Harrogate Area Guide North Yorkshire

The Victorian spa town of Harrogate has been a popular destination for many, many years. Its elegant town centre is bursting with quirky shops, fabulous eateries, vibrant bars and historic buildings all waiting to be explored, before you enjoy the stunning scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park which lies just ten minutes away. 

Location

Harrogate itself is situated right in the heart of Yorkshire, within 200 acres of parkland, making it the ideal base for exploring all that this glorious county has to offer. It is accessible via the East Coast main line and trans-Pennine route line connecting Leeds and York. 

The Harrogate district includes the medieval city of Ripon as well as market towns Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham and Pateley Bridge – all of which are connected to Harrogate by regular bus services. 

History

Harrogate was a relatively quiet Hamlet  up until the discovery of wells during the 17th century. After this, it began to grow into popular spa town, attracting people from all over the country who believed the water from these wells could could cure sickness.  

In 1831, Harrogate had a population of around 4,000 but this figure skyrocketed to around 25,000 by the end of the century, aided by the connection of the railway in 1848 and the opening of The Royal Baths in 1897. 

Things to Do

things to do in harrogate

With its heritage as a popular spa town and its reputation as one of Yorkshire’s most affluent towns, there is much to see and a great deal more to spend money on in this Yorkshire town. 

For a truly authentic Victorian spa experience, head to Harrogate’s fully restored Turkish Baths and enjoy an afternoon of pure relaxation, before paying a visit to The Royal Pump Room which now houses the town’s museum. 

For those with alove of the outdoors, Valley Gardens and RHS Harlow Carr both offer stunning flower displays and things to keep the kids entertained whilst you you enjoy a coffee or two. 

No trip to Harrogate would be complete without indulging in a spot of retail therapy. As well as high street favourites, you’ll find no end of fantastic independent shops and boutiques offering unique gifts, homewares, clothing and more. 

Food and Drink

If you’re planning on eating during the day in Harrogate, then Betty’s should be top of your list. They’ve been serving indulgent afternoon teas in their elegant tea rooms since 1919 and their interiors provide the perfect ambience for this quintessentially British tradition.

For evening dining, there’s no shortage of excellent restaurants serving cuisines from various locations across the culinary globe. Buon Gusto is a great independent Italian serving authentic Italian classics, Papa’s is a cosy eatery serving traditional Mediterranean cuisine, and Konak Meze is perfect of you have a love for Turkish food cooked how it should be cooked!

If it’s fine dining you’re after, then Harrogate won’t disappoint. Norse, on Swan Road is a unique fine dining restaurant offering Nordic-inspired cuisine. Horto, headed by Masterchef runner-up and one of Harrogate’s finest chefs, Murray Wilson, serves an ever-changing seasonal menu using ingredients from Rudding’s garden kitchen.  

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