Scarborough (/ˈskɑːrbərə/) is a town on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town lies between 10–230 feet (3–70 m) above sea level, rising steeply northward and westward from the harbour on to limestone cliffs. The older part of the town lies around the harbour and is protected by a rocky headland.
With a population of just over 61,000, Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast. The town has fishing and service industries, including a growing digital and creative economy, as well as being a tourist destination. People who live in the town are known as Scarborians.
The most striking feature of the town's geography is the high rocky promontory pointing eastward into the North Sea. The promontory supports the 11th-century ruins of Scarborough Castle and divides the seafront into two bays, north and south.
The South Bay was the site of the original medieval settlement and harbour, which form the old town. This remains the main tourist area, with a sandy beach, cafés, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities. The modern commercial town centre has migrated 440 yards (400 m) north-west of the harbour area and 100 feet (30 m) above it and contains the transport hubs, main services, shopping and nightlife. The harbour has undergone major regeneration including the new Albert Strange Pontoons, a more pedestrian-friendly promenade, street lighting and seating.
The North Bay has traditionally been the more peaceful end of the resort and is home to Peasholm Park which, in June 2007, was restored to its Japanese-themed glory, complete with reconstructed pagoda, a new boat house was added in 2018. For many years a mock maritime battle (based on the Battle of the River Plate) has been regularly re-enacted on the boating lake with large model boats and fireworks throughout the summer holiday season. The North Bay Railway is a miniature railway running from the park through Northstead Manor Gardens to the Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills. The North Bay Railway has what is believed to be the oldest operational diesel-hydraulic locomotive in the world. Neptune was built in 1931 by Hudswell Clarke of Leeds and is appropriately numbered 1931.
Northstead Manor Gardens include the North Bay Railway and three other attractions: a water chute, a boating lake with boats for hire during the summer season and an open-air theatre. The water chute is now grade II listed and is one of the oldest surviving water chutes in Britain, with the ride of today being the same as when it was opened in the 1930s. The Lord Mayor of London opened the theatre in 1932 and audiences flocked to see Merrie England, the first production to be staged at the outdoor venue. Productions were put on during the summer seasons until musicals ceased in 1968 after West Side Story, apart from a YMCA production in 1982. In 1997 the dressing rooms and stage set building on the island were demolished and the seating removed. The last concert to be held at the open-air theatre before it closed in 1986 was James Last and his orchestra. Scarborough's open-air theatre was reopened on Friday 23 July 2010 by Queen Elizabeth II with an operatic concert starring José Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, accompanied by the Opera North Orchestra, concluding with a firework display.
North Bay and South Bay are linked by Marine Drive, an extensive Victorian promenade, built around the base of the headland. Overlooking both bays is Scarborough Castle, which was bombarded by the German warships SMS Derfflinger and SMS Von der Tann in the First World War. Both bays have popular sandy beaches and numerous rock-pools at low tide.
The South Cliff Promenade above the Spa and South Cliff Gardens has excellent views of the South Bay and old town. Its splendid Regency and Victorian terraces are still intact, with a mix of quality hotels and flats. The ITV television drama The Royal and its recent spin-off series, The Royal Today were both filmed in the area. The South Bay has the largest illuminated 'star disk' anywhere in the UK. It is 85 feet (26 m) across and fitted with subterranean lights representing the 42 brightest stars and major constellations that can be seen from Scarborough in the northern skies.
To the south-west of the town, beside the York to Scarborough railway line, is an ornamental lake known as Scarborough Mere. In the 20th century the Mere was a popular park, with rowing boats, canoes and a miniature pirate ship – the Hispaniola – on which passengers were taken to 'Treasure Island' to dig for doubloons. Since the late 1990s the Mere has been redesigned as a natural space for picnics, fishing and walkers. In 2012 a new snack bar was built alongside the Mere. The lake is now part of the Oliver's Mount Country Park and the Hispaniola now sails out of Scarborough harbour during the summer season.
