Ahh Harrogate. Beautiful, beautiful, Harrogate.
THE quintessential Victorian spa town.
Harrogate has it all folks: incredible architecture that is complemented so harmoniously by the many open leafy spaces, boutique shopping districts FULL of independent retailers and a just-won’t-find-that-anywhere-else kind of vibe (search ‘Cold Bath Road Harrogate’ or ‘Montpellier Quarter Harrogate’), a buzzing food and drink scene that is fast becoming an attraction in its own right and truly friendly people all make for a seriously high and…hey, we’ll dare to say it, exceptional quality of life.
There is a reason why Harrogate is so often voted one of Britain’s happiest places to live (closely followed by another Yorkshire destination: Skipton) – so it stands to reason that it should also be one of the happiest places to visit, right?
(It is…trust us.)
Given the wealth of tourism that Harrogate enjoys, there are subsequently a number of wonderful things to do in the area (let alone just losing an hour or two exploring those shops and bars…) but, as with all lists order must be established! And here are our favourite things to do, in our favourite town:
The Turkish Baths
The Turkish Baths opened in 1897…and are basically accountable for putting the town on the map. This facility really is the jewel in Harrogate’s crown and for good reason! The spa is decorated throughout with those intricate Moorish mosaics and the terrazzo floors lead off to a number of wonderful rooms, such as rooms of steam! And heat! The plunge pool is incredible and if it is serenity you seek friend…look no further!
(Seriously, this is a must see…and also a ‘must book in advance’).
Parliament Street, HG1 2WH – www.turkishbathsharrogate.co.uk
Distance from the hotel: a mere 0.9miles…or a 15min walk. Or about £4.00 in a taxi.
Top Tip: TRUST US,
you are going to leave the baths in a lovely state of relaxation…don’t ruin it!
Roll with it, book a lovely lunch or leisurely afternoon. Enjoy. Also, as we mentioned
BOOK in advance.
You may well have heard of them?
This is a BIG deal and an absolute Yorkshire institution, the first of these truly elegant and traditional Cafés opened in 1919 and Bettys remained a firm fixture in Harrogate ever since.
Expect silver cake stands, fine china, warm knowledgeable staff (in period costume), exclusive teas and coffees, INCREDIBLE cakes and the best people watching around!
Bettys is one of those rare tourist attractions that local people themselves still frequent, it isn’t unusual to see a queue outside the shop for those wanting their morning pastry or lunchtime loaves.
Parliament Street, HG1 2QU (just up the hill from the Turkish Baths) – www.bettys.co.uk
Distance from the hotel: the same as the Turkish Baths…a leisurely stroll from our front door!
Top Tip: Be ready to queue if you haven’t booked, also try a ‘Fat Rascal’, they are the scone of Yorkshire. Just trust us on this one too.
If you have arrived by car, then be sure to factor in some time to visit this market (and spa) town just up the road. You may well have seen Knaresborough and not realised it as the town is so often photographed….and for good reason!
Enjoy an hour or two spent just walking the streets, exploring the small boutique shops and make your way up to Knaresborough Castle for some seriously Instagram worthy snaps. From there, head down the rock-side stairs to the base of the Aqueduct and take a wooden rowing boat out onto the River Nidd, with a refreshing ice cream (or two).
For something truly unique to the town, head to the other side of the river to Mother Shipton’s Cave…which really has to be seen to be believed; expect some beautiful woodland walking with superb parks for the children, oh and a Cave where England’s most famous ‘Prophetess’ used to live and make her (uncannily accurate) predictions. For added quirkiness, there is a ‘Petrifying Well’ where items such as Teddy Bears have, in the waters that drip from the well, been turned to stone…in as little as 3-5 months! The Petrifying Well is actually reckoned to be the oldest visitor attraction and is referenced as early as 1538. It really is pretty special!
Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 – www.mothershipton.co.uk
Distance from the hotel: Knaresborough is a short 3mile drive from our front door.
Top Tip: Definitely rent a boat, and if you are travelling on the second Saturday in June…be prepared to be diverted around the most unusual of Knaresborough-traditions, the annual ‘Bed Race’, where plucky locals race a gruelling 2.4mile course, that ends in…a bed race!
The three destinations listed here are just a few of our personal favourites (with them being so close to our hotel) – but this little list by no means shows the extent of what Yorkshire has to offer! From our breath-taking coastlines, via jaw dropping countryside and vast rolling dales (as seen in SO many TV shows!) to our bustling city centres…there really is so much to explore and enjoy.
To visit us once, is to start planning your next trip.
PS us Yorkshire-folk are pretty well known for our warm hospitality too…so don’t be surprised if you get engaged in a chat (or three!) whilst out and about exploring!