana splits.

 

1-3 Sandside, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 1PETel: +44 1723 373662

 

Harbour Bar website

North Bay

 

Not only does North Bay lay claim as the area's best beach for rock pooling and water sports, it also features its own miniature steam railway. Hop aboard and take the short ride to Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary, where fish, seals, and penguins await. After meeting the animals, head to the adjacent Pirate Adventure Mini-Golf Course, complete with treasure chests, cannons, and a pirate raft.

 

North Bay Railway

 

The line may only run between Peasholm Park and Scalby Mills, but it’s a charming and scenic journey for all ages - including budding railroad engineers. Children under 3 years of age ride for free.

 

Burniston Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO12 6PF. Tel: +44 1723 368791

 

North Bay Railway website

 

Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary

 

Meet playful otters, shy sharks, and frolicking seals, then stroll beside the Humboldt penguins on Penguin Island. At the interactive rock pool, children can touch a starfish and even hold a crab safely.

 

Scalby Mills, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO12 6RP. Tel: +44 1723 373414

 

Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary website

 

Arcades and other amusements

 

Amusement arcades flash and beep along most of Scarborough’s South Bay promenade. Inside you’ll find everything from one-arm bandits and penny slot machines to video games. An array of restaurants and fish and chip takeouts makes meal and snack times easy to manage. To round out your day, hop aboard the historic funicular railway for a ride with panoramic views.

 

Olympia Leisure

 

Downstairs, Olympia Leisure brims with popular arcade games. Upstairs, there's a quieter play area, along with a bowling alley and a go-kart track.

 

Foreshore Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 1NU. Tel: +44 1723 377960

 

Olympia Leisure website

 

Treats in the town

 

Scarborough’s family-friendly attractions aren’t limited to sandy beaches and retro promenades. There’s a whole host of entertainment in the centre of town. Expansive, leafy parks provide plenty of room for romping, roaming, and picnicking. On a rainy day, Scarborough Market Hall & Vaults, with its food stalls upstairs and intriguing shops downstairs, is a pleasant way to while away an hour or 2.

 

Peasholm Park

 

Hiring a paddle boat offers a relaxing way to enjoy one of the floating bandstand's free concerts. If you and the little ones are feeling energetic, walk to the Chinese pagoda at the top of the hill.

 

Scarborough, North Yorkshire . Tel: +44 1723 386636

 

Peasholm Park website

 

Scarborough Market Hall & Vaults

 

The town’s weekly food market takes place in the main halls. If you head down to the vaults, you’ll find a maze of local vendors selling quirky crafts, antiques, toys, and games.

 

St. Helen's Square, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 1EU. Tel: +44 1723 373579

 

Scarborough Market Hall & Vaults website

 

Out-of-town fun

 

The rolling countryside surrounding Scarborough offers great opportunities to get the whole family active. Day trips from the town can just involve hiking up the hills on the outskirts and taking in the views. Or you could go all out and spend the day in Dalby Forest, situated on the southern slopes of North York Moors National Park.

 

Dalby Forest

 

Dalby Forest offers easy and slightly more challenging trails. Young children enjoy the Superworm Trail, and you can even buy a Superworm Activity Pack at the visitor centre before heading out.

 

Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire YO18 7LT. Tel: +44 1751 460295

 

Dalby Forest website