Walks: A beautiful walk along splendid coastline

Rotunda Museum, Scarborough.
Rotunda Museum, Scarborough.

This beautiful walk of three miles or so, reveals Scarborough’s splendid coastline, spectacular views and magnificent gardens.

Start from Newborough’s shopping precinct, and take St Nicholas Street, passing the town hall (the former St Nicholas House), which was opened on July 28, 1903, by Princess Henry of Battenburg.

Veer left towards the tramway to the beach, and observing Marine Parade and McBean Apartments, continue a few paces ahead to the Grand Hotel. Walking in front of this hotel, pause to read a wall plaque about Anne Bronte. Next, return to the aforementioned McBean Apartments, to discover Caffe Italia also to your left, overlooking a patio, and work of art on adjacent walling. Now descend McBean steps to Foreshore Road.

Turn right towards the impressive Rotunda Museum, veering left across the underground ‘parking’ area, with its fine, paved terraces.

Pass beneath Cliff Bridge and turn right to the Spa Complex at the far end of Foreshore Road. These magnificent buildings designed by Thomas Verity, date from the mid-19th century, with developments later.

Acidic ‘medicinal waters’ flowing into South Bay, were discovered by a Mrs Farrer in 1626. You’ll find them down steps near the bus turn-around, but they’re very rust-coloured! The Spa waters were extolled several times in print, and Scarborough rose in popularity.

Glance back towards the lovely bay and majestic Castle Hill. Next, follow low stone walling to the edge of the sea. Here was Scarborough’s outdoor South Bay Bathing Pool – alas no more. The area was converted into a Star Disc, where people could identify ‘heavenly bodies’.

Beyond this area, tree planting took place in an attempt to stabilise the cliff and help prevent land slippage.

Before you is a massive sea wall, created to strengthen the coastline. It consists of 30,000 tons of Norwegian granite.

These granite boulders were placed at the base of the massive landslip of June 1993. Since the loss of the Holbeck Hall Hotel, the site has been a focus for residents and tourists alike.

A concrete ramp leads you onto a broad track, soon turning right to ascend the cliff side. Reaching the cliff top at Sea Cliff car park, turn right. Lawned verges and seating provide an admirable view point and resting place. Near the car park’s entrance is a commemorative plaque set in a granite boulder. A raised embankment leads you into Sea Cliff Road. Continue up the road, turning right at cross roads along Holbeck Hill, and right again down Esplanade Crescent.

Near Holbeck Road and the Esplanade are the Shuttleworth Gardens, presented to the town in 1917. See the miniature rock and water garden.

Opposite the Red Court, where Alfred Shuttleworth lived, is Holbeck Clock Tower at the main entrance to Holbeck Gardens. Walk through the clock tower to read a plaque: ‘Alfred Shuttleworth presented this clock tower to the Borough of Scarborough in the year of the Coronation of King George V AD 1911’.

Descend steps to the putting green, opened in the summer of 1925. Here, turn left beside recessed seating and then go right to reach the cliff edge. Turn left beside fencing where seating provides a view overlooking the Star Disc area and arrows direct you into the Italian Gardens. From the terrace of the south shelter, you can absorb the beauty of these remarkable gardens which were opened in 1914. In the centre is a lily pond with a statue of Mercury. It was presented to the town by Alfred Shuttleworth in 1911.

Beyond the rich tapestry of flowers, a ‘staircase’ ascends to the north pergola shelter. At the foot of these ‘stairs’ turn right and walk between a plantation of trees and the wooded cliff along a path. Keep close to a raised embankment on the left. You may see a sign to Clock Cafe. If so, turn left and a footpath winds its way beneath trees to reach the Esplanade above, opposite Avenue Victoria. Turn right and follow the Esplanade to its farthest end, then continue left as the road swings into Belmont Road, alongside the gleaming white Esplanade Hotel. At the far end of the Cumberland Hotel, leave the road by a flight of steps off right.

Meeting the road turn immediately right into Birdcage Walk, below the lofty Cumberland Hotel. Admire views across Valley Gardens to Wood End and the art gallery. Ramsdale Valley became the People’s Park in 1860. It was renamed Valley Gardens in 1912.

Turn left down steps to the road. Turn right towards Cliff Bridge, and cross to the Rotunda Museum. Pass in front of the Rotunda Museum, and ascend alongside an interesting block of terraced properties, including a cafe with grand views. Feeling refreshed, a steep flight of steps returns you to the Grand Hotel and St Nicholas Cliff.

Distance: 3 miles approx. Terrain good throughout, but unsuitable for wheelchairs, with steep ascents and steps.

Refreshment: Several good spots en route.