A community that grew to prominence as one of Britain's leading spa centres during the Georgian era, Harrogate is still one of the country's most desirable living locations, and is close to the outstanding natural scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.
Harrogate earned the enviable title of 'The English Spa' centre by the 18th century, when large numbers of wealthy tourists visited the area to take advantage of the mineral-rich waters.
What to see and do:
The Valley Gardens
This beautifully landscaped 17-acre park is a Grade II Listed Garden and holds regular band concerts in the summer. The park, which is within walking distance of several Harrogate hotels, is renowned for its Magnesia Well Café, and features spectacular floral displays in the spring and summer.
This imposing Edwardian theatre organises many live performances throughout the year and is a Grade II-Listed venue. The hall, which benefited from a multi-million pound restoration in 2008, was the setting for the acclaimed International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in 2014, and also holds the annual Harrogate International Festivals celebration.
Featuring an intriguing art collection from the late Georgian, Victorian and 20th century eras, the Mercer Art Gallery is regularly open to the public and comprises around 2,000 artefacts. Harrogate is also home to several exquisite spas such as the Kanchana Thai Wat Po Massage and Reflexology centre and the Harrogate Turkish Baths and Health Spa, and is the location of the Royal Pump Rooms Museum, showcasing the town's proud spa heritage.
Places to visit near Harrogate
Visit magnificent Ripon Cathedral, which is one of Britain's most photogenic churches and dates back to the 12th century. The Grade I-listed landmark, which replaced a much older 7th-century stone church, became a cathedral in 1836 and features a magnificent decorative rood screen. Another nearby attraction worth visiting is Brimham Rocks, which is in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and includes a series of unusual balancing rock formations.
Where to dine
The town is home to a fantastic variety of restaurants, including the Bed Restaurant (Burnsey Eat Drink), which serves tantalising seafood, English cuisine and vegetarian dishes to suit all tastes. If you're after some delicious French food, head to the Bodega Alpina Gastro Ski Lodge, or try L'Albero Delle Noci for some wonderful Mediterranean, Italian, vegetarian and seafood dishes
Where to stay
For an enchanting venue in lush, open surroundings, you can choose the romantic Rudding Park Hotel, or choose The Majestic Hotel if you're looking for some historic grandeur in a truly remarkable setting. For good value for money and a friendly atmosphere, book a stay at the Premier Inn Harrogate, or consider the affordable and elegant Ascot House Hotel Harrogate for great boutique hospitality.
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