Visit Harrogate, a beautiful spa town, nestled in North Yorkshire for a unique blend of culture, nature, and modern amenities. With its charming architecture, famous gardens, and delicious local cuisine, Harrogate is a tourist’s delight. In this article, we will take you on a journey through Harrogate’s rich history, top tourist attractions, best places to stay, delicious food and drink, famous gardens and parks, unique shopping experiences, events and festivals, outdoor activities, and how to get to Harrogate. By the end, you’ll be ready to pack your bags and visit Harrogate for your next adventure.
Why Visit Harrogate?
Harrogate is a spa town located in North Yorkshire, England. Harrogate is known for its beautiful architecture, quality of life, picturesque gardens, and rich history. It was first established as a spa town in the 16th century when its natural springs were discovered to have healing properties.
Harrogate’s first mineral spring was discovered by William Slingsby in 1571. Soon the personal physician to Queen Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) recommended the waters for their medicinal properties. Harrogate became known as ‘The English Spa’; the ﬁrst British use of the term ‘Spa’. Harrogate then soon became a destination for health and enjoyment – visitors flocked to ‘Take the Waters’ and experience Harrogate’s vibrant social scene.
Over recent years Harrogate has been reinventing itself as one of the hippest and happiest Yorkshire towns and the town has grown into a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. Harrogate is a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, making it an ideal destination for travellers of all ages.
History of Harrogate
Harrogate’s history dates back to the 17th century when its natural springs were discovered to have healing properties. The town quickly grew into a popular spa destination, attracting wealthy visitors from all over the world. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the town continued to grow, with many beautiful buildings and gardens being constructed. In the 20th century, Harrogate became an important centre for conferences and exhibitions, cementing its place as a hub for business and tourism that continues to this day.
Visit Harrogate – Top Tourist Attractions in Harrogate
Harrogate has many top tourist attractions that are must-sees for any visitor. One of the most popular attractions is the Royal Pump Room Museum, where you can learn about the town’s history as a spa destination. Another must-visit is the Harrogate Turkish Baths, where you can relax and unwind in the beautiful Victorian-style baths. For nature lovers, the RHS Garden Harlow Carr is a must-see, with its stunning gardens and beautiful walking trails. Other top attractions include the Valley Gardens, the Mercer Art Gallery, and the Nidderdale Museum.
Best Places to Stay in Harrogate Town Centre
Harrogate has many excellent places to stay, ranging from luxurious hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts. For a luxurious official 4* experience, consider staying at The Yorkshire Hotel on Prospect Place HG1 1LA with free parking located in the heart of Harrogate. Also on Prospect Place is the Hotel Du Vin Harrogate which is dog-friendly. For a more budget-friendly option, consider staying at the Premier Inn Harrogate Town Centre, which offers comfortable rooms at an affordable price and is just a 5-minute walk from the heart of Harrogate town centre, with a direct bridge link to Harrogate Convention Centre.
Visit Harrogate for Delicious Food and Drink
Harrogate is known for its delicious local cuisine, ranging from traditional British dishes to international cuisine. For a traditional British experience, head to Bettys Tea Rooms and Cafe, where you can enjoy a classic afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream, and jam.
For a more international taste, consider visiting the Pan-Asian Orchid Restaurant located in the Studley Hotel on Swan Road or La Feria, a popular Spanish tapas restaurant on Cold Bath Road.
If superb seafood is your passion, then head for the Drum & Monkey in the boutique Montpellier Quarter at 5 Montpellier Gardens, Harrogate HG1 2TF. There is ample on-street pay and display parking (free from 6 pm) and there is a pay and display car park just opposite the restaurant.
Harrogate is also home to many cozy pubs and bars, where you can enjoy a pint of local ale or a delicious cocktail.
