Harrogate is England’s classic spa town, set amidst the beautiful North Yorkshire Dales it is close to the historical city of York and bustling city of Leeds. With its wide range of famous names, independent shops and boutiques and vast number of cafes, pubs and restaurants there is something for everyone in Harrogate. Surrounded by the lush, green tree lined avenues of The Stray, Harrogate is a feel good, relaxed town that encourages its visitors to enjoy a slower pace whilst taking in the wonderful surroundings.

The town itself is known as the Hampstead of the North due to the famous Stray – 200 acres of parkland that is protected by an act of Parliament. No wonder it has been voted the ‘happiest’ place to live in the UK for several years running. If you are looking for places to visit and things to do during your stay, here are a few ideas from us…

Valley Gardens

The Valley Gardens Harrogate are English Heritage Grade II Listed gardens situated on the outskirts of the town centre and along with the surrounding woodland, are known as The Pinewoods and cover 17 acres. The gardens are continually being restored and regenerated with major works spearheaded by the Friends of Valley Gardens, working with Harrogate Borough Council to care for this amazing park. Open all year round, 24 hours a day, and with a number of different areas, colourful seasonal displays and garden styles making it a relaxing and captivating place to explore.

For music lovers, band concerts take place on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. There are also a wide variety of outdoor games such as tennis courts, pitch & putt golf course, crazy golf, boating pool, paddling pool and a children’s play area.

Light refreshments are available from the Magnesia Well Café and the Games Pavilion sells some refreshments between Easter and September.

Turkish Baths

At the Turkish Baths Harrogate you can immerse yourself in Britain’s most fully restored Victorian Turkish Baths and enjoy a unique regime of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Although Turkish Baths were common in Victorian times, only seven remain which date back to the 19th century. None is as historically complete and in full working order as Harrogate’s Turkish Baths. Their importance lies in their decoration, elaboration and rarity. The Baths’ Moorish design with Islamic arches and screens, walls of vibrant glazed brickwork, the arabesque painted ceilings and terrazzo floors (laid by the very best Italian experts) all add to its historic elegant features.

Relax in the Fridgidarium, enjoy the warmth of the Steam Room and Heated Chambers and if you’re feeling brave immerse yourself in the cold, invigorating plunge pool. The Turkish Baths also offer a full range of beauty treatments for an extra special treat.

Betty’s Tearooms

A favourite of ours, Betty’s has recently celebrated its 100th birthday. Elegant, refined, quintessentially English and a Yorkshire Institution! An absolute must do for visitors to Harrogate, Betty’s offer traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner & a fabulous afternoon tea and you are guaranteed a wonderful, relaxing dining experience. Next door they have their own shop selling a vast array of breads, cakes and sweet treats if you would like to take a little bit of Betty’s home with you.

Rudding Park Spa Garden

If you are looking for a luxury spa experience, Rudding Park has it in spades. With its’ extensive range of hydrotherapy & thermal experiences and landscaped gardens with sun deck it really is the most wonderful, relaxing experience. We particularly enjoy the outdoor hydrotherapy infinity pool where you can lounge with a glass of fizz and look out on to the gardens ahead… it’s absolute bliss! You can also combine your spa experience with a treatment or lunch or afternoon tea in the Horto Café.

Slingsby Gin Experience

For you gin lovers out there you can book a Slingsby Gin Experience right in the heart of Harrogate. Sit back with a Slingsby G&T in hand whilst the team talk you through the fascinating history of gin, the original styles and how gin has been developed today. Or, for a more hands on experience you can book their Master Distiller Package that allows you to enjoy a full tasting session to find your preferred style of gin and the one you would like to make in the session. From Juniper, Citrus, Spice, Floral, Herbal and Fruit flavours, you can select the botanicals with the guidance of the Slingsby team, distil in a mini copper still and bottle with your very own personalised label to take home. Throughout the session you will have the opportunity to try different gins from the Slingsby range and end it with your perfect serve… Gin heaven!

The Fat Badger

Harrogate’s favourite traditional English pub, smack bang in the middle of the Montpellier Quarter. The perfect place to enjoy Sunday Lunch, a glass of red or a Yorkshire brewed draught beer in a cosy wooden booth or on one of their chesterfield sofas. We love it here.

Mercer Art Gallery

A well-curated collection of 19th and 20th century art featuring artists William Powell Frith, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Dame Laura Knight and Alan Davie. As well as getting a dose of modern fine art, there are intriguing temporary exhibitions. And visiting the Mercer is a chance to see inside a 200-year old Harrogate gem, built in 1805 as one of the town’s first purpose built spa rooms. Their shop offers the opportunity to purchase unique books, cards, jewellery and artwork at affordable prices.

The Royal Pump Room Museum

The Royal Pump Room was built by Isaac Shutt in 1842 to provide shelter for the town’s affluent visitors as they took the famous waters. At its peak, each summer the Pump Room attracted 15,000 people and one of its most famous visitors was Tsarina Alexandra of Russia in 1911. The annexe was added in 1913 to cater for the expanding visitor numbers, and now houses the permanent exhibition and the museum shop. The museum has a changing temporary exhibition programme and permanent displays of Harrogate’s spa-history.

RHS Harlow Carr

Very much a part of the Yorkshire countryside, Harlow Carr is a delight whatever the season. Its 58 acres offer a variety of growing landscapes, from running and still water to woodland and wildflower meadows. Highlights include the lavish Main Borders and the lush plants around Streamside and the wonderful Kitchen Garden which incudes local and heritage varieties of fruit & vegetables. For the younger visitors there are a number of play areas. Harlow Carr also offers a fully stocked Garden Centre & Gift Shop with design led homeware, childrens gifts and speciality foods, many of them from local producers. If you fancy a bite to eat during your visit there is also a Betty’s Café Tea Room and Tea House which is located inside the gardens.

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal

Explore ancient abbey ruins and awe-inspiring water gardens at this World Heritage Site. Just a short drive away from Harrogate, Fountains Abbey is home to 800 acres of beautiful countryside. Walk leisurely through its beautiful gardens with friends and family and enjoy wandering through the ruins of the magnificent abbey which was established by devout monks seeking a simpler existence. The atmospheric ruins that remain are a window into a way of life that shaped the medieval world. Fountains Abbey also includes a restaurant, play area & gift shop.

Knaresborough

Just a short drive from Harrogate, Knaresborough is a characterful Yorkshire market own with many things to see & do. With its warren of medieval streets and stone staircases that weave their way up and down the hill, Knaresborough has its own castle that sits above the river Nidd and Nidd Gorge in a commanding position with spectacular views over to the imposing railway viaduct. The town centre with its quaint square offers a wide array of independent shops, pubs and cafes. Take a walk along the River Nidd and hire a boat or visit Mother Shipton’s Cave, one of England’s oldest attractions.

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