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image for Historical Event item typeNaval Warfare at Peasholm Park

Historical Event, from 25 Jun 2020

Naval Warfare

Naval Warfare

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The world-famous Peasholm Park Naval Warfare is a must see when visiting Scarborough! A unique family holiday attraction and possibly the longest running show of all time. Enjoy an afternoon of entertainment in one of Europe's favourite parks.

Peasholm Park Naval Warfare is a unique holiday attraction and could be the longest running show of all time. As near as we can say, the first performance was held in about 1927. It was the brainchild of Mr George Horrocks who was the Entertainment's Manager for many years. Incidentally he was also responsible for the Open Air Theatre which is just across the road from Peasholm Park.

In the early days, the models consisted of First World War battleships which were known as Dreadnoughts; a mystery ship or two, known as Q ships, a liner bearing the name 'Orantes' and even in those days there was a submarine (U-boat). All the vessels were powered by manpower only - hard work for the operators! Although the vessels were 20ft plus, long cramped conditions inside created a host of problems. Electric power was introduced for the 1929 season.

During the 1939-45 war years all the models were kept in storage and unfortunately suffered battle damage in the form of dry rot and woodworm so that after the war the vessels made a visit to the breakers yard and were replaced with a new fleet of ships. The ships built were all scale models of the vessels which took part in the Battle of the River Plate and consisted of the following: British cruisers - HMS 'Ajax' HMS 'Achilles' and HMS 'Exeter' the latter being the flagship of the famous trio and of course the German battleship 'Graf von Spee'. The Royal Mail liner 'Asturias' was also introduced along with a submarine.

The format was changed in about 1960 when aircraft were introduced and since then we have included other vessels like the 'Jervis Bay' the tanker 'British Pride' and 'Ark Royal' in 1972.

The average life of one of these vessels is 20 to 25 years and many changes have taken place over the years. We are always trying to improve this unique attraction and the technical difficulties we encounter can be quite considerable. It is of course the smallest manned navy in the world and we are very proud of the fact that the show is known and has been reported in all parts of the world. It has been shown on both BBC and ITV networks but it must be remembered that this is a holiday show - lots of fun and a jolly good battle. Furthermore everyone lives to fight another day!

Naval Warfare Battle (for prices and full dates please see Naval Warfare page)
25 June (6pm start)
July/August - Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays
September – 1 Thursday/ 3 Saturday/ 5 Monday
(All 3pm start)

“The smallest manned navy in the world!”

Peasholm Park is a haven of tranquillity in our North Bay – unless the battle ships are taking pot shots at one another!

At times during the summer season, war breaks out on the Lake when 20ft replica boats recreate the tensions of a battle at sea.

For more than 80 years the “Battle of Peasholm” has been played out for 30 minutes three times every week during the summer season, delighting audiences who still find it hard to believe that these boats are mostly manpowered. Until 1929, all the boats were manpowered, but then electricity was introduced and now only the larger boats need to be steered by Council employees.

In the early days, the models were First World War battleships, called Dreadnaughts, mystery ships called Q-ships, a passenger liner called Orantes and a U-boat.

After the Second World War, the fleet was replaced with new vessels – this time the battle that was recreated was the Battle of the River Plate.

The British boats were HMS Ajax, Achilles and Exeter. The German battleship was the Graf Von Spee; the Royal Mail liner Asturias and a submarine completed the new fleet.

Around 1960, aircraft were introduced, altering the play of the ships but adding to the excitement for audiences who could not seem to get enough of the Battles!

Also in the 1960s more ships were added to the fleet – HMS Jervis Bay, British Pride and even the Ark Royal.

Although some of the smaller boats are steered by electricity and electricity is certainly used to power the aircraft, most of the boats in the Park, even today, are powered by Scarborough Borough Council employees!

A spokesperson for the Scarborough Tourist Information Bureau joked “It is of course the smallest manned navy in the world!”

Today the Battles still take place but now there is far less emphasis on recreating either World War; just on unnamed “friends” and an equally unnamed “enemy”. Gunfire and smoke continue to fill the air, however, and the aircraft drop bombs from above.

People flock to watch the Battles and they have been reported on and mentioned in many newspapers around the world.

Why don’t you take the time out of a sunny summer afternoon, to watch this amazing show?

The shows usually begin around the last weekend of May and continue until September 1st. In June, the shows are on Saturdays only, in July they are on Thursdays and Saturdays and during August, they are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Coach parties acceptedDisabled toiletsOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPicnic sitePublic toiletsAccepts groups

Children welcome

Event details

Dates Times
Thu 25 Jun 2020 18:00
Mon 6 Jul 2020 15:00
Mon 13 Jul 2020 15:00
Mon 20 Jul 2020 15:00
Mon 27 Jul 2020 15:00
Mon 3 Aug 2020 15:00
Mon 10 Aug 2020 15:00
Mon 17 Aug 2020 15:00
Mon 24 Aug 2020 15:00
Mon 31 Aug 2020 15:00
Thu 3 Sep 2020 15:00
Sat 5 Sep 2020 15:00
Mon 7 Sep 2020 15:00


North Bay,
North Yorkshire,
YO12 7TR



See location of Peasholm Park on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: TA 035895  Lat: 54.29076 Long: -0.41036

By Road:
On entering Scarborough follow signs for the North Bay. Peasholm Park is situated opposite the roundabout leading onto the waterfront.

Accessible by Public Transport: 1 mile from Scarborough station


  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Picnic sitePicnic site
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome