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Scarborough’s Arts and Culture - From Ancient Fossils to Modern Festivals

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Scarborough’s calendar is packed full of annual events including an Armed Forces Day, week-long music extravaganzas, and surfing festivals. If you’re not in town during one of the regular events, there’s still plenty of culture to enjoy, thanks to the abundance and high quality of local galleries, concert venues, and theatres.

Literary Scarborough


Scarborough’s rugged landscape and bracing sea views are well-known for inspiring authors such as Anne Brontë. The town has a strong literary culture, with renowned contemporary authors like G.P. Taylor and Susan Hill born and raised here. The annual Books by the Beach festival celebrates this key aspect of the town’s cultural heritage.


St. Mary’s Church


Fans of the Brontës are often drawn to St. Mary’s Church to visit Anne Brontë’s grave. Though the headstone is as weather-beaten as the others, colourful flowers from admirers help the author’s final resting place stand out in the cemetery.


Castle Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 1THTel: +44 1723 500541


St. Mary’s Church website


Books by the Beach


Each April, British and international authors descend on the town to hold talks and readings for Books by the Beach. Most events at this 4-day festival take place at Scarborough Library Concert Hall.


Tel: +44 1723 370541


Books by the Beach website

Treading the boards


Scarborough has enjoyed a long relationship with prolific playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, winner of the Olivier and Tony Awards. Most of his plays premiered at the town’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, where he also served as artistic director. To this day, Scarborough is still known for its critically acclaimed theatre productions.


Stephen Joseph Theatre


This celebrated theatre-in-the-round features 2 auditoriums, along with a contemporary restaurant and a lively bar. theatre buffs can even take a behind-the-scenes tour.


Westborough, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 1JW. Tel: +44 1723 370541


Stephen Joseph Theatre website


Scarborough Spa


Out along the promenade, the Victorian Scarborough Spa hosts a variety of comedies and dramas alongside a full calendar of concerts and private events.


South Bay, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 2HD. Tel: +44 1723 821 888


Scarborough Spa website


Scarborough’s gallery scene


Scarborough isn't a large city, but it has a robust art scene. The Scarborough Art Gallery offers an eclectic collection focusing on local art and artifacts. And, these days, there are around 20 active street artists who have left their creative mark across town. For all the latest artistic happenings, the place to be is the Cultural Quarter, located around The Crescent.


Scarborough Art Gallery


Housed in a handsome Italianate villa, Scarborough's main art gallery was established in the mid-19th century. In addition to the permanent collection, the gallery hosts special exhibitions such as the recent Seaside Snaps photography show.


The Crescent, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 2PW. Tel: +44 1723 374753


Scarborough Art Gallery website


Woodend Creative Workspace


This innovative co-working space for the creative industries also showcases local artists in its art and craft gallery. Admission to the gallery is free.


The Crescent, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 2PW. Tel: +44 1723 384500


Woodend Creative Workspace website


Museums in Scarborough


With a setting on Yorkshire's Jurassic Coast and a colourful heritage as a fishing port, Scarborough has plenty of tales to tell. There are geological museums full of fossils and precious gemstones, many exhibitions throughout town dedicated to local history, and of course the romantic ruins of medieval Scarborough Castle.


Scarborough Castle


Perched high on the cliff overlooking the harbor and sea, Scarborough Castle hosts various events throughout the year and also has an exhibition featuring artifacts found in recent archaeology excavations on the site.


Castle Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO11 1HY. Tel: +44 1723 372451


Scarborough Castle website