With its residential districts and nearby villages it is the largest town in the county of North Yorkshire. It is also the administrative centre of one of the county's seven large district authorities, the Harrogate Borough, which includes a large rural area, the city of Ripon and towns including Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge.
Harrogate is 3 miles south-west of
Harrogate still has the air of being the resort loved by the Georgians, Victorians and Edwardians who came to sample its well and spring waters which were believed to provide cures for illnesses and to provide well-being. While its spa trade declined long ago, the town still benefits from a sometimes milder climate than other parts of Yorkshire, has some very attractive gardens and has modernised to become an important centre for conferences and exhibitions.
The town's great growth from being two small hamlets in the Royal Forest of Knaresborough came from the discovery of the supposed curing properties of its water sources, starting with its Tewit Well in 1571 and subsequently many other springs. It later led to a large number of spa buildings being created through the Georgian and Victorian periods to cater for a wealthy elite who would come to take the waters and promenade in the buildings and gardens.
Underground pipes connected the wells to The Royal Pump Room (see below), which is situated opposite the gateway to the Valley Gardens.
The Royal Baths were another Victorian attraction, opened in 1897 on the site of the earlier Montpellier baths. The large complex provided a range of hydrotherapy treatments and were extremely popular until the spa trade fell into decline in the 1940s and 50s with the baths eventually closing in 1969. Only the Turkish Baths remain open today with other parts of the complex having being turned into bars, a restaurant and tourist information centre.
Just outside the town centre is the location of Yorkshire and England's foremost agricultural show the Great Yorkshire Show, which is organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society in mid-July each year (July 11-13, 2017). Spring and Autumn flower shows are also held at the showground.
Harrogate post office is in Cambridge Road. There are also sub-post offices in districts of the town.
The town has bank and building society branches.
The town and its districts have several pharmacies.
Harrogate spoils you for choice with places to eat. While it's possibly unfair to single out names from such a wide selection, Betty's tea rooms seem to have become nearly as high-rated an attraction in Harrogate as its spa waters used to be. But there are plenty of other places to relax over food, from famous name restaurants to cosy bar-bistros and pavement cafes. Fine dining is available in a vast range of cuisines.
The traditional street-corner pub has become less of a common sight in Harrogate than in some other Yorkshire towns, perhaps down to the number of large hotels and places to dine, but look around and there are some good quality pubs to be found. Hales Bar in Crescent Road lays claim to being Harrogate's oldest pub, dating from around 1766, while features of the former Winter Gardens of The Royal Baths are now preserved as a Wetherspoon pub.
Harrogate Library is in Victoria Avenue.
For museums and galleries see below.
For theatre information see below.
Harrogate Tourist Information Centre is at The Royal Baths, Crescent Road.
Holiday facilities in Harrogate: hotels, guest houses.
There are several schools around Harrogate and its districts.
Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed, Hebrew, Buddhist.
Valley Gardens, in addition to the restored well heads and pump rooms mentioned earlier, includes a sun pavilion and colonnades, a bandstand, shrub and flower beds and other park activities including a boating lake, paddling pool and children's playground and skate park. The gardens are supported by a friends group.
The Royal Horticultural Society's Garden at Harlow Carr is just outside the town. See Places to Visit below for more details.
Harrogate Theatre and Studio TheatreOxford Street
The Harrogate Theatre is a refurbished late-Victorian theatre, orginally built in 1900. The main performance space has audience seating for 500 and has a varied programme of theatre, music, dance and comedy and is also the venue for musicals and plays by amateur societies. The Studio Theatre offers a 70-seat flexible performance space on the third floor of the Harrogate Theatre.
For further details see the
The Royal Hall
The splendid 1,000-seat Royal Hall is an Edwardian performance hall and theatre at the edge of the town centre. It was orginally opened in 1903 as the Kursaal, the German name being abandoned in the First World War. It was given an £8m restoration between 2006 and 2008. It is regular venue for live music events.
More information at
Harrogate International CentreKings Road
The Harrogate International Centre, next to The Royal Hall, is a huge conference venue with 2,000-seat auditorium and more than 13,000 square metres of event space. It hosts shows by big name musical entertainers as well as major national and international conferences. The centre was the venue of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982.
Further details at the
Harrogate Town AFCHarrogate Town AFC play at the CNG Stadium, Wetherby Road.
Harrogate RUFCHarrogate RUFC play rugby union at Rudding Lane.
Harrogate Cricket ClubThe club play at The County Cricket Ground, St George's Road.
Museums and galleries
Royal Pump Room MuseumCrown Place
Harrogate's history as a spa town is shown at the Royal Pump Room Museum. The building was originally created as one of the town's spa buildings over its old sulphur well in 1842 and, after a period as a cafe, was converted to a museum in 1953. In late 2016, the museum also has temporary exhibitions with fashion and costume themes with a Men of Fashion exhibition until early October and from October until the end of the year film and TV costumes from screen portrayals of the writings of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë.
Further information at the
Mercer Art GallerySwan Road
The building was originally opened in 1806 and is Harrogate's oldest spa building. It was then known as the Promenade Rooms, where those coming to Harrogate could go to socialise after taking the waters. It has also had periods of use as a library and reading room, a theatre, town hall and council offices, before becoming a gallery for Harrogate's fine art in 1991.
