Marine Drive, Scarborough

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2020

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

Scarborough with its ruined castle has been a popular holiday resort for 150 years. The two sandy beaches on either side of the castle headland were linked by the construction of the “Marine Drive”: in the late C19th.

Although there was a lot of local opposition to the road, it had the great advantage of stabilising the cliff face below the castle and stopping further coastal erosion. Land slips were common and since it had been built, the area of the castle had decreased from 60 to 15 acres.

The Marine Drive was the first ever marine carriage way to be built and has been copied elsewhere. It took nine years to complete and was opened by one of Queen Victoria’s sons. It was originally a toll road with a charge of 1d regardless of whether you were walking, on horseback or travelling in a motor car, carriage or even a bath chair. Surprisingly, motor cycles were charged at 2d plus 1d for extra passengers.The tolls were abolished during the Second World War, although the splendid toll house is still at the start of the drive above the south beach.

The Marine Drive is still a popular walk and there is a wide pavement next to the sea. There are a series of information panels along the walk. Porpoises and dolphins can be seen out at sea and peregrine falcons nest on the headland cliffs. There is a large semicircular seating area next to Yorkshire water pumping station at the souther end of the drive

In summer the drive is busy with traffic and there is car parking along the side of the road below the castle. There is even an open top bus that runs between the two bays.

I did the walk on a cold, blustery and damp day at the end of October. There were a few other brave walkers but little traffic. If there is a “strong sea running “: be prepared to get wet!


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