Surrounding the River Derwent as it flows into the sea are high hills with tall, dense grasses and fertile soil, due to the stream 'Sea Cut' leading from the River Derwent to the estuary at the North Sea. The area has flourishing and vibrant flora and crop growth.
The town was reportedly founded around 966 AD as Skarðaborg by Thorgils Skarthi, a Viking raider, though there is no archaeological evidence to support these claims, made during the 1960s, as part of a pageant of Scarborough events. The origin of this belief is a fragment of an Icelandic Saga. In the 4th century there had briefly been a Roman signal station on Scarborough headland and there is evidence of much earlier Stone Age and Bronze Age settlements. However any new settlement was soon burned to the ground by a rival band of Vikings under Tosti (Tostig Godwinson), Lord of Falsgrave, and Harald III of Norway. The destruction and massacre meant that very little remained to be recorded in the Domesday survey of 1085. The original inland village of Falsgrave was also Saxon rather than Viking.
Scarborough recovered under King Henry II, who built an Angevin stone castle on the headland and granted the town charters in 1155 and 1163, permitting a market on the sands and establishing rule by burgesses. Edward II granted Scarborough Castle to his favourite, Piers Gaveston. The castle was subsequently besieged by forces led by the barons Percy, Warenne, Clifford and Pembroke. Gaveston was captured and taken to Oxford and thence to Warwick Castle for execution.
In the Middle Ages Scarborough Fair, permitted in a royal charter of 1253, held a six-week trading festival attracting merchants from all over Europe. It ran from Assumption Day, 15 August, until Michaelmas Day, 29 September. The fair continued to be held for 500 years, from the 13th to the 18th century, and is commemorated in the song Scarborough Fair:
Scarborough and its castle changed hands seven times between Royalists and Parliamentarians during the English Civil War of the 1640s, enduring two lengthy and violent sieges. Following the civil war, much of the town lay in ruins.
In 1626, Elizabeth Farrow discovered a stream of acidic water running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town. This gave birth to Scarborough Spa, and Dr Wittie's book about the spa waters published in 1660 attracted a flood of visitors to the town. Scarborough Spa became Britain's first seaside resort, though the first rolling bathing machines were not noted on the sands until 1735. It was a popular getaway destination for the wealthy of London, such as the bookseller Andrew Millar and his family. Their son Andrew junior died there in 1750.
The coming of the Scarborough–York railway in 1845 increased the tide of visitors. Scarborough railway station claims a record for the world's longest platform seat. From the 1880s until the First World War, Scarborough was one of the regular destinations for The Bass Excursions, when fifteen trains would take between 8,000 and 9,000 employees of Bass's Burton brewery on an annual trip to the seaside.
A young Malton architect, John Gibson, designed the Crown Spa Hotel, Scarborough's first purpose-built hotel. In 1841 a railway link between York and Scarborough was being talked of and he decided that the area above the popular Spa building could be developed. He designed and laid the foundations before passing the construction of this hotel to the newly formed South Cliff Building Company. On Tuesday, 10 June 1845 Scarborough's first hotel was opened: a marketing coup, as the Grand Hotel, soon to be Europe's largest, was not yet finished.
When the Grand Hotel was completed in 1867 it was one of the largest hotels in the world and one of the first giant purpose-built hotels in Europe. Four towers represent the seasons, 12 floors represent the months, 52 chimneys represent the weeks and originally 365 bedrooms represented the days of the year. A blue plaque outside marks where the novelist Anne Brontë died in 1849. She was buried in the graveyard of St Mary's Church by the castle.
The town has a fine Anglican church, St Martin-on-the-Hill, built in 1862–63 as the parish church of South Cliff. It contains works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.
