Friday, 16 September 2011

SCARBOROUGH

Scarborough is the premier resort on the Yorkshire coast, consisting of two bays, North Bay and South Bay, divided by the Castle Headland. Its future as a holiday resort was probably secured in 1845 with the opening of the railway station, but its history goes way back to the Bronze Age; relics of Bronze Age man have been found in the locality. Later on, Romans, Vikings and successive English Kings all left their mark. A fascinating timeline of the town’s history can be found on the resort’s website. One of the most impressive relics of this history is Scarborough Castle, which was first built in 1136. Scarborough was an important trading centre in the late Middle Ages, and there was an annual Fair, immortalised by Simon and Garfunkel in their song Scarborough Fair, which was 45 days long and was held each year from mid-August. The Fair attracted merchants from all over Northern Europe and from the Byzantine Empire. Moving forward in time, Scarborough became a target of the Germans during World War I when victims of attacks by German warships included both cargo ships and smaller fishing vessels.

Not surprisingly, a town with such a long history has its share of ghosts, and the many attractions on offer to visitors include guided ghost walks. Other attractions include the miniature North Bay Railway, the Sea Life Centre and the Open Air Theatre, which is the largest in Europe. One of the most unusual activities to be found in the resort is at Peasholm Park, where naval battles are reenacted, enlivened by special effects which include bombs, gunfire and wire-guided aircraft. As a prelude to this surreal experience, an organist does a turn on a floating pagoda. As is to be expected in a seaside town, especially in Yorkshire, fish and chips loom large in the resort’s gastronomic delights. In fact there is one type of fish, which I have tried and can recommend, which takes one of its names from the town: Scarborough woof. Bizarrely, in spite of its doggy name, it is actually a type of catfish.

For a list of events in Scarborough, see here.

Map of the area.

'Scarborough Castle' photo (c) 2011, Ingy The Wingy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

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