Information at the
Places to visit
Royal Horticultural Society Garden Harlow CarrCrag Lane, Beckwithshaw
The Royal Horticultural Society's Garden at Harlow Carr, nearly 2 miles to the west-south-west of Harrogate town centre, covers more than 27 heactares (68 acres) and shows a wide variety of growing landscapes from woodland to wildflower meadows. Gardens include a kitchen garden, a streamside garden running the length of Harlow Carr and a hedgehog-friendly garden, while a glass Alpine House displays a vast collections of alpines. Harlow Carr also holds a host of events, including autumn plant and food festivals and a real ale and cider festival.
Find out more at the
Situated four miles north-north-west of
For further details see the
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Spofforth Castleoff Castle Street, Spofforth
Spofforth Castle is the ruins of a fortified manor house about 6 miles by the A661 road to the south-west of Harrogate. William the Conqueror granted Spofforth to William de Percy, a favourite who was granted many estates in Yorkshire. A manor was built and extended through the 13th century by later generations of the Percy family. It is reputed that the Magna Carta was drawn up there in 1215. Although the Percy family made Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, their base from early in the 14th century, Spofforth remained within the family and underwent some remodelling in the early to mid 15th century. In the War of the Roses, the Percy family supported The House of Lancaster and the castle was wrecked by Yorkists who had gained victory in the 1461 Battle of Towton in which Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland was killed. There was some 16th century restoration, but it was reduced to ruins around the time of the Civil War. The site is free to enter and managed by English Heritage.
Further details at the
English Heritage - Spofforth Castle website.
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Castle Yard, Knaresborough
and Courthouse Museum
In the town of
Find out more at the
Knaresborough Castle and Courthouse Museum web pages.
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Newby Hall & GardensSkelton on Ure
Newby Hall is a family home eight miles north-north-east of Harrogate (about 15 miles by road). It is a fine example of an Adam House, a style practised by the Scottish Adam brothers in the 18th century. Originally built in the late 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren, it was enlarged by John Carr and later modified by Robert Adam. The house has stunning 18th century interior decoration, a dolls house exhibition, Gyles Brandreth's teddy bear collection, a miniature railway and beautiful gardens with a relatively modern design dating from the early 1920s. In July, the hall is a venue for a historic vehicle rally and fireworks championships.
For more information see the
More information can be found at the
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Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyExtending across an area of 232 square miles (603 sq km), the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty starts just 4 miles from Harrogate. The area has a beautiful and varied landscape including rolling heather-topped moorland, stone-walled agricultural fields and farms, small villages, lake-like reservoirs and some outstanding geological features, the best known of which are Brimham Rocks. For more details see our
Yorkshire Dales National ParkAfter going through the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 841 square miles (2,179 square kilometers) of the Yorkshire Dales National Park starts just 12 miles west of Harrogate. Find out more on our
Northern services operate from Harrogate eastwards towards
The station is managed by Northern. Operators running services are Northern and LNER.
Harrogate Bus StationStation Parade
Harrogate bus station is near to the railway station and offers bus services to all neighbouring towns, including
Road travelHarrogate is 7.5 miles from the A1(M) providing onward road connections to the North and South of Yorkshire. The A61 Leeds-Harrogate-Ripon-Thirsk and A59 York-Harrogate-Skipton-Preston-Liverpool routes cross at Harrogate. The A661 leads from Harrogate to Wetherby. Harrogate has on-street pay and display parking and a large multi-storey car park linked by footbridge to its station and Victoria Shopping Centre.
The HS2 effect
HarrogateWhile Harrogate does have some services through to London at present, catching the commuter train into Leeds and walking to a ready to depart train at the HS2 platform would potentially save 38 to 42 minutes off current best journey times.
Emergency servicesNorth Yorkshire Police
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
District authorityHarrogate Borough Council
Harrogate is the administrative centre of Harrogate Borough, one of the large district authorities of the North Yorkshire County Council area and the most populous of its seven districts.
The borough also includes many other villages, towns including
Within the borough are 76 town and civil parish councils and 11 parish meetings.
The borough council was made up of 54 elected members with one-third elected in each year out of four, but from 2018 there are now 40 elected members elected each four years.
Harrogate Borough Council website.
The political composition after the May 2018 election was:
County authorityNorth Yorkshire County Council
Includes the Harrogate borough and six other non-unitary districts of North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire County Council website.
Police and Crime CommissionerPolice and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of North Yorkshire and City of York.
Fire AuthorityThe North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was previously governed by the North Yorkshire Combined Fire Authority made up of elected members from across the broad areas of North Yorkshire and City of York councils which it serves. Following a ministerial announcement in June 2018 the governance of the fire service was transferred to the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire from 15 November 2018.
Further information at the
National government regionYorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial countyNorth Yorkshire
Historic1884-1974: Municipal borough within the West Riding of Yorkshire.
1974-present: Within Harrogate borough in the county of North Yorkshire.
Also in Yorkshire.guide
In Harrogate district:
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