Scarborough won the 2008/2009 award for the most creative and inspiring entrepreneurship initiative in Europe; on top of winning the most enterprising town in Britain in 2008. The modern town lies between 3 and 70 metres (10 and 230 ft) above sea level, rising steeply northward and westward from the harbour onto limestone cliffs. The older part of the town lies around the harbour and is protected by a rocky headland. Scarborough is served by Scarborough railway station, with services from York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool on the North TransPennine route and from Hull on the Yorkshire Coast Line.
With a population of around 50,000, Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast. It is home to residential communities, business, fishing and service industries, plus a growing digital and creative economy.
The most striking feature of the town's geography is a high rocky promontory pointing eastward into the North Sea. The promontory supports the 11th century ruins of Scarborough Castle and separates the sea front into a North Bay and a South Bay. The South Bay was the site of the original early medieval settlement and the harbour, which form the current Old Town district. This remains the main focus for tourism, with a sandy beach, cafes, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities. The modern commercial town centre has migrated a quarter mile north-west of the harbour area and a hundred feet above it, and contains the transport hubs, main services, shopping and nightlife. The harbour has undergone major regeneration including the new Albert Strange Pontoons, a more pedestrian-friendly promenade, street lighting and seating. The North Bay has traditionally been the more peaceful end of the resort and is home to Peasholm Park which in June 2007 was restored to its Japanese-themed glory, complete with reconstructed pagoda. The park still features a mock maritime battle (based on the Battle of the River Plate) re-enacted on the boating lake with large model boats and fireworks throughout the summer holiday season. The North Bay Railway is a miniature railway which runs from the park to the Sea Life Centre at Scalby Mills. Until its closure in 2000, Marvel's Amusement Park sat on the hill behind Atlantis and could be reached by one of two cable cars (the pylons for these are still standing). It is now derelict with the rollercoaster and other rides having been moved to other parks.
The North Bay is linked to the South Bay by the Marine Drive, an extensive Victorian promenade, built around the base of the headland. Overlooking both bays is Scarborough Castle, which was bombarded by the German warships SMS Derfflinger and SMS Von der Tann in the First World War. Both bays have popular sandy beaches and numerous rock-pools at low tide.
Slightly less well known is the South Cliff Promenade situated above the Spa and South Cliff Gardens, commanding excellent views of the South Bay and old town and from which many iconic postcard views are taken. Its splendid Regency and Victorian terraces are still intact and the mix of quality hotels and desirable apartments form a backdrop to the South Bay. The ITV television drama The Royal and its recent spin-off series, The Royal Today, are filmed in the area. The South Bay has the largest illuminated "Star Disk" anywhere in the UK. It is 85 feet (26 m) across and is fitted with subterranean lights representing the 42 brightest stars and major constellations that can be seen from Scarborough in the northern skies.