HAVING barely been further than my four walls for much of this year, the first glimpse of the sea had me as giddy as it did when I was a child.

There it was, glistening in the sunshine as we headed into Scarborough. What a treat to spend a weekend at the coast - with a fabulous sea view from the elegant Esplanade Hotel.

Overlooking Scarborough’s South Bay, with its sweeping sands and bustling harbour, this is a charming hotel with Victorian grandeur and a chic roof terrace. My spacious room opened onto a balcony looking out to the pretty seaside town and bay, with Scarborough Castle perched on its dramatic rocky cliff top. With a double bed and extra single bed, the room is also a family suite.

The Esplanade is part of Daish’s Holidays, a family-owned business which has 10 hotels across England and Wales, at locations including the Lake District and Blackpool. The company also has a fleet of 25 luxury coaches and pick-up points across the UK, from West Yorkshire to Cornwall.

With family rooms that can sleep up to five, Daish’s Holidays are ideal for a comfortable, budget-friendly break. Children under five are free, and if the children are aged six to 12 the first child is free and the second half price.

I stayed at the Esplanade with my sister and niece, for a get-away-from-it-all girls’ weekend. We arrived Friday evening and enjoyed dinner in an elegant dining room, with a panoramic view of the bay. We were impressed with the delicious food and friendly, efficient service. During our half-board weekend stay we enjoyed a variety of dishes, including roast turkey, smoked mackerel, chicken curry, vegetable spring rolls and egg salad.

After dinner we retreated to the bar for a fun game of Bingo, always a laugh on our family holidays, and entertainment from excellent singer, magician and impressionist Stephen Brailsford.

Next morning, after a hearty cooked breakfast (veggie option for me), we walked into town - just 10 minutes down the hill - and browsed the shops before taking an open-top bus round to the North Bay.

A family holiday in Scarborough is one of my earliest memories, and I’ve been back to the North Yorkshire resort many times over the years. There are ice-cream parlours, shellfish stalls and fish and chip cafes along both bays, but the North Bay has a wilder coastal feel, with rocky outcrops and a beach popular with surfers and water sports enthusiasts - several were out on the waves when we passed by. Rows of brightly coloured-beach huts give the bay a charming traditional seaside look.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been to the North Bay’s Peasholm Park so we headed up there for a walk around the lake (if you fancy boating there are pedalos, rowing boats and canoes). Listed as one of Europe’s best parks, it’s a lovely spot with a tranquil oriental-themed island, waterfalls, bridges and gardens. With plenty to keep youngsters occupied, including mini golf and boating, it was particularly popular with young families.

The park is also home to the world famous Naval Warfare; a miniature sea battle on the lake, and a variety of wildlife, including some very tame squirrels we met, and a gaggle of geese reclining on the lake side.

Scarborough has pretty much all you need for a family break. As well as the castle, with its 3,000-year history and panoramic views over the coastline, there’s a miniature railway, the Skytrail Adventure (closed until 2021), Sea Life Scarborough, and Europe’s largest open air theatre, where some of the world’s biggest acts, from the Beach Boys to Kylie, have graced the stage.

After fish and chips for lunch, we walked back to South Bay, along the prom, and encountered an intriguing chap on a bench, looking out to sea. Called Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers, the giant steel structure was made by sculptor Ray Lonsdale, inspired by a retired miner he befriended who was one of the first soldiers to liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of the Second World War.

Representing men and women pulled from ordinary life to the extraordinary experiences of war, it was originally intended as a short-term feature on the seafront, but thanks to a donation by a Scarborough resident Freddie now sits on permanent display, alongside a moving verse written by Lonsdale. Well worth a look if you find yourself wandering along the prom.

We headed across the South Bay, calling in at the amusement arcades, to the Spa, a place familiar from TV dramas and films, including Little Voice.

The striking Grade II listed complex, which includes a Victorian theatre and sun-kissed Ocean Room, has been home to concerts, dances and dining since Scarborough grew from a 17th century spa resort. The splendid Victorian Cliff tramway, something I recall vividly from childhood, links the Spa with the South Cliff.

Back at the Esplanade, we enjoyed a drink in the sunshine on the roof terrace and, like Freddie, looked out to one of Yorkshire’s finest sea views. 

  • Esplanade Hotel, Belmont Road, Scarborough. Call 01202 078652. Visit daishs.com/scarborough