ON HOT days Scarborough is a magnet for visitors.

As temperatures rise, roads into the resort - notoriously the A64 from Leeds - are renowned for traffic jams as people flock to enjoy its wide sandy beaches.

But for my family, Scarborough is a wonderful place to visit on rainy days, and in today’s changing climate, we are having more and more of those.

We recently braved lashing rain to take a trip to the town and had a great day out.

Parking for free on the West Cliff - if you don’t mind a walk, there are many roads where charges don’t apply - we enjoyed a bracing walk, stopping to marvel at the waves crashing against the shore below.

For those who don’t want to walk, there are park and ride sites. For anyone travelling from West Yorkshire, a handy one sits on Seamer Road as you enter the town.

After fish and chips - you’re spoiled for choice over where to eat – we headed for the South Bay, with its string of amusement arcades, novelty shops, seafood stalls and fairground rides.

The penny - although it now 2p - falls is always fun, and I came away with a fidget spinner, a gadget I had not come across before. My young nephew was very pleased with it.

It’s always quite cosy in the amusements, with the rain pounding outside.

We braved the icy winds to walk along Vincent Pier, past neglected-looking yachts to the lighthouse, where a statue of a female swimmer, the Diving Belle, perches on the harbour wall, as though she is about to leap into the waves.

And what waves there were - the swell was huge, the breaking crests along the front sending spray high into the air.

The view from the pier, across to Scarborough’s magnificent Grade ll-listed Grand Hotel and along the sweep of the bay to the tumbling roofs of the Old Town, is wonderful.

It was wet and cold, but the bribe of ice creams from the characterful Harbour Bar lured my reluctant daughters to the pier end.

Famed for serving some of the best ice cream in the country, Giulian Alonzi's Harbour Bar in Sandside is almost unaltered since opening in 1945. It’s fabulous inside, with period décor and mirrors aplenty.

As we walked back along the front the ferocity of the waves threw stones and pebbles on to the road, which was promptly closed to traffic for safety reasons. Despite the dangers, we watched as parents encouraged young children to stand in the path of the breaking waves.

If you want to keep out of the rain and fancy a dose of culture, Scarborough Art Gallery is a great place, housing a permanent collection and features exhibitions throughout the year.

These include seascapes and views of Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw, works by Frederic Lord Leighton and Frank Brangwyn, and prints and drawings by many other notable British artists.

The Grade ll-listed building housing then works of art is interesting in itself. Originally called Crescent House, the Italianate Villa was built in the late 1840s as a family home for local solicitor John Uppleby.

Nearby, an unusual circular building, the Rotunda, is one of the world’s first purpose-built museums. The design was suggested by William Smith, known as the father of English geology. The interior, with its stunning trompe l’oeil ceiling and fascinating gallery, features a frieze designed by Smith’s nephew, John Phillips, showing the geology of the local coastline.

It was too wet to walk up the headland to Scarborough Castle, from where you can take in panoramic views across both the North and South Bay. Run by English Heritage, it is open all year round.

Later, to our delight, the rain eventually cleared, so we strolled towards the Scarborough Spa, and onwards up wooded paths back to the car.

*Scarborough is 84 miles and aa two-hour drive from Bradford. It can also be reached by bus, on the Coastliner service from Leeds, and by train direct from Leeds.

*For more information visitscarborough.com; discoveryorkshirecoast.com