In 1929 the steam drifter Ascendent caught a 560-pound (250 kg) tunny (Atlantic bluefin tuna) and a Scarborough showman awarded the crew 50 shillings so he could exhibit it as a tourist attraction. Big-game tunny fishing off Scarborough effectively started in 1930 when Lorenzo "Lawrie" Mitchell–Henry, landed a tunny caught on rod and line weighing 560 pounds (250 kg). A gentlemen's club, the British Tunny Club, was founded in 1933 and set up its headquarters in the town at the place which is now a restaurant with the same name. Scarborough became a resort for high society. A women's world tuna challenge cup was held for many years.
Colonel (and, later, Sir) Edward Peel landed a world-record tunny of 798 pounds (362 kg), capturing the record by 40 pounds (18.1 kg) from one caught off Nova Scotia by American champion Zane Grey. The British record which still stands is for a fish weighing 851 pounds (386 kg) caught off Scarborough in 1933 by Laurie Mitchell-Henry.
On 5 June 1993 Scarborough made headlines around the world when a landslip caused part of the Holbeck Hall Hotel, along with its gardens, to fall into the sea. Although the slip was shored up with rocks and the land has long since grassed over, evidence of the cliff's collapse remains clearly visible from The Esplanade, near Shuttleworth Gardens.
The climate is temperate with mild summers and cool, windy, winters. The hottest months of the year are July and August, with temperatures reaching an average high of 17 °C and falling to 11 °C at night. The average daytime temperatures in January are 4 °C, falling to 1 °C at night. The station's elevation of 110 metres (360 ft) is far above sea level compared to the immediate coastline, where the climate is likely slightly milder year round.
Scarborough's fishing industry is still active, though much reduced in size. The working harbour is home to a fish market including a shop and wooden stalls where fresh, locally-caught seafood can be purchased by the public.
The tourism trade continues to be a major part of the local economy with Scarborough being the second most-visited destination in England by British holidaymakers. While weekend and mid-week-break trade are tending to replace the traditional week-long family holiday, the beaches and attractions are always very busy throughout summer, a marked contrast to the quieter winter months when Scarborough is often seen as a peaceful bolt-hole from cities such as Leeds and Bradford. Confidence in the hospitality industry is high, evidenced by major refits in recent years, often targeted at a higher-spending clientele. Significant amongst these is the Grand, Scarborough's biggest hotel, which overlooks the South Bay, and also the Palm Court Hotel.
Scarborough's town centre has many major shopping chains alongside boutique independent shops. As well as a main pedestrianised shopping street (home to various chain stores and eateries) and the Brunswick shopping centre, boutique stores can be found on Bar Street and St Thomas Street. The town also has an indoor market with a large range of antique shops and independent traders in its vaults, and a smaller market on the South Bay. W Boyes & Co, a discount department store chain which has over 60 stores across the north is based at Eastfield, on the outskirts of Scarborough. Its flagship store is located in Queen Street.
Manufacturers based in Scarborough include the Plaxton Company (a division of Alexander Dennis) which has been building coaches and buses since 1907 Sirius Minerals which is developing a potash mine near Whitby has its headquarters in Scarborough. McCain Foods has a factory in the town for over 50 years, and sponsored the previous football stadium.
Creative industries have been cited as playing a vital role in the regeneration of Scarborough; a report in 2005 estimated that they comprised 19% of the town's economy. They were also a major focus of Scarborough's winning entry in the 2008 Enterprising Britain competition, with representatives from Woodend Creative Workspace and Scarborough-based Electric Angel Design representing the town in the Yorkshire and Humber regional heats. In the finals in London on 16 October 2008, Scarborough won the title of Britain's Most Enterprising Town, and subsequently went on to win the European Enterprise Awards as Great Britain's representative, on 13 May 2009 in Prague.
The principal newspaper with origins dating back to July 1882 is The Scarborough News, borne from the Scarborough Evening News.
Scarborough is home to local commercial radio station, Yorkshire Coast Radio which provides a daily news service for the town with a team of journalists based at its studios in Eastfield, broadcasting on FM, DAB, and online. In August 2018 the station achieved the highest weekly reach of any radio station in England with a 53% weekly reach.
