This elegant spa town was famous with the high society of Edwardian and Victorian Britain, and ever since it has been a popular location for visitors to enjoy shopping, spa and the gardens for which it is so well known. It has also become a popular base from which to explore the Yorkshire Dales.
What’s Best about Harrogate
Just small enough, just big enough, Harrogate is the perfect size to be easily traversed on foot, but still have plenty of shops, food and drink outlets and things to do. Both in and around the town centre you will find different areas with a character and feel of their own.
Green spaces surround the town centre in the form of Harrogate’s Stray. Protected by law these 200 acres of grass give the town a unique and spacious feel that sets it apart from other towns of similar size and mean it is always possible to get away from the bustle of the shopping streets.
A unique shopping experience: Harrogate is home to an number of prestigious independent shops in its more select areas like James Street and the ever popular Montpellier quarter, but as well as this a selection of independent retailers with a love and passion for their business and customers can be found in the town in places like the eclectic Commercial Street.
Harrogate’s reputation was built on spa waters, with countless springs under the town, many still visible in the Valley Gardens. Over the years the high mineral content of the waters became popular for therapeutic purposes, making Harrogate a popular venue for Victorian society, and spa tradition continues to this day.
Agatha Christie was found in Harrogate, dancing at the Old Swan hotel, after going missing 11 days earlier and sparking a national search.
As well as the stray Harrogate is home to many great gardens, and the floral feel is carried on beyond their boundaries. In summer the town is festooned with hanging baskets and the many flowers beds around the town beam with colour.
Hidden Gems of Harrogate
Maybe not hidden, but the two cultural gems on the edge of Harrogate’s Montpellier district are far more than a fusty old museum and Gallery. The Mercer art gallery displays a bold calendar of traditional and modern art works often drawing on the Harrogate collection, while the Royal Pump Room museum features displays on the towns spa history, Egyptology and seasonal exhibitions.
The Nidderdale Greenway offers an idyllic traffic free root into Lower Nidderdale either on foot or by bicycle, taking in a grade two listed viaduct and the pretty village of Ripley with its world famous ice cream.
Big Harrogate Events
The Great Yorkshire Show is the largest agricultural show in the UK, and takes place over three days show casing not only the best of the local agriculture, but also everything to do with outdoor and country pursuits, offering trade stands from clothing and produce suppliers and skills.
Tour de Yorkshire will be racing into Harrogate on the 29th April with two races of elite world cyclists, both women and men racing around Nidderdale before sprinting for the finish line alongside Harrogate’s Stray. After the success of the 2014 grand depart of the Tour de France, Harrogate will once more be putting on a world class show this April.
The Harrogate Flower Shows in Spring and Autumn mark the beginning and the end of the horticultural show season and are popular with floral and allotment style gardeners alike. They offer the perfect chance to pick up seeds, tools, plants or just some great ideas to take home.
These are just a drop in the ocean of fantastic events that take place across Harrogate throughout the year, to see the full calendar check out our full list of events in Harrogate.
Harrogate sits on both the A61 and the A59, and is less than 10 miles from the A1M motorway.