Famous for its spa waters, cream teas and stunning surroundings, Harrogate is an iconic northern place for visitors, with quaint streets, historic houses, landscaped gardens and so many fun things to do.
Life is slower in this beautiful town. You can see why famous crime writer Agatha Christie moved here and lived incognito here in 1926 after the breakdown of her marriage.
Alongside the relaxing baths is a town full of great independent shops, glorious antique stores and top-class cosy pubs serving excellent beer. The rolling green hills on the outskirts of the town make it a perfect location for a spot of golf.
Harrogate’s famous spa water contains iron, sulphur and common salt. Known as ‘The English Spa’ during the Georgian era, the effect of its waters were first discovered in the 16th century. For the next couple of centuries, people travelled to Harrogate to make use of the popular health treatment, and the influx of wealthy but sickly visitors contributed significantly to the wealth of the town.
Two metal detectorists found a significant Viking treasure hoard just outside Harrogate in 2007. The 10th century stash contains almost 700 coins and other items from as far away as Afghanistan.
Harrogate and its surrounding areas have some of the highest property prices in England, with many properties in the town and surrounding villages valued at £1 million or more. It is thought to be the most expensive place to live in the North of England, making it at odds with its traditional Yorkshire setting.
The town’s main shopping district surrounds the area of Cambridge Street, Oxford Street, Beulah Street and James Street, which is home to many of the key shops in Harrogate. There is a wide range of boutique and designer shopping on Parliament Street and in the Montpellier Quarter, as well as independent shopping around Commercial Street.
As well as great shopping experiences, there are also many fine examples of architecture about the town. The only Grade I listed building is St Wilfrid’s Church in Duchy Road, which was designed by the architect Temple Lushington Moore and is often considered his masterpiece. Another main landmark is the Royal Hall theatre, a Grade II listed building designed by Frank Matcham, the architect famous for breathing new life into the UK’s theatres and music halls.
The Valley Gardens, in Low Harrogate, is the town’s main park and covers much of the area originally known as ‘Bogs Field’, where a number of the town’s springs were discovered. The Valley Gardens have an ice-cream parlour; children’s play area with outdoor paddling pool, a skate park, frisbee golf, crazy golf and mini golf. The Sun Pavilion at the northern edge of the park is often hired out for private functions and events.
There are so many attractions in the surrounding area for both visitors and residents to enjoy. Lightwater Valley offers an adrenaline rush like no other, 18th century Newby Hall is a splendid country house and its gardens are plentiful. The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be found just to the north east of Harrogate.
Stockeld Park is fun all year round but particularly around Halloween and Christmas when it becomes a real Winter Wonderland and Studfold is a White Rose Award winning, magical family countryside experience providing the best insight into Nidderdale life.