Visit Harrogate Pubs: 6 Choice Harrogate Town Centre Pubs
- Bacchus Wine and Cocktail Bar: 90 Station Parade, Harrogate, HG1 1HQ
- Cold Bath Brewing Company and Cold Bath Club House: 46 King’s Road, Harrogate, HG1 5JW
- Devonshire Tap House: 10 Devonshire Place, Harrogate, HG1 4AA
- Major Tom’s Social: 3 The Ginnel, Harrogate, HG1 2RB
- Monteys: 3 The Ginnel, Harrogate, HG1 2RB
- The Little Ale House: 7 Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate, HG1 1DH
Visit Harrogate’s Famous Gardens and Parks
Harrogate is famous for its beautiful gardens and parks, which are a must-see for any visitor. The RHS Garden Harlow Carr is one of the most popular gardens, with its stunning plants, flowers, and walking trails. Your trip to RHS Garden Harlow Carr would not be complete without taking a break at Yorkshire’s well-known Bettys Café Tea Rooms and Shop by the garden entrance, or Bettys Tea House inside the garden.
The Valley Gardens is another popular park, with its beautiful flower beds, fountains, and children’s play area. For a more unique experience, consider visiting the Studley Royal Water Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to stunning water features and beautiful wildlife, and Fountains Abbey.
Unique Shopping Experiences in Harrogate
Harrogate is home to many unique shopping experiences, ranging from independent boutiques to high-end retailers. For a classic Harrogate experience, head to Bettys Tea Rooms and Cafe, where you can purchase delicious baked goods and gifts. The Victoria Shopping Centre in Harrogate has many big brand stores and a Eurochange travel money foreign exchange outlet.
Montpellier Quarter Harrogate
For an independent experience, head to the Montpellier Quarter, where you can find many boutiques and shops – the Montpellier Quarter in Harrogate has over 50 independent shops, salons, bars and pavement cafés including the famous Bettys located at 1 Parliament St, Harrogate HG1 2QU. There is another Bettys to enjoy in Harrogate at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, a 5-minute drive or 30-minute walk away.
Events and Festivals in Harrogate
Harrogate is home to many events and festivals throughout the year, making it a vibrant and exciting place to visit. One of the most popular events is the Harrogate Flower Show, which is held twice a year in spring and autumn and attracts 90,000 visitors annually from all over the world. The Harrogate Music Festival is another popular event, featuring many local and international musicians. Other popular festivals include the Harrogate Literature Festival, the Harrogate Comedy Festival, and the Harrogate Food and Drink Festival.
Harrogate Convention Centre
The Harrogate Convention Centre opened in 1982 when it hosted The Eurovision Song Contest and was expanded in 2014 and has its own car park with around 158 spaces plus spaces for Blue Badge holders. Harrogate Convention Centre has a 2,000-seat auditorium, 10 event halls and meeting spaces.
Harrogate Pump Room Museum
Harrogate Royal Pump Room Museum is the strongest sulphur well in Europe, where 15,000 affluent people used to come every summer to take Harrogate’s famous waters. The museum has a shop and a changing temporary exhibition programme and permanent displays of Harrogate’s spa history.
Visit Harrogate Mercer Art Gallery
Located on Swan Road Harrogate, the magnificent Mercer Art Gallery Building was originally built over 200 years ago as the Promenade Rooms a place for spa visitors to socialise. The building later became a theatre, then Harrogate Town Hall and since 1991, the Mercer Art Gallery.
Research has shown that the average time spent looking at an artwork is only about eight seconds – so Mercer Art Gallery Visitors are invited to try “slow looking” in the gallery. One chooses an artwork, selects a slow-looking card, and then allow more time to make one’s own connections.
Visit Harrogate Stray
The area of Harrogate Stray was historically part of the Forest of Knaresborough, a royal hunting forest that passed into the hands of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, in 1369. Harrogate Stray is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster, an estate of the British sovereign, and was gifted to the people of Harrogate with protective restrictions on how it is used.
Today Harrogate Stray, known as The Stray, is 200 acres of relatively flat green parkland in the centre of Harrogate making it a beautiful place for relaxation, picnics and walks. There are also specific cycleways and no cycling areas.
