5 Surprising Things Scarborough Is Famous For

The popular holiday resort of Scarborough is known for much more than its sandy beaches, donkey rides and seafront cafés. Scarborough has a fair few touristic features that draw people to the area, whether this be Anne Brontë’s place of rest or the Victorian architecture of The Grand Hotel. These things may seem fairly obvious to locals, but to people who are visiting the area, or considering a move to Scarborough, these facts of fame may be surprising. 

Anne Brontë has many connections to Scarborough

Did you know Anne Brontë has strong connections with the seaside town of Scarborough? Anne Brontë moved to the area to work as a governess to the children of Reverend Edmund Robinson of Thorp Green Hall – their home was based on the outskirts of York with easy access to Scarborough.

Although required to work and earn her keep, Anne Brontë still pursued her passion for literature. The house of her employment later appeared in her novel Agnes Grey under the name ‘Horton Lodge’. It was said that Anne loved to visit Scarborough and walk beside the sea in her free time.

At a young age Anne Brontë became ill with influenza and later died of tuberculosis on 28th May 1849, aged just 29. She was visiting the seaside resort of when she passed away – she believed the sea air would help alleviate her illness.  

Anne Brontë is now buried at St Mary’s Church graveyard in Scarborough. Thousands of tourists visit this historic institute ever year to pay their respects and remember her life.

Scarborough has a history of delicious ice cream

Undoubtably the most famous ice cream parlour in Scarborough is Harbour Bar. This famous ice cream shop was opened in 1945 by an Italian family – the Alonzi’s. The Alonzi family were ice cream connoisseurs and soon their business became a huge success.

To this day, Harbour Bar still stands proud and serves the public with their delicious ice cream. With a multitude of flavours, it is hard to select a favourite!

Scarborough is home to the first cliff tramway

The central tramway is one of five cliff lifts that takes nearly half a million tourists down to the sands every year – it is another one of Scarborough’s touristic hotspots. The central tramway was installed in 1881 costing £10,000 – that’s equivalent to over £1 million today! The carriages that take the public down to the beach and back up were initially powered by steam and housed a driver each. Over the years the Victorian engineering of the tramways has changed drastically – in 2009 they became automated meaning they no longer required manual operation.

If you choose to take a ride down the cliff you can expect the journey to last around 30 seconds. With regular maintenance taking place, the tramways are still running today with the exception of a limited timetable over the winter period.

The mystery of The Grand Hotel

According to Historic Britain, The Grand Hotel is referred to as one of the top ten historical sites to visit in England. The grade II listed hotel took 4 years to build, officially opening its doors in 1867. The building cost approximately £100,000 which equates to over £11 million in today’s money. The hotel consisted of 4 towers to represent the 4 seasons, 12 floors to signify each month within the year, 52 chimneys to denote the weeks of the year and 365 rooms to symbolise each day of the year.

The prestigious hotel has encountered a lot of damage over the years, with wartime activity sending previous owners into financial difficulties. World War Two saw The Grand Hotel base the RAF – the four famous towers were used as turrets for anti-aircraft guns and provided safety to the east coastline.

The hotel has passed hands numerous times over the decades and has been met with various refurbishment schemes. Currently the hotel is owned by Britannia who invested £7 million in 2006 to maintain the high standard the hotel was always renowned for. 

The mineral waters of Scarborough Spa

In the early 1700s mineral waters were discovered in the cliffs of Scarborough’s shore. These waters were renowned for their medicinal properties – this revelation led to the creation of the Scarborough Spa. The water was sold to tourists who thought it would aid their ailments and improve their health.

As the popularity of Scarborough grew, a complex of cafés, bars, theatres and concert venues were built in the area. Today, the spa waters are no longer consumed, and the wells are not accessible to the public due to health and safety regulations. However, the spa buildings are still bustling with visitors that gather to view concerts and performances at the venues on site.

There is more to Scarborough than meets the eye, with buildings standing tall on the waterfront and ancient ruins representing the wealth of history the seaside town possesses – it is clear to see why thousands flock to the shores every year.

Fancy experiencing the history of Scarborough on a daily basis? Take a look at our properties for sale in the area… you could own your very own piece of history.

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