Searching for the ultimate great British seaside holiday, with the artist who knows it best

Harmony Cardenas

Scarborough, he said, had “everything at your fingertips: you’ve got arcades, a massive beach, donkey rides, the sea. There were entertainments; I remember seeing the Grumble­weeds here, and Freddie Starr.” Freddie Starr! We observed a moment’s respectful silence.

I left McKee and set off into the old town, through the winding streets lined with pretty Georgian and Victorian houses, arriving at the church of St-Martin-on-the Hill, with its beautiful pre-Raphaelite glass designs by William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown. I walked back down the hill, taking in the view across the town and out to sea, pausing at the Market Hall, recently restored. There were tables laid out with vegetables, meats and cheeses, and in the café a full English breakfast fry-up for £6.50. At another outlet, a travel agent was offering Caribbean cruises. But seriously, if you’ve got Scarborough, who would think of such a thing?

How to see Mckee’s work

Pete McKee’s latest exhibition, Don’t Adjust Your Mindset, is on at London’s Hoxton Arches from April 22-May 1, before heading to his home town of Sheffield from May 13-May 22. For more information, see

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