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Top 10 sunny days out for free

Save the pennies and still get out for a day to remember, check out our top ten free places to go on a beautiful sunny day when you visit the Harrogate district.

Coldstones Cut

The largest public artwork in Yorkshire, the Coldstones Cut gives amazing views out across the valley of Nidderdale, and down into the last working quarry in the valley.  The nearby Toft Gate Lime kiln gives a glimpse into the history of industry in the dale.  Together these are great places to explore on a sunny day, you can walk up from nearby Pateley Bridge (quite a climb) or there is a car park between the two sites.

Valley Gardens

This beautiful set of Gardens can offer surprises even for those who visit Harrogate often.  With plenty of space for stretching the legs and exploring Valley Gardens includes a boating pond, skate park, small café and a range of picnic spots.  Long strolls can be enjoyed through the gardens and up into the pinewoods which offer cool refreshing shade on the hotter days.

Knaresborough Castle

Sited on the top of the Knaresborough cliffs the castle usually enjoys a fresh breeze, and always gives amazing views across the Nidd Gorge.  Knaresborough Castle is just a minute or two’s walk from the Market place, and looks down on the river where row boats can be hired. There is also a small museum onsite, a small charge applies.

Scar House Reservoir

Right at the top of Nidderdale, Scar House Reservoir is often one of the cooler spots in the area.  The views from the many walks around this part of the valley are all breath taking, and the loop round the dam can be undertaken on foot or mountain bike.  The car park is free and on summer weekends a small cafe is open.

Pateley Bridge Riverside

An ever popular location for a sunny afternoon, the River Nidd has several great spots for paddling, skimming stones or just relaxing with a picnic and watching the day go by as it make sits way past the town of Pateley Bridge.  Either explore for yourself, or stop by the Nidd Plus Information Centre for suggestions.

Druids Temple, Masham

This remarkably convincing henge structure has had many stories told about how it came to be at the hands of the druids, how sacrifices were made, how it remains haunted to this day.  None of them are true, but everyone loves a good story.  Druids Temple is in fact a folly, nearby to the pretty town of Masham, and makes great picnic spot with a difference.

The Stray, Harrogate

Harrogate must be unique for having 200 acres of open parkland around its town centre.  The Stray is a great place for a picnic, ball games, frisbee, letting young ones burn of some energy or just taking in some off the many paths that cross and surround for an enjoyable walk or stroll.

Nidderdale Greenway & Beryl Burton Cycleway

This beautiful walk and cycle route network connects the towns of Knaresborough (with the Beryl Burton Cycleway), Harrogate and the pretty village of Ripley, famed for its delicious ice cream, via the Nidderdale Greenway.  Along the way take in the old viaduct across the River Nidd, the view out across Harrogate and glide or stroll along the fields and woodlands.

Valley of the Seven Bridges

Following the river Skell as it leaves the Studley Royal Water Gardens this part of the Studley Royal estate is free to explore, as the path follows the river, crossing it repeatedly along the way.  Fallen trees, large spaces of open grass and the river fords that accompany each bridge along this atmospheric steep sided valley make for an enjoyable exploration for young children.  Accessible on foot from Ripon or the car park at Studley Royal (parking charge applies for none NT members).

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