Scarborough Castle

Scarborough Castle

A well-known landmark along the Yorkshire Coast, Scarborough Castle ‘towers’ above the busy harbour, South Bay and North Bay.

Scarborough Castle

A steep climb to the entrance, then another incline and you’re beneath the remains of Scarborough Castle’s impressive tower or keep, damaged during the Civil War.

Cared for by English Heritage, this stunning monument is worth a visit if you either live in Scarborough or are taking your holiday in the seaside resort.

Ancient Times at Scarborough Castle

Various excavations at the Castle reveal settlements occurred  around 800 and 500 BC.  

During the 4th and 5th Centuries AD there is evidence of Roman activity.

Skip forward to the 12th Century, and William le Gros, Count of Aumale, built the Castle, and the reigning monarch King Stephen made him Earl of York.

Henry II

The first Plantaganet King was on the throne from 1154 to 1189.

In 1152,  Henry marries one of the most powerful women of the period, Eleanor of Acquitaine.

Henry is crowned King in December 1154.

During his reign, Scarborough Castle passes to the Crown and underwent expensive renovations 1159 to 1169.

Henry also places a new town beneath the Castle walls and builds the Great Tower.

The Tower

King John

This monarch is known to have visited Scarborough and spent more on the Castle than any other in the kingdom.

Henry III

Under his reign (1216  to 1272) Scarborough Castle is provisioned and maintained and became one of the greatest royal fortresses in England. 

Richard III

This divisive monarch is thought to be the last King to stay in the Castle in 1484.

Henry VIII

He of six wives did not rule over a land that followed him to the letter. Far from it.

The Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion broke out in 1536 during which Sir Ralpe Eure supported the King and held the Castle successfully. 

The Civil War at Scarborough Castle

During the Civil War, Scarborough Castle serves as an important Royalist base.

However in 1645, following a length siege, the Castle is bombarded and the Tower is terribly damaged.

About half of it is sheared off and what most of what you see today is the result of this very violent time in history. 

Castle Remains

Serving Time

In the 1650s, the Castle is also a prison and among those held there is George Fox, found of The Society of Friends (the Quakers).

Lots to explore

First World War

The most recent conflict which directly affected Scarborough is the First World War.

In December 1914, German warships fired over 500 shells on the town, killing 17 civilians.

Scarborough’s Lighthouse is also damaged during the attack. Read all about it here.

English Heritage

English Heritage took over caring for the Castle in 1984.

Scarborough Castle Today

Scarborough Castle remains one of the finest monuments along the Yorkshire Coast. 

On entering the Castle, you can’t fail to be impressed by the steep cobbled footpath up to the Tower.

You must take in the views on either side, offering views of the North and South Bays.

Stunning Views

Open Spaces

As well as the incredible viewing platform, you can also explore the grounds which cover the cliff top.

Remains of walls, chambers and other aspects are there to see.

It’s great for the kids as the sheer drops down the cliff faces are well protected and there’s lots of open space to run off some steam!

You can easily conjure up images in your mind of the impressive Castle Walls which once surrounded the entire area. 

Anything New?

For 2022, following the restrictions and lockdowns of the Covid-19 Pandemic, a new sculpture is in place. 

Ryan Gander’s Wild Eye sculpture
is now installed, highlighting the importance of protecting local wildlife and addressing climate change

Wild Eye Nature

Visit the Castle

Visit Scarborough Castle