Coast & County Radio is also based in Scarborough, the station broadcast on DAB until the end of 2018 when it became an online only station.
In recent years, arts, business and education have collaborated annually to produce Digital Scarborough – a celebration of the town's digital activities including a wide range of events from business networking to film showings and gigs with DJs and VJs.
Scarborough General Hospital is the local district general NHS hospital. It is run by the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and is the largest employer in the area employing over 2,400 staff. A review of acute healthcare in the town in 2019 identified problems recruiting staff at the hospital but promised to maintain the site's Accident and Emergency department.
The population of the town (comprising Castle, Central, Eastfield, Falsgrave Park, Newby, North Bay, Northstead, Ramshill, Stepney, Weaponness and Woodlands wards) is just over 60,000. However, the Borough of Scarborough, which includes the coastal towns of Whitby and Filey, has a population of around 108,000; during the peak season, tourism can double these figures. 7.5% of the population are aged over 60, compared with an average of 20.9% nationally. Only 21.9% of the population are aged between 20 and 39, compared to 28.1% nationally.
Scarborough has four major roads serving the town; these also link it to other major towns and cities.
- A64 – Main road that terminates in the town centre, linking Scarborough with Malton, York, Leeds, the A19 and the A1(M). This is the main tourist route to the town and is Dual Carriageway standard for some of its route (between the A1(M) and Malton).
- A165 – This is the coastal route that links the town with Filey, Bridlington and Hull. In 2008, a new road was opened to bypass Osgodby to the south of Scarborough. This now forms part of the A165.
- A170 – This links Scarborough to the North York Moors and Thirsk to the west.
- A171 – This is the coastal route to the north that links the town with Whitby and Middlesbrough.
Scarborough railway station is close to the town centre and runs services from York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool on the North TransPennine Express route and from Hull on the Yorkshire Coast Line. It has the longest station seat in the world at 152 yards (139 m) in length. The town used to be connected to Whitby via the Scarborough and Whitby Railway along the Yorkshire coast, however this was closed down in 1965 due to the Beeching cuts. There is also a railway station in the suburb of Crossgates.
Scarborough has 25 main bus routes, operated by Scarborough and District, Arriva North East, Shoreline Suncruisers, and Yorkshire Coastliner. These link the town centre with its suburbs and local towns and cities such as Leeds, York, Hull, Bridlington, Whitby, Middlesbrough and the North York Moors. The town is also served by two Park and Ride services, with locations on the A64 and A165. Buses run from each terminus to the town centre and South Bay at least every 12 minutes seven days a week, with stopping points around the town centre. Buses from the Filey Road terminus on the A165 also stop at the University. Open top tourist buses also run along the sea front and Marine Drive, linking the South and North bays.
Although the town has no ferry services, there are transport links to Hull which runs frequent services to northern Europe.
Dramatist Alan Ayckbourn has lived in Scarborough for many years. He has produced seventy-five plays in Scarborough and was the artistic director of the famous Stephen Joseph Theatre, where almost all his plays receive their first performance. Chris Monks took over as artistic director in 2009, followed by Paul Robinson in 2016. The Open Air Theatre, seating 6,500, has been recently restored and was officially opened by The Queen on 20 May 2010. The YMCA Theatre is an amateur theatre seating 290. It is very well equipped and hosts some 35 productions a year, including musicals and dance shows.
As of 2019, Scarborough has two cinemas, the Hollywood Plaza and the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
A third, the Futurist Theatre, closed in January 2014 when the operator's lease expired. The building was later demolished. A new cinema development in the North Bay is due to open in 2020.
Scarborough has a long-established museum and visual-arts facilities. Wood End, the former home of The Sitwells, was converted into the Woodend museum, a creative centre including workspace for artists and the digital cluster, plus an exhibition space. The Rotunda Museum underwent a multimillion-pound redevelopment to become a national centre for geology. 2006 also saw the formation of a creative industries network called 'Creative Coast' comprising artists, designers, writers and other creatives with the shared vision of a culturally vibrant economy on the North Yorkshire coast.
