A visit to Harrogate is likely to put a smile on your face as the spa town has been voted as the happiest place in the UK.
It's easy to see why people love the place so much. Not only is it one of the North's most affluent metropolises it is also one of the country's prettiest with its stone Victorian buildings and well-kept gardens.
Harrogate is a great place to stay regardless of whether you an outdoors type or someone who loves to shop. The town has an array of boutiques and department stores as well as top class restaurants, but it also sits amongst stunning countryside and is only a stone's throw away from the Yorkshire Dales.
The town is famous for a number of things, but it was the discovery of a natural spring in 1571 that first started bringing people to the area. The great and the good of the time found the water to be very therapeutic and travelled from around the country to bath in it as well as drink it.
During the Victorian era, Turkish baths were common in many towns and cities, but only three remain in England and one can be found in Harrogate. The Royal Baths Assembly Rooms were opened in 1897 and was considered to be the most advanced hydrotherapy centre on the planet.
They are still splendid today thanks to significant restoration, but the treatments available are modern and include hot stones, Reiki, Indian head massages and reflexology.
As well as water, Harrogate is also known for Tea. Taylors of Harrogate, which makes Yorkshire Tea amongst other blends, has been going for more than 120 years and is one of the country's favourite brands.
Obviously, no tea is grown in Harrogate itself due to the climate, but the firm uses the best methods to buy premium quality teas from around the world. Since the 1950s Taylors has been owned by another Harrogate institution, Bettys.
If you are not aware of Bettys then we hope you soon will. Founded in 1919, Bettys has six tea rooms across Yorkshire with two in Harrogate. Its flagship café can be found on Parliament Street and offers a fine selection of refreshments, cream cakes and its famous fruity scone, the Fat Rascal. Such is the popularity of Bettys that on some days the queue for seating goes out of the door.
On top of great tasting teas and Fat Rascals, no visit to Harrogate can be complete without sampling the delights of Farrah's Original Harrogate Toffee. This brittle butterscotch was originally made to clear the palate after drinking the town's spa water, but is now very much a treat on its own.
It still comes in small embossed metal tins with the same blue and silver design it had in the Victorian era and is a firm favourite of the Queen, who when visiting the factory in 1998 said that the Royal Family have been enjoying Farrah's for generations..
People who love flowers are drawn to Harrogate as it is one of the most colourful places imaginable, with green areas, flower beds and hanging baskets dotted its streets.
Valley Gardens is the main horticultural area in the town centre. It comprises of 17 acres of woodland, park and floral displays and is believed to have more mineral springs than anywhere else in the world.
On the edge of Harrogate is RHS Garden Harlow Carr. This is one of only four public gardens run by the Royal Horticultural Society and it attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year.
The winner of many awards, the gardens has stunning shrubs, pretty perennials and beautiful bulbs on a site that is spread over 83 acres. It also has its own Bettys tea room so you can enjoy a fine beverage after you have explored the foliage.
A great place to take in some history near Harrogate is Ripley Castle. Constructed during the 14th century, it is a Grade I listed building that has hosted everyone from monarchs to gun-power conspirators in its time.
It is a privately owned residence but is open to the public with tours running that tell the story of the building and its many residents.
An attraction that goes even further back in time are the Brimham Rocks. Owned by the National Trust, these are balancing rock formations that reach a height of almost 30 metres. Their weird shapes were created by ancient weather conditions and they really do capture the imagination, with one presenting a dancing bear.
Welcome to Harrogate what's on now page. YorkshireDales.co.uk is investing in the local community by giving every town in and around the Yorkshire Dales an outlet to show the world what we are doing locally. As we get information we will grow this section to accommodate all the wonderful information you send us. In this section we are looking for all sorts of local information. For example it might include the following but we are happy to list lots more -:
- Local sports clubs - information, times and contact
- Other local groups
- Weekly events for locals like yoga and poker in the pub or darts, etc.
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Welcome to Harrogate local information page. YorkshireDales.co.uk is investing in the local community by giving every town in and around the Yorkshire Dales an outlet to show the world what we are doing locally. As we get information we will grow this section to accommodate all the wonderful information you send us. In this section we are looking for all sorts of local information. For example it might include the following but we are happy to list lots more -:
- Opening times for library
- Planning and council services
- Town Hall details
- Church Times and contact details
- Parish and local news publications
- Doctors/dentist surgery and hospital hours, address and phone numbers
- Useful Telephone Numbers. For example Vet, vicarage, MP, councillor.
- Local taxis
- Recreation information to include swimming pools and parks
- Museum and art gallery times
- You tell us what you want to shout about
Please send us details of any local information for Harrogate and we will post them here.
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For this find us section we are looking for all sorts of local travel information. For example it might include the following but we are happy to list lots more -:
- Parking locations
- Bus timetables and bus stop location
- Possible route to town description and road numbers
- Trains and other means of transport
Please send us details of any local travel information for Harrogate - we will post them here.
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