Scarborough Castle dominates the harbour town some 300ft (91m) below from its rocky outcrop on the North Sea coast. Its recognisable ruined keep, originally built by Henry II in the 1160s, occupies an iconic and dramatic position on the skyline, fortified by a curtain wall and a chapel built by William Le Gros, dating back to the 1130s. Even futher back, the uniquely defensible position on the sheer triangular headland served as a Roman signal station and a Viking camp.
Since then, the site has endured a turbulent existence, being beseiged by mediaeval kings in 1312, changing hands seven times between Royalist and Parlementarian forces during the First English Civil War, and suffering a hail of over 500 shells during naval bombardment by German warships in 1914.
The remains and site, steeped in history and cultural heritage, are now administered by an English Heritage visitors' centre, offering admission to the remains, exhibition of artefacts from various eras, as well as panoramic viewing platforms and an audio tour. Visitors can also enjoy refreshments in the Master Gunner's House.