Scarborough has a considerable graffiti culture, with as many as 20 'writers' currently active. There are two areas where graffiti art is legal in Scarborough, Sainsbury's basketball courts / all-weather pitch and Falsgrave Park wall. Both have seen many collaborations and murals.
The Grade II listed Scarborough Spa complex is home to the Scarborough Spa Orchestra, the last remaining seaside orchestra in the UK. The orchestra gives ten concerts every week during the summer months, playing music from an extensive repertoire of classical and light music with no programme repeats. It became famous during the 1950s and 1960s when concerts from the Palm Court in Scarborough were frequently featured on BBC radio, conducted by Max Jaffa. Former conductors include the composer of the waltz 'Nights of Gladness', Charles Ancliffe.
In November 1987 the town was chosen as the venue for the first-ever Eurovision fan club convention. Members of the then fan club, Europa-UK, gathered in the Palm Court Hotel for the first such event to be held in the UK.
During the late 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, Scarborough band Little Angels were one of the most well-known hard rock bands in the UK. Their third and final studio album, Jam, peaked at No. 1 on the UK charts in early 1993.
The town is home to the annual Scarborough Jazz Festival which takes place each September at The Spa Complex, and features internationally renowned musicians. Between 2001 and 2008 an eclectic rock and pop festival known as 'Beached' took place on the sands of South Bay. In summer 2005, Scarborough played host to the Sonic Arts Network Expo.
'Acoustic Gathering', a free one-day music festival, has been held annually in Peasholm Park since September 2005. This features over 20 bands and singer/songwriters from all parts of the UK including a number of local groups and musicians, all performing from the bandstand in the centre of the lake. Singer-songwriter Ashley Hicklin grew up in Scarborough and recorded a music video for the song "All The Time in the World" at Scarborough's Spa Complex and in the amusement arcades.
Since 2014 Scarborough has hosted its own "Unconventional Convention" at The Spa Complex. It is usually held in March or April each year. Sci-Fi Scarborough is a mix of Sci-Fi Convention, Comicon and gaming convention.
Seafest is an annual festival which takes place at West Pier and around the harbour area in July. It celebrates the region's fishing history and hosts a large gathering of folk singers, shantymen and musicians, drawing artists from all over the U.K. and from other nations including Senegal, Sicily, Canada, Éire, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Brittany and the USA. In addition there are children's entertainments and a 'Sea Fish Cookery' marquee where visiting chefs demonstrate seafood preparation. The event celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.
Heroes Welcome is a movement which originated in and is administered from Scarborough to encourage communities to demonstrate support to members of the armed forces. In 2008 a hand-drawn poster stating "Heroes Welcome Here" was displayed in a Scarborough seafront restaurant. From this gesture has evolved a national network of towns, cities and counties. Businesses are invited to display a sticker extending a special welcome to service personnel. Member communities are located as far north as the Oykel Valley in the Scottish Highlands to as far south as the Falkland Islands. The Rock of Gibraltar joined in February 2013. The Heroes Welcome event in Scarborough has become a regular part of Armed Forces Day and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018.
Since 2009 Scarborough has hosted the armed forces day event on the last Saturday of June which includes a display of army vehicles and weapons along the South Bay. The event also includes air displays from various aircraft and ends with a parade along the road. In 2020 Scarborough will be the host town for the national Armed Forces Day event.
