My Scarborough. A Note From The Administrator

This website is not only a celebration of the theatre which has become indelibly linked with Scarborough since 1955, but also the town itself which has nurtured and supported the Stephen Joseph Theatre - even if there's been the odd difficulty in the relationship at times!
Both the Stephen Joseph Theatre and Scarborough are places which have a place in my heart (hence this somewhat obsessive website dedicated to all things SJT). My parents brought me to the town at the age of one and it's been my home ever since - even when I left, I ended up returning to this beautiful town on the North Yorkshire coast.
This page includes a few of the things which make it so special to me and which I recommend any visitor to the town take time to visit and enjoy. There are obviously many more treats in store, but these are just a few of the places which make this town very special to me.


Stephen Joseph Theatre: Obviously! Founded by British theatre pioneer Stephen Joseph in 1955, this has become an internationally renowned venue and is well known as Alan Ayckbourn's home theatre. The playwright has premiered the vast majority of his plays here (and continues to do so), where he directs them and presents them in-the-round (Scarborough is the only place in the world where you can see an Ayckbourn play directed and performed as the playwright intended!). The theatre also has a thriving tradition of producing and encouraging new writing and has helped nurtured the likes of Tim Firth, Torben Betts, Ben Brown, David Campton and many others.
Scarborough Art Gallery: A town treasure, this small gallery located in an 1840s villa in The Crescent gardens features a number of exhibitions each year alongside the town's own collection of works.
Scarborough Museums Trust
Woodend Creative: An artistic and creative business hub in Scarborough based in the former home of the Sitwell family, this also hosts exhibitions, events and concerts and always has an interesting schedule of events.
Woodend Creative Scarborough
Seafest: An annual weekend festival centred around Scarborough Harbour generally during the last weekend of July. Seafest celebrates the town's connection with the sea and its history as well as having a thriving food & drink element with cooking demonstrations by leading local chefs as well as stalls with local produce and drink. There's music from local bands and nothing beats sitting on a deckchair in the sun with a pint from a local brewery listening to musical talent from the area.
Coastival: During the winter months, Coastival is a celebration of the diversity of the arts in Scarborough ranging from performing arts to music to exhibitions and much more. During 2014 and 2016, the Coastal hosted two major community arts events, the promenade Orpheus The Mariner - which boasted one of the world's tallest puppets - and The Song Of Leviathan, both created by local company Animated Objects. Coastival is a wonderful way to brighten up the long winter nights in the town.


The North Bay beach: Scarborough has a dual personality which I've never experienced in any other seaside town. The South Bay is home to the amusement arcades, chippies, ice cream parlours, harbour and flashing lights. Whilst the North Bay is far more gentle and relaxing with its colourful chalets, long beach which is popular with surfers and a more laid back and quiet feel. It's near the famous Peasholm Park and Europe's largest open air theatre and is a place to relax and catch the rays without the bustle of the other bay. My best friend, Lizzie, also recommends the paddling. At any time of the year!
Scarborough Castle: On the headland which divides the two bays and overlooking the entire town is the magnificent ruins of the 12th century castle. Further details can be found via the link at the top of the page.
The Italian Gardens and the Esplanade: Beautiful gardens beneath the South Bay promenade. A place to walk in the sun and enjoy the peace. There's a star map at the foot of the gardens, the long-standing Clock Cafe - arguably the best scones in the town - as well as a putting green. It's a lovely part of the town which isn't as appreciated as much as it should be.
Oliver's Mount: Everyone visiting Scarborough has to trek to the top of the Mount at least once (preferably not running from the bottom as my sadistic sports teachers used to make us do for cross-country). The Memorial at the peak offers an exceptional view of the whole of the town and on Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve, there are the best fireworks views you'll find in Scarborough.
The North Yorkshire Moors: Just a 10 minute drive from the town and you're in the beautiful moors. Better yet, you can visit the moors as you head up to Whitby, another gorgeous seaside town with a rich history and the birthplace of one of the world's most famous literary monsters, Dracula.

Cafes & Restaurants

Lanterna Restaurant: Virtually a Scarborough institution for four decades and long one of the playwright Alan Ayckbourn's favourite restaurants. Award-winning and officially recognised in Italy for its work promoting the country's culinary heritage, the Lanterna is located in the old town and is one of Scarborough's finest - and most popular - restaurants. The Lanterna is renowned for its white truffle dishes (sourced by the owner personally from Italy) and offers a refined taste of Italy (not the place for a quick pizza).
Lazenby's on York Place: Billed as Scarborough's only bistro, Lazenby's is a bistro / brasserie, cocktail and wine bar serving homemade dishes with ingredients sourced locally & throughout Yorkshire. Situated within walking distance of the SJT, its friendly atmosphere - and very helpful staff - make it a perfect pre-show dining option for the theatre.
The bistro is set in a Georgian listed building, on York Place and offers you to eat in a very modern but relaxed friendly atmosphere,Website:
The Magpie Cafe: A bit of a cheat here - if you want truly delicious fish and chips in Scarborough, you need to head up the coast to Whitby where you'll be spoilt by a number of great fish and chip restaurants. Prime among them is the acclaimed and award-winning Magpie Cafe on Pier Road. There's no bookings, so there's generally a queue to get in, but if fish and seafood is what you enjoy, this is the place to be.
Capplemans: Scarborough does have a number of nice fish and chip shops though and my personal preference is Capplemans, located just off Prospect Road.
Website: Capplemans on Facebook
Expresso Yourself: In the past several years, Scarborough has undergone a coffee renaissance with a number of independent coffee houses appearing in the town. I'd recommend supporting any of them as they all tend to do fine coffee and cake, but my personal favourite is Expresso Yourself on Falconer's Road (opposite the Palm Court Hotel). The coffee is excellent and abundant and the cakes are particularly good.
Website: Expresso Yourself on Facebook
The Watermark: A popular beachside cafe in the North Bay, it has great views of the sea and good coffee. During the summer, it features a popular Sunday evening concert series featuring local musical talent. With an outside seating area, it's very busy during the summer months, but a nice treat in the winter for visitors and residents.
Website: Watermark Cafe on Facebook
Eat Me Cafe: Located just behind the SJT on Hanover Road, this is a good venue for a pre-show treat. The varied menu includes excellent burgers - often in intriguing combinations - and is particularly flexible with regard to coeliac and gluten-free dining.
Harbour Bar: Another Scarborough institution since 1945, an old-fashioned ice cream parlour that just serves up the best locally made ice cream with some fantastic sundaes or just the twin flavoured cones. If you haven't had a Harbour Bar ice cream whilst walking on the Foreshore, you haven't really visited Scarborough. And if you haven't done the same in the height of winter, you're probably not from around here….

Everything on this page is the author's own choice and represents just some of his favourite places in Scarborough. The page is not sponsored nor do any of the organisations / venues contribute to the website in any way.

Simon Murgatroyd

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