Opening Times For The UK's Oldest Funicular Lift
The Scarborough Spa Cliff Lift
Update: Friday 31 July 2020
We are delighted to confirm the Scarborough Spa cliff lift will reopen to customers on Monday 3 August at 10am.
The cliff lift will operate to COVID-19 secure standards, with the safety of customers and SIV staff paramount. (Please see below for further details)
Measures will include strict social distancing and enhanced cleaning. Hand sanitiser will be provided and customers asked to use it.
The number of people travelling in the cliff lift at any one time will be reduced to allow passengers to be seated two metres apart.
Unless exempt under the government guidance, passengers will be required to wear a face covering, which they must put on prior to boarding and keep on until after they have alighted from the lift.
The lift will be open daily throughout The Summer from 10am-5pm.
Cliff Lift Fares (Summer 2020)
Going Up: £1.50
Going Down: £1
The Scarborough Spa Cliff Lift History
The Scarborough South Cliff Tramway Company Limited was created in 1873, with the business objective of constructing a cliff lift that would link the South Cliff Esplanade to the Scarborough Spa, which at this point was the most popular music venue outside of London. The Spa Buildings, at the foot of South Cliff were the inspiration for building the first seaside cliff lift in Great Britain.
The Spa Cliff Lift was completed in 1875 having cost in the region of £8,000. On 6th July 1875 the lift was opened to great success with 1400 passengers paying the fare of one old penny for the novelty of using a cliff lift for the very first time.
The Scarborough South Cliff Lift attracted wide interest and served as a model for others being built in Britain. This included four others built in Scarborough at North Cliff, Queens Parade Cliff, St Nicholas Cliff and the Central Cliff Lift.
Only 14 months after the lift opened, a fire ravaged the beautiful Spa Saloon. This affected user numbers on the lift until the Spa Grand Hall was rebuilt and opened on the 2nd August 1880.
By 1888 the Cliff Lift was carrying 250,000 passengers per year. In the 1945-46 season the lift hit its peak with a total of 1.2 million people travelling. Scarborough Borough Council purchased the Cliff Lift from its owners in 1993. In 1997, the lift was modified to be completely automatic.
In April 2007, the cliff lift was closed for a nine week period for essential maintenance and repairs. During this period the rails and sleepers to both tracks were renewed and the two carriages were modified to provide easier access for users.