A flat promontory, almost completely surrounded by steep cliffs and only approachable by a narrow neck of land was always going to be a fortress.
However, the evidence for pre-Roman occupation is thin on the ground, possibly because erosion has taken much of it to the bottom of the sea.
The earliest substantial remains are of a Roman signal station, which was later adapted as a Saxon Chapel. The bulk of what we see today, however, dates from 1159, when Henry II ordered the rebuilding of an earlier Norman structure.
It continued to be strengthen over the succeeding centuries and in the mid-thirteenth century was regarded as one of the greatest fortresses in England.
Unlike nearby Pickering, Scarborough came under attack many times, and saw much action during the Civil War. This resulted in the deliberate slighting of the castle at the end of the war, and the destruction of half the Keep.
This was not the end, however, as the castle continued to be manned until the mid-nineteenth century, and was even bombarded during the First World War.