15 Things to do in Harrogate – What to do, see & eat
Looking for the best things to do in Harrogate? Often referred to as one of the happiest places to live in England, Harrogate is a beautiful and cultivated spa town located in the heart of Yorkshire. Famous for its unique Turkish baths and classic cream tea rooms, a serene spa town filled with historic houses, landscaped gardens, quaint streets and so much more. Alongside the elegant prettiness, the town is full of glorious independent shops, fantastic antique stores, whimsical parks and cosy pubs. So why not visit Harrogate this weekend and treat yourself to a well-earned relaxing weekend break?
Described as the jewel in Harrogate’s crown, the Turkish baths are said to have been perfecting the art of relaxation since 1879. Home to an intricately designed steam room, spa and plunge pool with the most beautiful Terrazzo floors and Moorish mosaics, guests are ensured to experience the most relaxing few hours of their life. Offering treatments such as the express pamper or the popular Turkish delight! Escape the stresses of everyday life with a massage and steam yourself into serenity.
Turkish Baths, Parliament Street, HG1 2WH, www.turkishbathsharrogate
A tranquil English Heritage Grade II Listed garden displaying exquisite flowerbeds, woodlands, rambling paths and carefully clipped lawns set on an impressive 17-acres of beautiful Yorkshire soil. Home to an impressive amount of mineral springs, visitors are sure to continue their tranquil journey of discovering Harrogate’s hidden beauties. Offering a wide variety of outdoor activities – such as tennis courts, boating pools, pitch and putt golf courses and an impressive children’s play area – as well as a light refreshments café, families are sure to be impressed with their day trip. So why not add Valley Gardens to your list of things to do in Harrogate?
Valley Gardens, Valley Drive, HG1 2SZ, https://www.harrogate.gov.uk
Promising an abundance of carefully constructed finger sandwiches, freshly brewed teas and dainty sweet treats and bubbles, there is nothing more you could desire. Home to the original Betty’s Tea Room – opened in 1919 – guests can choose whether they would like to upgrade their experience and enjoy some luxurious pink champagne along with their classic British experience. Goldsborough Hall once housed HRH Princess Mary and ensures that all guests are treated like royalty during their exciting Afternoon Tea experience. Looking for the Best Afternoon Teas in Harrogate – read our guide
Ripley Castle is considered to be a remarkable piece of history located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Home to a history of political, military, religious and social turbulence, Ripley Castle is one to visit for those wanting to brush up on their history of Harrogate. Tales from the castle’s past are told to visitors on guided tours as they explore the castle’s grounds, discovering authentic and original information. The Old Tower – which dates back to the middle of the 16th century – is stacked from with copious amounts of antique books, chandeliers, armour and fine wood panelling.
Ripley Castle, Ripley, HG3 3AY, https://www.ripleycastle.co.uk/
Brimham Rocks is a National Trust site dotted with obscure 30-foot high rock formations balancing on top of each other. There are a variety of walks to do, including one particular route starting from the village of Pateley Bridge which includes passing the oldest sweetshop in the world. Many of the boulders have been given alluring names such as The Dancing Bear, The Sphinx and The Turtle. So why not enjoy an outdoorsy weekend and add Brimham Rocks to your list of things to do in Harrogate.
Brimham Moor Road, Summerbridge, HG3 4DW, https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Bettys Cookery School
Known for their intricate icing, smiling fat rascals, and ginormous Easter eggs, Bettys is a real Yorkshire Institution. You too can add a touch of class to mealtimes, after a cookery class at their Hookstone Park kitchen. Ever wanted to know how they get that Rösti so crispy? Well, now you can try your hand at their Swiss founder’s favourite. There are courses on transforming store cupboard pulses and grains into healthy Mediterranean dishes, pastry making, and of course cake decorating. A must on your list when looking for things to do in Harrogate.
Bettys Cookery School, Hookstone Chase, Hookstone Park, HG2 7LD – https://www.bettys.co.uk/cookery-school
Crowds have been treated to live entertainment within the Georgian theatre since it first opened in 1788. Whether you’re looking for a night full of laughter, suspense, music, dance or pantomime, there’s something on to impress everyone. With productions taking place constantly throughout the year, there is always something new to discover and no excuse not to visit the talented and impressive troupe.
6 Oxford Street, HG1 1QF, https://www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk/
Here’s one for those who crave the thrill and freshness of being outdoors. Almscliffe Crag is situated above the beautiful Lower Wharfe Valley, just South of Harrogate and provides hikers with picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful views of rural Yorkshire. For those looking for a quiet countryside weekend getaway, this one’s for you. So whip out your walking boots, raincoat and beanie, and let the weekend commence! And why not treat yourself to a delicious pub lunch along the way? You’ll certainly have earned it. The Fat Badger in the heart of the spa town is one of our favourites.
Crag Lane, Leeds LS17 0ER – walking route
The Spa at Rudding Park Hotel
As one of Yorkshire’s most impressive spas, if you’re looking to relax during your visit to Harrogate – this is certainly the place to be. Featuring the UK’s first Roof Top Spa and Garden complete with Hydrotherapy Infinity Pool and Panoramic Sauna, the spa also features an Indoor Swimming Pool, a Juniper Log Sauna, Rasul for traditional Moorish mud treatments, a Manicure, Pedicure and Makeup Bar, Hair Studio, as well as four immersive sensory zones to enhance wellness of mind, body and soul. By day, spa guests can experience kitchen garden cuisine at Horto Cafe and by night, Horto Restaurant offers contemporary fine dining that we highly recommend. Spa lover? Don’t miss our guide to Yorkshire Best Spa Breaks.
Rudding Park Hotel, Follifoot, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1JH – https://www.ruddingpark.co.uk/spa/
RHS Harlow Carr Gardens
Situated on the Western outskirts of Harrogate, Harlow Carr Gardens is one of just four gardens managed by the Royal Horticultural Society. The outstanding 58-acre garden and woodland sits at the foot of the beloved Yorkshire Dales and is the perfect place for those seeking a tranquil getaway. The colours and fragrances from the plants originating from all around the globe provide the most refreshing smell. The garden is home to Betty’s Tea House so be sure to stop off along your tour for a delicious Fat Rascal! Providing some stellar photo opportunities, RHS Harlow Carr Gardens is one for you Instagram addicts looking for things to do in Harrogate.
Crag Lane, HG3 1QB, https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr
Mercer Art Gallery
Home to more than 2000 pieces of art, in which the majority originate from the 19th and 20th centuries. Featuring work from artists such as William Powell Frith, Alan Davie, John Atkinson Grimshaw and Dame Laura Knight, there’s sure to be a piece to ignite creativity and curiosity in each and every visitor. As well as offering a dose of modern fine art, the Mercer Art Gallery assembles temporary exhibitions, ensuring that the gallery is always up to date with current trends.
31 Swan Road, HG1 2SA – www.harrogate.gov.uk/mercer
Slingsby Gin Experience
Fancy doing something a little different this weekend? Look no further, as the Spirit of Harrogate offers guests a unique Gin experience. Choose from, Spirit of Gin or Master Distiller, guests will embark on a range of activities ranging from gin tasting to personalising your very own bottle of gin. With over 150 of the popular tipple on offer, the hardest part of your experience will be deciding which one to sample!
5-7 Montpellier Parade, Harrogate, HG1 2TJ, https://www.spiritofharrogate.co.uk/
The stunning 200 acres of open grassland in the heart of the town is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, to enjoy a picnic, walk or play outdoor games. The Stray also includes football pitches for local groups and hosts two annual funfairs over the Spring and August bank holidays, as well as other events throughout the year. Spring is the perfect time to visit when the long line of cherry blossom trees will be in full bloom.
16 West Park, HG1 1BJ
Mother Shipton’s Cave
Open since 1930, this is England’s oldest visitor attraction. Telling the story of Mother Shipton’s Cave and the Petrifying Well. Located within stunning historic woodland, the walk along the River Nidd takes you to the cave where famous Yorkshire prophetess Mother Shipton was born. It is situated next to the Petrifying Well, a unique geological phenomenon. Over hundreds of years curiosity has drawn millions of visitors to the well to see cascading water turn everyday objects to stone – as if by magic. Sir Henry Slingsby’s Long Walk is described by English Heritage as “one of the best” of its kind, with visitors from all over the world being enchanted by the park’s natural beauty.
Prophecy Lodge, High Bridge, Knaresborough, HG5 8DD – www.mothershipton.co.uk
The Great Yorkshire Show
If you’re visiting in July, this is one of the best things to do in Harrogate. The Great Yorkshire Show celebrates the best of British food, farming and countryside. Considered to be not only an iconic three-day event but one of the biggest agricultural events in the English calendar, this is a fun day out that you do not want to pass up. Every year, more than 130,000 visitors and 8,500 animals come together to compete, socialise and celebrate everything wonderful about the English countryside. Wonderful entertainment, cookery demos, shopping and a fabulous fashion show will be provided.
Regional Agricultural Centre, Great Yorkshire Showground, Railway Road, HG2 8NZ – https://greatyorkshireshow.co.uk/
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