Scarborough Castle is a former medieval Royal Fortress situated overlooking the North Sea and Scarborough. The site of the castle, encompassing the Iron Age settlement, Roman signal station, an Anglo-Scandinavian settlement and chapel, the 12 century enclosure castle and 18th century battery, is a scheduled monument of national importance.
Fortifications for a wooden castle were built in the 1130s, but the present stone castle dates from the 1150s. Over the centuries, several other structures were added, with medieval monarchs investing heavily in what was then an important fortress that guarded the Yorkshire coastline, Scarborough’s port trade, and the north of England from Scottish or continental invasion. It was fortified and defended during various civil wars, sieges and conflicts, as kings fought with rival barons, faced rebellion and clashed with republican forces, though peace with Scotland the conclusion of civil and continental wars in the 17th century led to its decline in importance.
Once occupied by garrisons and govenors who often meanced the town, the castle has been in ruin since the sieges of the English Civil War, but attracts many visitors to climb the battlements, take in the views and enjoy the accompanying interactive exhibition and special events run by Englsih Heritage.
The castle is host to various events, usually in summertime, such as pirate and Robin Hood-themed activities. The castle grounds are reported to be haunted – by three ghosts, among them a Roman soldier. The 18th-century Master Gunner’s House, now a museum has an exhibition whose centrepiece is a Bronze Age sword discovered in 1980. English Heritage invested £250,000 in making the site a tourist attraction. A visitor centre provides admission to all extant remains, and has an exhibition of artefacts from the site and viewing platforms.