image for Festival item typeShrove Tuesday Skipping Festival at Scarborough South Bay

    Festival, from 4 Mar 2014, free entry

    Shrove Tuesday Skipping

    Shrove Tuesday Skipping

    South Bay Beach

    South Bay Beach

    South Bay Beach

    South Bay Beach



    Tourism Bureau

    01723 383636


    South Bay Beach,
    Foreshore Road,
    North Yorkshire,
    YO11 1PB

    Events at this Venue


    Skipping on The Foreshore on Shrove Tuesday is a low key fun tradition that has been an annual celebration in Scarborough on Shrove Tuesday since 1903. People turn up informally to skip and are watched by general public many of whom have brought their children down to take part.

    The road is closed as a precaution from around midday to 5pm to ensure that participants in this tradition do not get disturbed by vehicles as the skipping has taken precedence on the flat area of the Foreshore for over 100 years...

    As long ago as 1853 townspeople gathered here to celebrate 'Bell Day' annually on Shrove Tuesday. It was one of the few public holidays when apprentices and servants could be sure of having at least half a day to enjoy themselves. Until the turn of the century it was known as Bell Day. It was recorded in 1903 that 'a few bairns were skipping near the lifeboat' but by 1927 in a national publicity campaign it was acclaimed as 'Scarborough's Skipping Festival'.

    At the end of the last century the South Foreshore on Shrove Tuesday was like a fairground. Stalls were arranged on the sea front which offered gingerbread, liquorice, coconuts, and similar delicacies, to all who wanted to buy. A contemporary account relates that 'Baskets and balls of various qualities and colours were prominent too and battledores and shuttlecocks were bought even by men and women. On this day grown up folks can skip and play without being thought childish. Everyone becomes something different from their usual selves on Shrove Tuesday'.

    In those days, of course, there were no real traffic problems. The Foreshore Road between the Spa and Eastborough is now closed to traffic during the afternoon of Shrove Tuesday. The fact remains that from mid-day onwards there are likely to be thousands of 'young' people of all ages enjoying themselves along the sea front.

    The other custom which is still retained at Scarborough is the ringing of the Pancake Bell. Over a century ago the bell used to hang in St Thomas' Hospital which was then on a site in North Street. It was used as a curfew signal at 6 o'clock morning and evening, before the days of the BBC time signals. On Shrove Tuesday, however, it was rung at noon as a signal to housewives to start frying the traditional pancakes. With the demolition of the hospital the bell was removed to the Rotunda Museum in 1861 where it continued to be rung for the next fifty years. When age made it unsafe, a ship's bell, presented to the Rotunda in 1979 to mark its 150th anniversary, was substituted. A new replica Pancake Bell was installed at 86 Newborough, above the Next clothes shop in 1996. The new Pancake Bell was provided by Scarborough Borough Council with the assistance of Tate and Lyle Sugars, Morrisons Stores and Electricity Supply Nominees. The only break in this tradition occurred during the war year 1939-45, when bell ringing was prohibited. Now, it is always rung by the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor.

    Extracts from The Concise Oxford Dictionary:

    Shrove Tuesday:
    'Day before Ash Wednesday, (the first day of Lent) on which and the preceding days of Shrovetide it was customary to be shriven'.
    'Hear confession of, assign penance to, and absolve'.

    For further details see

    Baby changing facilitiesCash PointCoach parties acceptedGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPublic toiletsTelephone (public)Accepts groups

    Children welcomeDisabled accessSmoking allowed

    Event details

    Dates Times
    Tue 17 Feb 2015 12:00
    Road normally closed 12.00am to 5.00pm


    Free entry


    See location of Scarborough South Bay on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

    Map reference: TA 044885  Lat: 54.28149 Long: -0.39794

    By Road:
    Follow signs for Scarborough's South Bay.
    From the South end of the bay you will come along Foreshore Road.
    From Peasholm Park in the North Bay, go on seafront along Royal Albert Drive, Marine Drive and Sandside.

    Please be aware that there is a one-way traffic system in place from South Bay to North Bay due to the two year temporary road works on Marine Drive, in relation to infrastructure work by Yorkshire Water. Therfore traffic can only flow through from the South Bay to the North Bay.

    By public transport:
    There is a regular No. 6 bus service from the town centre down to the West Pier in the South Bay (day time only). Current timetable at

    Parking: with charge

    Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Scarborough station


    • Baby changing facilitiesBaby changing facilities
    • Cash PointCash Point
    • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
    • Gift shopGift shop
    • On-site cateringOn-site catering
    • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
    • Public toiletsPublic toilets
    • Telephone (public)Telephone (public)
    • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
    • Children welcomeChildren welcome
    • Disabled accessDisabled access
    • Smoking allowedSmoking allowed
    Scarborough Borough Council website
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