Introduction to a walking tour around the Old Town

The history of the seaside is effectively mirrored in the history and heritage of Scarborough. Many of the buildings that you will see on the Scarborough Heritage Trail represent milestones on this long and eventful journey from obscure fishing village to thriving
seaside town. From the mid 17th century onwards, the far-spreading fame of the medicinal Spa waters brought the rich, the well-connected and the fashionable to Scarborough every season. Much earlier than anywhere else, too, sea bathing became an acceptable feature of the ‘Scarborough Experience’. These discerning early visitors sought pleasure as well as health. They demanded - and were prepared to pay for - the best of everything, from accommodation, food and drink to theatrical performances, elegant balls and banquets. By following the Heritage Trail, you will be able to trace some of the development in the social, religious, literary and artistic life of the rapidly growing town, and the buildings associated with each sphere of activity. The Heritage Trail also provides a glimpse or two of the earlier medieval walled town, when the narrow streets were thronged with cowled monks and friars as well as with the
European seafarers and traders attracted to the busy port for the trade outlets it offered. Later, during the 18th and early 19th centuries, shipbuilding vied in importance with holidaymaking as a major source of economic growth. Here too, the Heritage Trail gives
you an insight into the great days of sail as well as of the men who built and owned the ocean-going wooden vessels. Places, events and people described in this booklet represent a necessarily selective choice of historic sites, mostly located in or near what is now called the ‘Old Town’, where the traditional fishing community first established itself before the Norman Conquest. Fishing remains a feature of the local economy today.