Harrogate

Escape from the hum-drum with a break in Harrogate at a Best Western hotel.

Yorkshire’s favourite spa town is the perfect destination to indulge in massages, facials and other luxury treatments in both classic and contemporary surroundings. When you’re finished pampering there are plenty of top-quality restaurants available to refuel in and no trip is complete without visiting a traditional tea room.

One weekend might not be enough as the district covers the medieval city of Ripon, the market towns of Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham and Pateley Bridge and even a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Nidderdale (AONB) is filled with undulating valleys and sweeping moorland. A serene environment a mere stone’s throw away from shops, bars, cafes and our character-filled hotels.

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Culture and history in Harrogate

Harrogate’s first gained popularity as a mini-break hotspot in the Victorian era and it shows no sign of slowing. Thankfully, the spa town hasn’t forgotten its roots.

  • Royal Pump Room Museum - First built in 1842, the Royal Pump Room served up to 1,500 glasses of water each morning during Harrogate’s spa-town heyday. Today the building is home to the original wells that served tourists and locals alike, and exhibits detailing life from a bygone era. Prepare your nostrils for the not-so-sweet scent of sulphur.
  • Ripon Cathedral - Take a short drive out of Harrogate to visit Ripon Cathedral, an iconic building with a history that dates back almost 14 centuries. Guests can enjoy the place of worship by attending a service, joining a guided tour, or attending one of the cathedral’s popular choir performances.
  • Markenfield Hall - Said to be the most continuously inhabited house in the country, Markenfield Hall isn’t your typical family dwelling. First there’s the moat, more commonly found at forts and castles, and secondly the residents. That’s right, you might bump into the owner’s grandkids or the family dog running about this beautifully preserved 14th century home during one of their tours.  

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Shopping in Harrogate

Contactless cards at the ready. Try not to overdose on retail therapy at some of our favourite shopping destinations in Yorkshire.

  • The Montpellier Quarter - The ‘Antiques and Art Centre of the North’ is well known for its cobbled streets and iron-wrought street furniture. A picturesque shopping destination where independent boutiques and a thriving café culture give this corner of Harrogate a unique buzz of its own.
  • RHS Harlow Carr Shop and Plant Centre - After you’ve explored the vast gardens at RHS Harlow Carr, you might want to browse the largest gardening and horticultural bookshop in the north. The aisles are filled with titles for children and adults alike and there’s an impressive array of plants and tools on sale too. Everything you need to start a prizewinning garden of your own.
  • The Japanese Shop - You might not think of Japan when you picture Harrogate’s sandstone architecture but nestled in the charming streets is one of the best importers of goods from the land of the rising sun. Expect authentic kimonos, woodblock prints and unique Japanese tableware in the heart of Yorkshire.

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Eating and drinking in Harrogate

Fill up on fancy foods and enjoy craft ales in a casual setting. If that all sounds too much, you can always sit back and enjoy a brew at Betty’s. Harrogate has it all.

  • Betty’s Café Tea Rooms - Betty’s is synonymous with trips to Harrogate and there’s no better way to experience the traditional tea rooms than with afternoon tea. Book in advance for your chance to enjoy a specialist brew with a selection of carefully prepared sandwiches and cakes in the luxurious Imperial Room.
  • Harrogate Brewing Co - When a tea room seems a little too formal, Harrogate Brewing Co could be worth a visit. The family-run microbrewery produces hearty northern ales and open its Tap Room four days a week for guests to sample its creations. Standout beers from the proudly Yorkshire business include the Plum Porter and the aptly named Harrogate Lager.
  • Fat Badger Bar and Grill - Sometimes only the best will do and this AA rosette restaurant in Harrogate’s Montpellier Quarter always delivers. Set within the White Hart Hotel, the grill serves classic British dishes with a contemporary twist. The Georgian manor building is a short stroll from the town centre and much-loved Valley Gardens.

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Things to do in Harrogate

Explore, escape and exfoliate. There’s a lot more to Harrogate than meets the eye and here are some of our favourite things to do around town.

  • Book a Turkish bath - Turkish Baths Harrogate first treated guests to steaming and deep cleaning back in 1897. While the same services and ornate interior remains, treatments at the baths now include more luxurious options such as deep tissue massages and bespoke facials.
  • Plan your way out of an escape room - You’ve got 60 minutes on the clock, a room filled with puzzles and clues and no obvious way to leave. Will you find a way to escape Clue HQ in time? Take on the challenge as a pair or in a group of six in the inconspicuous building tucked behind James Street.
  • Take a stroll through the Stray - The 200 acre-park toward the south of the town centre was once a royal hunting forest. Today, locals head to the Stray in search of colourful flowers and green space away from the crowds. Green-fingered tourists can find more scenic gardens at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Valley Gardens and Newby Hall in Ripon.

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