Valley gardens

Harrogate is a beautiful Victorian spa town in the English county of North Yorkshire. Home to the famous Betty's tea rooms, Harlow Carr Gardens and Harrogate Spa Water. In addition to being a charming floral town Harrogate is a popular convention town (the center of town includes a large convention center). As a result it has many good restaurants and hotels and a pleasant, walkable center of town. Also, it can be difficult to get hotel reservations during the summer. Northwest of Harrogate is "Herriott country", the area where James Herriott lived and wrote the books All things Great and Small/Bright and beautiful, etc. This remains a picturesque, relatively untouched area (unlike the nearby commercialized 'Lake District') that makes for several pleasant daylong drive.

Harrogate was voted as the 3rd and 4th 'Best Places to Live in the UK' in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Get in

By plane

The closest airport is Leeds-Bradford International Airport (LBA), offering direct flights daily across Europe, Africa and Asia. Major airlines include BMI, KLM, PIA, Ryanair and Jet2.com (based at Leeds-Bradford Airport). The 737 bus frequently connects the airport to Harrogate.

By train

North Yorkshire is served by both CrossCountry and East Coast lines. The closest major rail stations are in Leeds and York. Harrogate train station provides direct links to York, Leeds and London Kings Cross.

By car

Easily accessed from the A1. Top tip: If travelling north on the A1 take the Junction 45 exit to Wetherby rather than waiting for the Harrogate exit. You'll get there quicker and go through the lovely town of Wetherby. Use the A61 through Leeds from the M62 west and M1 south rather than the much slower M1 South East Leeds Orbital.

By bus

The 36 and the 770 buses frequently connect Harrogate to Leeds.

Get around

There are frequent bus services around Harrogate and Knaresborough and to neighbouring towns and villages, most of them operated by Harrogate & District using modern low-floor buses. The main road from Harrogate to Knaresborough sees a bus every 8 minutes during the daytime.

Northern Rail run a half-hourly train service from Harrogate to local stations at Knaresborough, Starbeck, Hornbeam Park and Pannal, continuing to Leeds. Every other service continues to York.

The town is reasonably compact, so walking and cycling are great ways to get around and see the town at its best.

As the town is crossed by two main roads, the A61 and A59, it can suffer badly from congestion at peak times, so driving is not recommended if you can find another way of getting around.


Betty's tea rooms

Visit the famous Betty's tearooms a favourite of the Queen when she visits the area. Due to its popularity there are long queues to eat in the cafe at weekends however if you don't want to wait you can get everything for a picnic from the onsite bakery.

Also don't miss a visit to the historical Valley Gardens, a short walk from the town centre, or RHS Harlow Carr Gardens (which also now has its own Betty's). Harrogate is also famous for its floral displays having won many awards and these displays can be seen throughout the town.


A very good place to eat for vegetarians, vegans (or non vegetarians), is Wild Ginger on Station Parade. Behind the 'Green House' health food shop.


Stay safe

Harrogate is mostly a very safe town, and, even at night, you are unlikely to encounter more than the odd scuffle between people leaving the pubs and clubs in the early hours of the morning. The binge drinking culture is present but probably less pronounced than in most other towns of comparable size.

Of course, as with any other town, caution is advised when alone, especially in low-lit areas and at night. The town has a very low crime rate, even in the suburbs, but it is advisable to be cautious at night if staying in the suburbs. It is also advisable to avoid visiting or passing through the Valley Gardens after dark due to the relatively high crime rate after dark in that area. Though very safe and very popular for families and tourists during the day, like any other town park, it has its share of riffraff late at night.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.