Rotunda Museum

Described as the finest surviving purpose-built museum of its age in the country.

William Smith, whose pioneering work established that geological strata could be identified and correlated using the fossils they contain, has been dubbed ‘Father of English Geology’. One of his geological maps of England now hangs in Burlington House, London, the home of the Geological Society.

Smith came to Scarborough after his release from debtors’ prison where the dramatic coastline offered him an area of geological richness. The Rotunda Museum was built to Smith’s design suggestion and the original display of fossils illustrated his ideas.

The Rotunda is one of the oldest purpose built museums in Britain still fulfilling its original role. Overlooking Scarborough’s South Bay this small, handsome building
is an important part of Britain’s scientific heritage.


  • Vernon Road
  • Scarborough
  • YO11 2NN