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On a bright day the Spa buildings glow in the sun, their sandstone blending naturally into the surroundings and offering visitors to The Spa a magnificent view of Scarborough's South Bay. But that serenity belies an often chequered history and on a bleak grey day, withstanding wind and sea, the Spa presents a very different aspect.

When people talk of Scarborough Spa today they are referring to the buildings and to the activities and entertainment carried out there. But the origins of this noble building, and indeed the place in history of Scarborough as a resort town, are directly attributable to a natural resource - the Spa waters.

Visitors to the Spa today can still see the great architecture of the 1880s and many are still surprised by the scale and style of the Grand Hall. Additions and alterations have been made over the years and a major restoration programme was carried out in the early 1980s to reinstate some of the original features and decorative styles.

The Spa today encompasses the Spa Theatre, the Grand Hall for concerts, the Ocean Room, the Promenade Lounge, Suncourt for open air concerts, and various other rooms, cafes and bar areas.

From the start of the colonnade shops to the Cliff Lift, the Complex measures nearly half a mile in length and easily accommodates conferences of 2000 or more delegates. Famous actors have visited the Spa in recent years but reflecting changes in technology and entertainment they have been filmed here rather than performed live - Helena Bonham-Carter and Rick Mayall in "Dancing Queen" and Ewan McGregor and Jane Horrocks were also filmed in the Sun Court for "Little Voice".

Today's visitors come to the Spa for concerts, shows, dances, wedding receptions, exhibitions and conferences, or simply to use the cafes and bars, or recline on deckchairs - enjoying a magnificent view that has changed very little over the centuries.

By the 1880s the importance of music and entertainment at the Spa was beginning to surpass interest in the Spa waters. The chemical composition altered considerably over the years and public consumption of the waters ceased in the late 60s. Also, it is regrettable that current Health and Safety legislation prohibits public access to what remains of the well, which is located beneath the 'island' opposite the Spa shops.

Without Mrs Farrer's discovery Scarborough would not have developed into the first and most famous English resort. As fashions and trends change and evolve in the pursuit of health and leisure the Spa may one day re-emerge in a different guise, but for now we hope you will come to enjoy the natural beauty and timeless serenity of this location.

Centuries at Scarborough Spa

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