This feature is part of Little Vikings Great Yorkshire Family Escapes, a whole year of inspiration for anyone looking for a family break in Yorkshire. Over the next few months, we’ll introduce you to the best places to stay on the Yorkshire Coast, in the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and the towns and cities in between. You’ll discover why it’s a great place to stay with kids, and some ideas for things to do while you’re there.
Bursting with fun things to do, from exploring the real cliff-top castle to building our very own sandcastle, Scarborough is one of our favourite day trips from York. Just under an hour away, it’s within easy reach for a day trip but there’s just one problem: it’s impossible to fit everything into a day. If one of our kids is keen to have a few hours on the waterslides at Alpamare, but the others just want to have a beach day, visit the Sea Life Centre, or ride on the funicular, we’re a bit stuck.
That’s why, for a few years now, we’ve been trying to find somewhere to stay in Scarborough so we can hang out a bit longer. On previous trips, we’ve squashed ourselves into a room at one of the cookie-cutter chain hotels, which meant a bad night’s sleep for everyone and bad moods the next day. There was great excitement when we saw that a new, modern hotel had opened right that looked as though it would tick our boxes: The Bike & Boot. Here’s what we thought of it when we went to check it out for ourselves.
What it’s like – The Bike & Boot is a relaxed, modern hotel that’s perfect for active families looking for a comfortable, fun base for exploring the Yorkshire coast. The colourful, eccentric interior of the reception area sets the tone for the rest of the hotel, where flat caps and vintage bike helmets adorn the walls, alongside quirky dog-related art (it’s not just a dog-friendly hotel, it’s dog-mad!). There’s plenty of space to spread out in the ground floor lounges and plan your adventures, as well as a restaurant and bar for refuelling for breakfast, lunch or tea.
Getting there – While Scarborough might be an easy drive from York, unless we’re laden down with stuff, we take the train. It’s a direct route that takes around 45 minutes and only stops a couple of times, and it’s more relaxing than tackling the A64 (especially during the summer). It also means that we don’t have to drive in circles looking for an elusive parking space in Scarborough – no mean feat at peak times. If you do decide to drive, The Bike & Boot offers free parking permits for guests. The hotel is a short walk from the station (10 minutes at a child’s pace) and very close to all the action of the South Bay.
The room – The warmth of the communal areas – where you can enjoy unlimited hot drinks all day, as well as free cake at 4pm – is reflected in the bedrooms at The Bike & Boot. We were lucky to stay in a Medium Side Sea View Room which was more than big enough for the three of us, with a comfortable large double bed, a good quality sofa bed and ample space if we’d needed an extra bed. We all loved the decor, from the vibrant carpet to the quirky cushions and even the tiny orange bathroom bin that our youngest – bizarrely – liked so much that she took a photo of it. The coffee machine was a bonus, too, especially as fresh milk was provided for free in the well-stocked fridge. While it might not have the benefit of room service like swankier hotels, it’s great that you can order food and drink to collect from the restaurant downstairs (Bareca). We also appreciated the brief instructions on how to fold out the sofa bed (not always an easy task at the end of a long day), and our youngest declared that it was very comfortable to sleep on – a rare thing indeed. The best thing about the room, though, was the incredible sea view. It was such a treat to be able to watch the view change with the time and tides, and is well worth paying a bit extra for (although our girls did complain about the noise of the seagulls!).
What’s in it for kids? As a family of five, we often struggle to find hotel rooms that can accommodate us all, and booking two rooms is pricey. The Bike & Boot has rooms that are large enough to fit us all in, with a small extra charge for additional beds. They can also provide cots if you request them in advance. High chairs are available at Bareca, and there’s a film club if you fancy watching a film downstairs three times a day (the earlier the showing, the more family-friendly it is). A stone’s throw from the sea, it’s perfectly placed for early morning walks along the beach with your little sleep-refuser or for bodyboarding or surfing with your active older child.
Food & drink – Our Scarborough diet tends to consist of fish, chips and ice cream from our usual haunts, but now we’ve got another option: Bareca. Open to non-residents as well, it’s a relaxed place to eat with a tempting menu of burgers, pizza, salads and much more, as well as a selection of good beers, wines and gins (and juice for the kids, of course). Pizza Friday is a family tradition for us, so that’s what we ordered and they were delicious. A few hours later we were back for breakfast, which was a self-service affair with a tasty selection of fruit, porridge pots, cereals, croissants, breads and jams that set us up for the day.
What’s on the doorstep? Scarborough’s top attractions, from the shiny arcades of the South Bay to the rugged charms of the North Bay, as well as Scarborough Castle, Sea Life Scarborough, Alpamare, Peasholm Park and the North Bay Railway are within very easy reach. The coastal towns of Filey and Bridlington are a short drive away, as is the popular surfing beach of Cayton Bay.
The verdict – The Bike & Boot isn’t just somewhere in Scarborough to rest your head, it’s an experience that’s as much a part of your family break as your daytime activities. No need to worry about being tutted at for your muddy boots or sandy shoes; it’s a relaxed and modern hotel where we felt right at home, just with much better views.
The Bike and Boot, Cliff Bridge Terrace, Scarborough YO11 2HA – bikeandboot.com