The films Little Voice, Possession, and A Chorus of Disapproval were filmed on location in Scarborough and surrounds. Also filmed in the district were scenes from Miranda, Dancing Queen, Beltenbros, The Brides in the Bath and The Damned United. Television series filmed in the area include Heartbeat, its spin-off series The Royal, CBBC's All at Sea, BBC1's Rosie, and scenes from the second series of Five Days. The 2015 series of The Syndicate starring Anthony Andrews, Melanie Hill and Lenny Henry also filmed scenes in Scarborough. A sitcom named Scarborough was filmed in the town in 2019. The show is the brainchild of Derren Litten the creator of ITV hit Benidorm and is to be based on a group of friends who meet up for Karaoke nights in the town. The show first aired on BBC1 on 6 September 2019 in a primetime Friday night slot (9:30 pm) the day before transmission the first two episodes were given a 'world premiere' to an audience at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Scarborough is twinned with:
- Osterode am Harz, Germany [[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/ba/Flag_of_Germany.svg/23px-Flag_of_Germany.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/ba/Flag_of_Germany.svg/35px-Flag_of_Germany.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/ba/Flag_of_Germany.svg/46px-Flag_of_Germany.svg.png 2x|Germany|h14|w23|thumbborder flagicon-img flagicon-img]]
- Cahir, Ireland [[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Flag_of_Ireland.svg/23px-Flag_of_Ireland.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Flag_of_Ireland.svg/35px-Flag_of_Ireland.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Flag_of_Ireland.svg/46px-Flag_of_Ireland.svg.png 2x|Republic of Ireland|h12|w23|thumbborder flagicon-img flagicon-img]]
The six main state secondary schools in Scarborough are Graham School, George Pindar School, Scalby School, and St Augustine's Catholic School. Raincliffe School formally closed on 31 August 2012, merging with Graham School (the Raincliffe site closed completely on 23 June 2017). In September 2016, Scarborough University Technical College (UTC) opened for 14–18-year olds. The campus is part of a £47 million pound development including Coventry University Scarborough Campus and a sports village in the Weaponness Valley.
Scarborough is also home to one private school, Scarborough College (for ages 3 to 18 years). Scarborough College abolished A-levels and has been an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School since June 2006. Ranked within Top 50 independent schools by The Times based on post-16 results, 2017.
Scarborough International School of English, established in 1968 is accredited by the British Council and members of English UK and English UK North. The school offers English Language courses to students from around the world.
There is also a private international language school called Anglolang, established in 1985, which teaches the English language to overseas students, companies, educational institutions, organised groups and individuals.
Education in Scarborough has been notable for its commitment to the digital economy, particularly with the formation of the University of Hull's School of Arts and New Media, at the Scarborough Campus in 2006. This made Scarborough one of the UK mainland's first wireless campuses.
In 2015, Coventry University Scarborough Campus opened in the town with a small first cohort and moved from temporary accommodation to a purpose-built site in September 2016. Ultimately, the university will cater for 3000 students studying an innovative, intensive pattern of study. Further Education is provided by Scarborough Sixth Form College and Yorkshire Coast College, which took over the University of Hull's campus in Scarborough in 2016.
The Scarborough Amateur Rowing Club was founded in May 1869, and is the oldest surviving rowing club on the north-east coast. For more than 100 years, sea rowing has taken place on the Yorkshire coast between the Tees and the Humber. Beginning with friendly rivalry between the fishermen and the jet miners from Blyth (the German Ocean Race), the sport has progressed to what it is today. More recent successes for the club include Bob Hewitt, who now competes as a lightweight rower for the national team. In 2006 the club finally won the acclaimed Wilson Cup, until then held by rival clubs in neighbouring town Whitby for over eighty years. Rowing takes place throughout the summer months.
The Blue Riband event for Scarborough Yacht Club, is the annual 210 nautical mile race, from the town, to IJmuiden in the Netherlands. The Yacht Club is based in the old keepers' accommodation adjoining the lighthouse in the harbour. The lighthouse itself dates from 1806, but it had to be rebuilt following damage sustained in the bombardment of 1914. It is still an active light and is owned and operated by the borough council.
Scarborough is home to the Oliver's Mount racing circuit. This track is composed of twisty public roads and has played host to domestic motorcycling and rallying events for many years. Noted motorcycle racers who have raced at Oliver's Mount include Barry Sheene, Ron Haslam and Guy Martin. The town was the home of the 2nd RAC Rally in 1952. In March 2019 newly formed motorcycle racing club, Two Four Three Road Racing Association was granted a lease to run road races at the venue, they plan to restart road racing at the venue in July 2019 after a year's absence.
