Scarborough, England

As the subject of many stories and folk songs, you've probably already heard of Scarborough, England even if you've never been there. The good news is that Scarborough lives up to the songs and more.

Allegedly founded by a Viking explorer, Scarborough has seen many battles, razings and takeovers since it was first established in 966 AD. Archaeological study suggests that the Vikings were there first, then the Romans, then perhaps the Saxons; all history knows for sure is that King Henry II claimed the area around 1155 and built castles on the cliffs to be inherited by his descendents. This leaves more than a century unrecorded and unaccounted for, lending to Scarborough's mystery and its irresistible attraction to visitors.South Bay Beach Scarborough, England

These days, you're more likely to find department stores than Vikings, though Scarborough still celebrates its heritage with places like the Ayton Tower House and the aforementioned Scarborough Castle. You can also visit the grave of Anne Bronte, the youngest of the famous Bronte sisters, or perhaps Hairy Bob's Cave for a touch of whimsy.

Interested in something a little more urban? Never fear, because Scarborough is frequently touted as one of the most creative and enterprising towns in England. The economy is booming: Locals are reportedly happier and better-paid than ever, and tourism is drawing record-breaking numbers each year. 50,000 people reside in the city limits and more than 150,000 are in the greater Yorkshire area, meaning that this little slice of England enjoys a thriving community without the crowds of big cities like London and Paris.

The arts, too, are alive and well with the locals, and in the city you'll find everything from small galleries to giant open air theaters that seat thousands. There's even an active graffiti community that "terrorizes" the city with gorgeous murals!

Retail is another great investment. Shop 'til you drop at the Brunswick Shopping Centre; enjoy a seaside dining experience near the Marina; take a stroll through St. Thomas Street to enjoy a variety of bars, clubs and restaurants. Visit Scarborough in September and you'll get to experience the Beached Festival, one of the largest jazz festivals in England.

Temperatures in Scarborough stay at a mild 50-60°F except in the extremes of the seasons, usually January (winter) and July (summer), when the weather tends to fluctuate depending on precipitation levels. Still, you shouldn't have any trouble navigating Scarborough regardless of the time of the year. Bring an umbrella and you'll be fine!


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