Walks: Scarborough’s heritage leads the way

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Enjoy this wonderfully varied route, incorporating Scarborough’s heritage, history, a famous artist, Anne Bronte’s grave, sculptures, harbour and the market hall’s £2.7 million refurbishment.

Start. First, explore the Market Hall in St Helen’s Square. In 2016 it underwent a £2.7 million refurbishment with the installation of a new mezzanine floor, providing space for additional trading units and food court. It was officially opened in April 2017. Take refreshment in the cafe before beginning your walk and leave the Market Vaults for your return.

Merchants Row This area was a smugglers’ haunt, and secret passages have been found in local properties

Leaving the market, head north up Cross Street, and continue into Auborough Street, swinging right into Castle Road, with The Scarborough Arms and Wilson’s Mariners’ Homes ahead. Castle Road swiftly leads to St Mary’s Church. Beyond the car park’s walling, you’ll find Anne Bronte’s grave near Church Lane.

At the ‘T’ sign opposite, turn left along Mulgrave Place. View the impressive white and yellow-trimmed Castle-by-the-Sea. A blue wall plaque reads: “From 1826-1829 home of famous artist John Atkinson Grimshaw”. His paintings are mysterious and gorgeous. He was very interested in the effects of light, and moonlight. His parents were dead against art. His mother threw his paints in the fire and turned off the gas at night, so he couldn’t see to work! Despite all – his pictures are compelling!

Just beyond is Cottage-by-the-Sea, as you reach a rail on the cliff top. Stand here and gaze north at the spectacular view over The Sands, the Sea Life Centre, and fabulous coastline. Turn right to mount short flights of about 46 steps. Now admire the view to your left over the zig-zag footpaths across the Holms, and Royal Albert Drive to the sea.

Walk towards the castle ahead, with grassed bank to your right. Curving left towards the castle’s main entrance, descend three steps to rejoin Castle Road, unless you wish to visit the castle.

From the footpath sign close by, go right as to the Old Town, South Bay and Harbour. Descend about 66 steps to follow the moat to your left, with a children’s recreation area, and woodland beyond. Keep heading to the Old Town, Harbour and Sands, with high-backed seats, and benches punctuating your way. At a forking of ways, keep to the level, and lamp-posted walkway, to reach part of the castle wall, and archway with metal ‘gateway’.

Immediately prior to this, go sharp right to descend long, broad steps. Meeting a good, descending path, turn left down many short flights of steps to the traffic island at the start of Scarborough’s Marine Drive.

Cross the busy road with care, towards ‘Shell Shack’ between ‘The Tea Pot’ and the big wheel. Ascend steps near Shell Shack to the Marine Drive, and cafe seating area. There you’ll discover a stainless steel tunny fish sculpted by Ray Lonsdale, as a symbol of Scarborough’s tunny fishing in bygone years. An information plaque on nearby walling provides details.

Descend the steps, and head due west along Sandside beside the busy harbour scene. Then reaching the West Pier, seek Eastborough off right. Leaving Sandside, ascend Eastborough, veering sharply left and still climbing towards the town centre.

Approaching Newborough, seek to your left the blue and white Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre containing copious information and treasured artefacts regarding Scarborough’s heritage. This museum is free, and open to all from Wednesday to Sunday. [Closed Monday and Tuesday]

Immediately beyond, bear left just off Newborough into Merchants Row. This lovely little area, tucked away behind the shops is home to a couple of smugglers, bearing their barrels of brandy to home shores. Admirably sculpted in corten steel by Ray Lonsdale, it conveys a message to the smuggler’s apprentice, as seen on the inscribed plate. This area was a smugglers’ haunt, and secret passages have been found in local properties. [All corten steel sculptures are to be cleaned and treated with Owatrol oil this September.]

With your route almost completed, proceed up Newborough only as far as St Helen’s Square off right. Turn up here to return to the Market Hall. This time, why not enjoy exploring the basement or vaults? Originally used as a bonded warehouse, records show that in the late 1800s Henry Welburn & Co used the bonded warehouse – his original business being as a wine and spirit merchant, as well as groceries, provisions and Italian goods. The vaults as they’re now called, were converted into shop units in 1993, and these are now leased to a variety of traders and crafters. They sell antiques and uniquely created items. This maze of small shops underneath the market hall may exhibit just the item you require. Go and have a good rummage to end your day, and don’t forget the cafe following your hot walk!

Distance: 2.5 miles circular approximately.

Refreshment: A great choice all along the route.

NB easy walking but many steps.