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Find a trail - visit the official visitor site for Yorkshire

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Turner's first trip to Scarborough was in 1801 en route to Scotland, while his second visit was about 1816 when he was collecting material for Whitaker's history series.

In 1801 Turner sketched Scarborough from the South Bay beach and made numerous studies of the waves breaking on the shore, together with a series of distant views from high ground inland to the north west and south west.  The views from the north west were treated on a larger scale in pencil (Scarborough Castle, Leeds Museums and Galleries), and in watercolour (Scarborough Castle, private collection, image unavailable, Wilton number: 317).

In about 1816, Turner returned to Scarborough to make a comprehensive study of the town, beach and castle, and filled two sketchbooks with studies.

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Turner's Viewpoint

Turner's 1801 sketchbook study of Scarborough from South Bay beach became the basis of a watercolour study (Scarborough circa 1809, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CXCVI C) and three watercolours, one from 1809 (Scarborough Castle: Boys Crab Fishing, The Wallace Collection, London, Wilton number: 527), one from 1811 (Scarborough town and castle: morning: boys catching crabs, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Wilton number: 528) and another around 1825 (Scarborough, from The Ports of England 1826-1828 Watercolours, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CCVIII I), for a series illustrating the Ports of England.

Turner's view of the castle and harbour captured in his 1811 watercolour can be found on Scarborough's South Bay promenade, quite near to Scarborough Spa. South Bay beach is a large sandy bay with good facilities.

Discover The Landscape

The Turner Trails bench and panel are located on the coastal footpath south of South Bay promenade.

Turner's Coastal Yorkshire

Listen to Episode 3 of our Turner podcast series where Turner expert, Professor David Hill, is joined by Ashley Jackson, one of the country's leading landscape watercolour artists, as they discuss Turner's interest in the Yorkshire coast.  What did Turner enjoy beside the Yorkshire seaside?

The Venue


South Bay Beach, Foreshore Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1PH

Map reference: TA045880

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Directions to Scarborough:

Follow signs for Scarborough town centre/railway station. At station, turn right at traffic lights onto Valley Bridge Road and follow signs to South Bay/South Cliff.
Alternatively, catch the Park & Ride bus from either the Filey Road (A165) or Seamer Road (A64) Park & Ride.