Outdoor Activities in Harrogate
Harrogate is surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many beautiful walking and cycling trails in the area, including the Nidd Gorge Walk and the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway. Other popular outdoor activities in Harrogate include fishing, horse riding, and golfing.
Harrogate Golf Club
Harrogate Golf Club is located off the A59 on Forest Lane Head, Harrogate HG2 7TF, and welcomes visitors – visiting golfers can play from 9.30 am on weekdays; weekend times are subject to availability.
Harrogate Golf Club has an online Visitor Tee Reservation and Open Competition booking and payment facility
Harrogate Golf Club has four buggies that may be booked by contacting the Harrogate Golf Club Pro Shop: 01423 862547.
Fishing in Harrogate
Crimple Fisheries is located in the beautiful Crimple Valley on the outskirts of Harrogate offering day ticket coarse fishing. The lake is well stocked with Bream, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Tench, Golden Orfe and Carp up to 20lb in weight.
Harrogate Turkish Baths
The Harrogate Turkish Baths on Parliament Street are Britain’s most fully restored Victorian Turkish Baths. Harrogate Turkish Baths are of Moorish design with Islamic arches and screens – the walls have vibrant glazed brickwork, the ceilings arabesque and there are magnificent terrazzo floors.
Harrogate Turkish Baths Age Limit
Entry is strictly restricted to persons aged 16 and over and you may be asked for verification of your age.
Harrogate Turkish Baths Towels
Do you need to take a towel? Towels are provided by Harrogate Turkish Baths. You’re provided with two towels upon entry – one to take with you around the spa and the other towel to use as you get dressed to leave. Swimwear is compulsory at all sessions including single-sex sessions.
How long is a Turkish Baths session at Harrogate?
Booking slots are 120 minutes – allow yourself 1.5 hours to 2 hours. Visitors are requested to arrive 15 minutes prior to their appointment time and advance bookings and payments are required for all treatments and can be made on their booking line 01423 556746.
Visit Harrogate – How to Get to Harrogate
Harrogate is easily accessible by car, train, air, or bus. If you’re driving, the town is located just off the A1 motorway. If you’re traveling by train, Harrogate is serviced by direct trains from London Kings Cross, which takes approximately 3 hours. There are also many bus services that travel to Harrogate from nearby towns and cities. The nearest airport to Harrogate is Leeds-Bradford Aiport, 12 miles by car (20 minutes). Taxis cost around £35.
Where Can I Park for Free in Harrogate?
Here is where parking is free in the evenings from 6 pm to 9 am the next day and all day on Sundays
Bower Street 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
Crescent Road 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
Esplanade 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
Hayward Street 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
Parade 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
Queensway 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
St Mary’s Walk 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
Victoria Road 6 pm to 9 am – Mon to Sat
Harrogate Car Parking App
Harrogate residents and visitors can pay for town centre street parking using AppyParking+ . Harrogate’s ‘smart city’ app facility simplifies finding and paying for parking in Harrogate using smart sensors in every bay, saving time, fuel, and money by taking you straight to an available parking space.
Thinking of Moving to Harrogate?
Looking for the best place to live in Harrogate? The Duchy, land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster, is local Harrogate-shorthand for very posh. This premier area includes Duchy Road, Cornwall Road, Kent Road, and Oakdale. Other sought-after Harrogate addresses include Park Avenue, Regent Parade, The Oval and York Place.
Harrogate is a safe place for relocating young families and second-steppers with many relocating from London and the Southeast of England seeking a more relaxed quality of life and Yorkshire lifestyle.
Why Harrogate Should be Your Next Travel Destination
Harrogate is a beautiful and charming town that offers a unique blend of history, nature, and modern amenities. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing spa experience, a taste of local cuisine, or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Harrogate has something for everyone. So why not pack your bags and visit Harrogate for your next travel destination? You won’t be disappointed.
Visit Harrogate Map
Other Places to See Whilst Visiting Harrogate in Yorkshire
Black Swan Oldstead (Michelin Star destination resaurant with rooms)
Star Inn at Harome (Michelin Star destination resaurant with rooms)