29km (18 miles) NW of Bridlington; 55km (34 miles) NE of York; 407km (253 miles) N of London
Scarborough, one of the first seaside resorts in Britain, has been attracting visitors for more than 3 centuries. A mineral spring discovered in the early 17th century led to the establishment of a spa that lured clients with promises of its water's healing benefits. In the 18th century, swimmers were attracted to the waters off the coast -- sea bathing had come into vogue, and the beaches of England swarmed with tourists taking part in the craze.
The city of Scarborough is divided into two unique districts separated by a green headland that holds the remains of Scarborough Castle, which dates from Norman times. South of the headland, the town conforms to its historical molds. High cliffs and garden walks interspersed with early Victorian residences dominate the landscape. The north side is touristier; souvenir shops and fast-food stands line the promenade. Rock candy (brightly colored hard candy that can be etched with the saying of your choice) and candy floss (cotton candy) satisfy even the most die-hard sweet tooth.
For more information about what to see and do while you're in Scarborough, visit the Tourist Information Centre, Pavilion House, Valley Bridge Road (tel. 01723/373333; www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com), open May to September daily 9am to 5pm; the rest of the year, it's open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4:30pm.
Trains leave London approximately every 30 minutes headed for York, where you'll have to transfer to another train. The entire trip takes just 2 hours and 10 minutes. For more information on schedules and prices, call tel. 0845/748-4950 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk. Three buses a day leave London heading for York; another will take you from York to Scarborough. If you're taking the bus, plan on spending most of a day riding. For National Express bus service, call tel. 0870/580-8080 or visit www.nationalexpress.com.