Museums & Galleries in Harrogate & District
Harrogate and the surrounding district has a wealth of artistic and cultural heritage – from art collected by wealthy Victorian Industrialists through to contemporary inspiration which the area provides to the many working artisans and artists in the area.
From the history of sulphur waters and the sudden growth of this beautiful spa town as it became a favourite of Queen Victoria, Harrogate Museums have a story to tell.
The Nidderdale Museum must surely win the award for the 'Most Packed Museum' with countless artefacts from Nidderdale and the surrounding communities filling every room, rewarding the second and even third visit.
Beside the ruins of the Castle in medieval Knaresborough you can discover the secret escape tunnel and enjoy one of the most iconic views down over the River Nidd.
In school holidays a range of hands-on activities offer children the chance for enjoyable learning experiences that will excite active minds with some of the history of the area.
Law and Order is a theme in some of our museums, whether you stand in the Dock at in Knaresborough, follow the process from beginning to end at the Yorkshire Law and Order Museums in Ripon. From the Police & Prison Museum, you can face justice in the Courthouse before doing time at the Workhouse, with its Story of life for the down and out and those who had fallen on hard time. The Workhouse also has it’s working kitchen Garden, a treat for gardening enthusiasts.
The stories told by Harrogate Museums go back further still, Aldborough’s Roman Site just to the East of Boroughbridge was once the site of the capital of the Romanised Brigante tribe in the area and is home to Roman mosaics, a compact on-site museum and an original section of wall.
The esteemed regard in which Victorian society held Harrogate and the surrounding area left a wealth of both art and artistic creativity. Harrogate boasts a wealth of galleries from the rich commercial galleries to working artist’s studios and workshops and studios where craftsmen and artists show, sell and discuss their work.
In addition to these great collections a number of seasonal and temporary exhibitions take place throughout the year, from paintings to costume, themed collections to workshops where visitors can get creative.
All our museums are open through-out the year and opening hours are often extended for school holidays.
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Castle / Fort
A stronghold of medieval kings, Knaresborough Castle is beautifully set overlooking the River Nidd.
Explore Knaresborough Castle independently or join a tour to discover the history of the King’s Chamber, visit the dungeon and scurry through the secret underground exit (sallyport).
The Ripon Workhouse Museum and Gardens are a truthfully recreated representation of life for the least fortunate of19th century Ripon.
As well the displays in the museum, housed in the old Gatehouse of the larger workhouse site, the Workhouse Kitchen Gardens have also been carefully recreated...
The Mercer Art Gallery has two spaces, the Main Gallery and the smaller North Gallery and entry is free to all visitors.
The changing exhibition programme for both galleries ranges from national touring exhibitions of painting, photography, sculpture and crafts to exhibitions from the...
At the Ripon Prison & Police Museum, visitors can sit in a prison cell, hear the door slam shut and imagine the harsh conditions of Victorian prison regimes.
Try on prison and police uniforms, imagine the horror of being set in the pillory, strapped in a restraint chair or hung in chains.
Visit the strongest sulphur wells in Europe, where over 15,000 people used to come every summer.
Discover Harrogate's connection to Russian royalty and what politicians and famous writers of the 19th and 20th century thought of their visits.
Charles Dickens described Harrogate as the queerest...
This museum in Pateley Bridge in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales has eleven rooms covering all aspects of Nidderdale life in the past.
The Nidderdale Museum displays include a complete cobbler's shop, Victorian sitting-room and kitchen, school room, general store, joiner's shop and solicitor's...
For an interesting day out visit Aldborough Roman Fort, among the northern most urban centres in the Roman Empire.
Aldborough was the ‘capital’ of the Romanised Brigantes, the largest tribe in Britain.
One corner of these Yorkshire defences is laid out amid a Victorian arboretum, and two mosaic...
The Butter Market located in Hall Square is an open-fronted building dating back to the 18th or early 19th century, built to give shelter to farmers' wives on market days whilst they were selling their dairy products, hence the name. The site is now used to display locally made or locally used...
Drawing her inspiration from the Yorkshire Dales, surrounding countryside and the historic towns of Harrogate, York and Knaresborough, renowned local artist Anita Bowerman exhibits and sells her delightful paper-cuts and limited edition prints and paintings from her gallery and studio in Harrogate...
The Courthouse remains virtually unchanged since it was built in 1830 and you can stand in the dock to hear your fate or sit at the magistrates’ bench to deliver the verdict. Our displays tell the story of the courthouse and the people who have passed through it.
Three Museums, one great day out...
You won’t believe the range of things you can do at ArtisOn! We offer a huge range of art and craft experience days, in Masham, just half an hour from Harrogate, on the edge of the Dales. Relax and try your hand at anything from painting to making a stained glass panel, from learning to crochet...
King Street Workshops - bringing together a group of highly talented and skilled craftspeople, who design and make exclusive pieces in a variety of materials including: clay, hand-blown glass and precious metals.
Number 6 Studio Gallery - A studio, workshop and exhibition facility that is a...