Out There: First resort has nostalgic appeal

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Morecambe is one of Britain’s oldest seaside resorts but it certainly wasn’t the first.

With a magnificent location next to two sweeping bays in North Yorkshire, Scarborough has been attracting visitors for more than 360 years.

After weeks of working hard and not seeing much of my poor old husband Mark (Sparky), I suggested an overnight stay in Scarborough on Saturday.

I had many preconceived ideas about Scarborough, all of which proved to be incorrect.

I’d imagined it to be a run-down and seedy resort. Wrong. It was well maintained and full of grand buildings.

I’d also imagined that there wouldn’t be much to do. Wrong again. It was full of entertainment venues, friendly pubs, traditional seaside attractions, interesting shops and fabulous locations for walks.

We found a good online deal and stayed at the Beiderbecke’s Hotel on The Crescent. This elegant Georgian building had a wonderful location near the centre of town. The hotel is famed for its jazz nights and lovely views over the nearby tree-lined park.

When we arrived we headed straight for the beach. As the town boasted so many fine old buildings I decided to set my camera to sepia mode, hence the sepia-style photographs on this page.

Down the hill towards the beach most of the buildings were Victorian and the Grand Hotel, which opened in 1863, took my breath away. It was one of Europe’s first purpose-built hotels and it has four towers, 23 floors and 52 chimneys to recall the seasons, months and days in a year.

The beach was bustling with life as the weather was warm and sunny. Children were enjoying donkey rides and a few people were even taking a dip. I suggested it to Sparky but, on reflection, it wouldn’t have been a good idea as he’s stick thin and it might have finished him off. We shivered at the sight of teenagers screaming as they hit the waves.

Most people were too sensible for this sort of behaviour and were either strolling or sitting on the beach. We walked the full length of South Beach, taking in the views of Scarborough Castle.

As the sun went down we went to a pub where we were surrounded by ‘circus skills’ enthusiasts. They were making balloon animals and doing magic tricks. It was all rather odd but most entertaining. Later on we discovered that a juggling festival was taking place in a nearby town.

Scarborough’s other attractions include the Sea Life Marine Sanctuary, Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and the newly refurbished Scarborough Open Air Theatre – Europe’s largest open air theatre (since Antiquity).

We had a wonderfully relaxing night and a delicious breakfast at the hotel before heading off to Flamborough Head for a day of birdwatching.

The cliffs at Bempton near Flamborough Head have an amazing gannetry and are also home to puffins and razorbills.

I’ll tell you more about Flamborough next week.