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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