Scarborough Cricket Club have won the ECB National Club Cricket Championship at Lord's, on five occasions between 1972 and 1982, a record number of victories. The club also hosts the annual Scarborough Cricket Festival, and Yorkshire play at North Marine Road, in a selection of home fixtures throughout the season. The club has competed in the Yorkshire Premier League North since 2016. The club has enjoyed great success in the Yorkshire League, in the past.
The former Scarborough Football Club enjoyed a career in the Football League during the 1990s before being relegated to the Conference North in 2006 and to the Northern Premier League the following year. One of its greatest achievements was winning the FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium on three occasions and being runners-up on one. They also held the distinction of being the first club to win automatic promotion to the Football League, when in 1987 they were promoted as champions of the GM Vauxhall Conference. In 2007 a new club, Scarborough Athletic, was formed and they play their home matches at the Flamingo Land Stadium, in the town.
In 2007, the town hosted the World Thundercat Championships (for inflatable powerboats), and similar events in 2008 and 2015. Scarborough Rugby Union Football Club moved to a new £4-million ground development, on the outskirts of town in January 2009 (Silver Royd), the club is very ambitious and reached the semi-finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup, in 2015. The venue is also home to Scarborough Athletic Club and many sports facilities. The nationally achieving Scarborough Gymnastics Academy, has a highly developed specialist facility in the west of the town. Scarborough Sports Centre was a past venue for international tennis tournaments, attracting such stars as Fred Perry, Rod Laver and Pancho Gonzales. Scarborough Indoor Bowls Centre is utilized for a variety of events, throughout the year.
The town has two principal golf courses, North Cliff and South Cliff, plus some smaller ventures. Ganton Golf Club, which has hosted tournaments such as the Ryder Cup and Walker Cup, is situated approximately 8 miles to the west of Scarborough.
George Pindar School, which is based at Eastfield, is a Sports Community College, and is home to Scarborough Pirates ARLFC, Scarborough Seahawks Basketball and formerly Scarborough Hockey Club, who are now at Scarborough College. The centre also boasts a state-of-the-art Tennis facility. Scarborough Table Tennis Centre is located at Graham School.
A national martial arts organisation, The Empire Martial Arts Association, is based in Scarborough.
In recent decades, due to frequent low pressure systems in the North Atlantic, Scarborough has also become home to a thriving cold water surfing scene with numerous surf shops and competitions taking place including the King of The Point, a big wave contest designed to show off the quality of surf the North Yorkshire coast can receive.
- Robert de Scardeburgh (died c. 1351), Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
- Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton (1830–1896), painter and sculptor
- Sir Edward James Harland, 1st Baronet (1831–1895), shipbuilder and politician, co-founder of Harland and Wolff
- Florence Balgarnie (1856–1928), suffragette, speaker, pacifist, feminist, temperance activist
- The Sitwells, (b. late 1800s), artistic, musical and literary family
- James Paul Moody, (1887–1912), Sixth Officer of the RMS Titanic
- Charles Laughton (1899–1962), actor, screenwriter, film producer and director
- John Hick (1922–2012), philosopher of religion
- Jimmy Savile (1926–2011), media personality and prolific sex offender. Resided in Scarborough and is buried there in an unmarked grave.
- Sir Alan Ayckbourn (b. 1939), playwright
- Susan Hill (b. 1942), novelist
- Dick Hewitt (1943–2017), Moorthorpe-born footballer
- Sir Ben Kingsley (b. 1943), (b. Snainton, 1943), Oscar-winning actor
- Dame Penelope Wilton (b. 1946), actress
- John Senior (b. 1960), survivor of the Lakonia disaster and founder of Heroes Welcome UK
- Paul Ingle (b. 1972), former IBF featherweight champion
- Jake Pratt (b. 1996), English actor