Apart from York, I don’t think there’s anywhere that represents my childhood quite like Scarborough.
For the uninitiated, Scarborough is a seaside town in North Yorkshire. For anyone growing up in North Yorkshire during the early-mid 90s, Scarborough was the place to go on your holidays. Unless, of course, you were really rich and went abroad on your holidays – which no one was, because the pits were closed, the jobs were gone and everyone was on the dole. But I digress.
I went to Scarborough almost every summer with my family. We always stayed in a caravan – one of those Haven holiday parks with a middle-aged man dressed as a tiger, trying to get everyone to do Agadoo – and we loved it. We went to some ‘nicer’ places too, like Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby, but Scarborough was always my favourite. In Scarborough, you could get sticks of rock that simultaneously smashed your teeth and glued them together. You could ride a donkey from one end of the beach to another (I feel terrible about this now, but it was the 90s and we just didn’t know). Your dad could catch crabs from the sea and you could pick apart their legs and eat them. You could collect a bucketful of shells and leave them outside the caravan in baking heat until the stench was simply awful.
Seriously, who needed Disney World?
I think it’s been about 15 years since I last went to Scarborough. Despite living pretty close, as an adult the dodgy seafood, almost-constant drizzle and unethical commercialisation of animals just hasn’t appealed to me in the same way. But when Rob and I were at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel for our anniversary celebrations, Scarborough was within sniffing distance (that sea air, those fish and chips) and we couldn’t resist.
We had THE BEST time in Scarborough. It was so lovely to stroll along the beach, despite the drizzle I knew would be present. We explored the colourful beach huts, watched dogs chasing waves and bought fudge, because that’s what you do when you’re in Scarborough.
I was actually secretly pleased it wasn’t boiling hot and sunny – firstly because that’s just not how summer holidays in Yorkshire turn out (it always rains. Always) and secondly because I got the chance to wear my snazzy new Barbour jacket, kindly sent to me by the people themselves. It’s lovely and quilt-y and perfect for this inbetweeny time of year.
If you’re in Yorkshire and fancy a nostalgic day out – even if you’ve never been before, the candyfloss and arcade grabbers will surely remind you of simpler times – head over to Scarborough and breathe in all that fresh sea air. It’s slightly tinged with the smell of greasy cheeseburgers and faded glory, but enjoyable all the same.