The nights are drawing in and you already have a bad case of S.A.D. What's the remedy? A visit to Harrogate this autumn. This Victorian spa town is considered the ‘jewel in Yorkshire’s crown’, and is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for short breaks in England. Here are my top five reasons to visit Harrogate.
1. A sight for sore eyes
Unlike many British towns, Harrogate retains its Victorian charm. The ‘old town’ is still surrounded by 200 acres of grass and tree-lined paths known as The Stray. Brilliant floral displays greet you at every turn, plus there are wonderful examples of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture.
2. Yorkshire’s best spa town
While Jane Austen had her characters take the waters in Bath, people were really flocking to Harrogate during the reign of George I. While the original 88 sulphur wells are part of Harrogate’s heritage, the fantastic Turkish Baths are still going strong - even after 120 years. What’s so appealing about these Victorian Turkish Baths is that after relaxing in the various hot rooms, you can enjoy a sublime pampering package from the health and beauty team. They offer everything from hot stone therapy to bespoke facials, and have treatments for men and women. It’s essential to book in advance.
3. Harrogate’s gardens
Harrogate’s Valley Gardens opened in the late 1800s, and together with the neighbouring woodland known as The Pinewoods, cover 17 acres. Free to enter, the gardens have an interesting and attractive landscape of plants and trees, as well as tennis courts (seasonal) and an impressive children’s play area. If you take your gardening more seriously, RHS Garden Harlow Carr is a 68-acre site on the outskirts of Harrogate. These gardens offer everything from wildflower meadows to an alpine house. There are events and guided walks throughout the year, and you can purchase plants from the nursery.
4. The arts
From theatres to galleries, Harrogate has plenty of culture to keep you intellectually entertained.
With over 300 establishments to suit every palate and budget, you’ll be spoilt for choice when you dine out in Harrogate. It’s a hot spot for gourmet independents such as Norse and Restaurant 92, as well as for popular chains like Jamie’s Italian, Gino D’acampo’s My Restaurant and The Ivy. If you prefer your food fast, Five Guys, Nandos and YO! Sushi will step up. But no visit to Harrogate is complete without sampling an exquisite afternoon tea at the famous Betty’s café.
Make sure you consider a short break in Harrogate this autumn to chase the blues away!