Peasholm Park's Naval Battles – Scarborough, England - Atlas Obscura

Peasholm Park's Naval Battles

80 years of the Battle of Peasholm on a small English lake. 


Opened originally on the grounds of a medieval manor house, Peasholm Park in North Yorkshire is everything but a conventional English park.

Each year during the summer months in Scarborough, “the smallest manned navy in the world” opens fire in Peasholm Park’s naval warfare event, the Battle of Peasholm. For the last 80 years, droves of tourists and residents alike have flocked to this  municipal park to witness smoke-filled boats, firing fake reports across each other’s bows.

Started in 1927, the Peasholm Park naval battle is one of the oldest continuously simulated battles in the world. For many years, it has also become an unforgettable history lesson to some families, especially when it started re-enacting the Battle of the River Plate in 1939, a naval combat between a German “pocket battleship”  and a fleet of three British-commissioned cruisers.

Adding strangeness to the scene is the setting of the warfare: a tranquil Japanese-themed garden with a lake dotted by dragon and swan-shaped boats that can easily knock the warships down. Peasholm park is also filled with rare trees including the Dicksonian Elm, previously believed to be extinct.

Know Before You Go

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

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