Bicycles, boots, dogs, fish & chips and a castle - discovering everything Scarborough has to offer
Fish and chips on the seafront, dog walking along the beach and endless hours playing the 2p slot machines typifies what many of us get up to at the good-old British seaside.
And after deciding to travel to the North Yorkshire coast for a spontaneous break, that is exactly what we did with our four-legged friend Snoopy.
I'd never been to Scarborough before, but during three fun-filled activity-packed days in the picture-postcard town, I realised it offered so much more than what I expected.
WHERE TO STAY
First-time buyers in Northumberland fork out an average of £149,300
These are the best places to live in Northumberland according to Zoopla
15 fabulous homes for sale on the Northumberland coast
These are the 10 best fish and chip restaurants in Northumberland according to Tripadvisor
The best 15 fish and chips takeaways in Northumberland as rated by TripAdvisor
As far as dog-friendly hotels in Scarborough go, look no further than the Bike and Boot on Cliff Bridge Terrace.
Only opening in July last year, its location couldn't be better as the hotel is proudly perched on a cliff-side overlooking the beautiful South Bay, with only a short walk down to the beach and other attractions including the 100ft-high ferris wheel, amusement arcades and bustling shops and restaurants.
A stroll in the other direction will lead you to the town's much more modern shopping centre which has all the high street names you'd expect to see.
As the name suggests, Bike and Boot is the ideal accommodation for travelling cyclists and walkers, as well as keen surfers and families just there to enjoy a few days at the seaside.
The hotel stays true to its theme with so many quirky 'bike' and 'boot' ornaments and decorations dotted around, leaving you in no doubt to where you are staying.
Rooms vary in size, but all have the same nifty facilities ideal for solo travellers, couples, large groups and dogs. As well as a stunning sea view, our impressive suite featured a king-size bed, lock-up safe, coffee machine and mini-bar along with a pet bed and complimentary toy for the whippet, which was a lovely gesture.
Just through reception there's the 'Retreat' lounge, which was a great place to relax after a long walk, with the added perk of free hot drinks provided all day and cake in the afternoon. The hotel also shows daily movies in the Film Club and has facilities in the Wadobi where you can groom your pooch, store bicycles and wash any dirty garments.
A hot buffet and continental breakfast is also available in the mornings to ensure you'll have plenty of calories to burn during your activity-filled day.
WHAT TO DO
If you want to mix up your stay with a bit of history and culture, Scarborough Castle is a must-visit. Not only is it steeped in 3,000-years of history, it's also within walking distance from the town centre.
With the threatening rain holding off, we spent an enjoyable couple of hours exploring the castle grounds while gaining a fascinating insight into its past from Iron Age settlements to the Roman signal station, medieval chapel and its involvement in some of England's most defining battles.
On a clear day the panoramic views of the dramatic Yorkshire coastline from the castle headland will take your breath away.
It's also worth spending a day exploring the tranquil North Bay, which can be reached from the south via a windy walk along Marine Drive, where you can look down, watch the crashing waves and even spot some of the North Sea wildlife if you're lucky.
A more family-friendly way of getting there is on the miniature North Bay Railway train, which sets off from the picturesque Peasholm Park and terminates near the Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills.
With the dog allowed to hop on too, it was the ideal opportunity to rest our weary legs for a few minutes before another long stroll across the sandy North Bay beach, which has a distinctly wilder feel than the more commercialised South Bay.
If you don't want to venture too far and fancy a journey back in time the historic Central Tramway is yards away from the Bike and Boot and it's worth the £1.20 fare if you're looking for a more sedate form of travel to the promenade.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
When it comes to dining in Scarborough, the Bike and Boot's own Bareca restaurant is a great place to start. Open to the public as well as guests, it offers a varied menu of Mediterranean classics, pizza, pasta and grills along with a selection of craft ales, cocktails and smoothies.
The spianata piccante and pumpkin seed and feta cheese pizzas we sampled were delicious, along with the epic fruity and chocolate ice cream sundaes devoured afterwards, which were real belly-busters.
The South Bay promenade is dominated by fish and chip shops, but there are plenty of other dog-friendly places to eat and drink if you don't fancy indulging in the British staple.
If the weather is good, the Rooftop on Quay Street is a great little place to enjoy a drink with a view and Taylor's Bar & Kitchen in the North Bay overlooking the beach is a pleasant hangout.
If you're looking for somewhere further inland The BellyRub micro pub on Victoria Street offers a large range of craft beers and comfort food and also has its own shop round the corner. Other dog-friendly pubs to recommend are The Courtyard and Hole in the Wall, both on Vernon Road.
As for food, fish and chips can be enjoyed anywhere in Scarborough, but you won't be disappointed with The Anchor or The Famous Fish Pan, both of which rank highly in the TripAdvisor charts.
For something a little more upmarket, The Green Room Brasserie on Bar Street offers an authentic mix of English, French and Asian dishes in a unique and cosy atmosphere, with the quality three-course set menu drawn up by Michelin-trained head chef Philip Akrill a real snip at £28 per person.
BIKE AND BOOT INN – Throughout May and June the Bike Boot is offering free breakfasts for guests staying a minimum two nights midweek (only when guests book the offer direct). Rooms start from £73 on a room-only basis. Address: Cliff Bridge Terrace, Scarborough, YO11 2HA; Tel: 01723 655555; Email bookings: [email protected]
SCARBOROUGH CASTLE – Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm throughout summer. Prices from £7.10pp for adults, families from £12.60. Free entry for English Heritage members.
For more information on Scarborough, visit the Welcome to Yorkshire website.