Well done, you’ve made it to the Easter Bank holiday! So, what better way to enjoy the extended weekend than a jaunt to the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate. Famed for it’s heritage as a spa resort and home to the infamous Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, Harrogate is a must visit this Easter and Jane Moor has created you the ultimate guide to this iconic spa town.
Think Harrogate is all about sipping tea and admiring the beautiful architecture? Then think again! This fashionable spa resort and Yorkshire gem of a town is shaking off its middle age shackles and emerging as a chic place to be! Let me share with you my top 10 tips for enjoying all that Harrogate has to offer, and once you have fallen in love with its heady mix of contemporary fun and historic charms it will leave you wanting to come back for more.
- Mooch around the Montpellier Quarter – Harrogate’s best kept secret
The home of the “independents”, Harrogate’s Montpellier quarter is home to 50 exclusive shops, health & beauty salons, pavement cafes, bars and award-winning restaurants. It’s traditional feel with fancy lampposts, cobbled streets and hanging baskets will transport you back to a bygone era. This little district however still has its sights set firmly on the future, hosting a number of contemporary shops, art galleries and restaurants.
- “Do brunch” and stock up on deli treats at Weetons
One of the UK’s “most stylish” delicatessens this outstanding store and cafe, located on Harrogate’s West Park and overlooking the famous ‘Stray’ brings you the best of both worlds. The café is a perfect place to feast on a hearty brunch before hitting Harrogate or a well-earned afternoon coffee and cake. It prides itself on bringing you the freshest food from local producers and after relaxing in the café there is always time for a browse around the food hall which boasts a wide range of delicatessen, butchery and bakery products. If you are lucky to visit Harrogate on a sunny day be sure to bag a seat at one of the outdoor tables and watch the world go by.
- Bring out the inner artist in you… in one of Harrogate’s contemporary art galleries
Harrogate has an impressive range of art galleries if you are looking for something a little different to brighten up your interior. Located in the heart of Harrogate’s exclusive Montpellier Quarter, the Sutcliffe Contemporary Gallery was launched in 2005 and prides itself on exhibiting an eclectic mix of original contemporary art from a selection of outstanding British and European artists, but with an emphasis on northern works.
- Indulge in the iconic Ivy brand, but up North!
A wonderful new addition to the vibrant Harrogate restaurant scene, The Ivy is now in town! Located on the Parliament Street, in the heart of Harrogate and serving modern British and international Ivy-inspired classics you won’t be disappointed by this tranquil, relaxed yet sophisticated dining to provide a touch of decadence to your visit.
- Take an afternoon stroll around Valley Gardens
These English Heritage Grade II Listed gardens in the centre of Harrogate provide a little oasis of calm to wander around. If you are feeling more energetic there is a wide variety of outdoor games such as tennis courts, crazy golf, boating lake, paddling pool and a children’s play area. For music lovers, band concerts take place on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer.
- Indulge in a Fat Rascal and a cuppa at Bettys tea rooms, the home of Afternoon Tea
This Yorkshire tradition and world famous brand opened its doors in Harrogate in 1919 and has been serving customers ever since. So good you usually have to queue, but this gives you a chance to feast your eyes on the wonderful window displays of bread, patisseries and of course a Yorkshire staple, the Fat Rascal – a super-sized fruity scone.
- Spa o’clock, take your pick from the traditional or contemporary!
Want to stay local, then venture to the traditional Turkish baths in the centre of Harrogate and unwind in one of the many steam rooms and take in history of these 120 year old baths. If contemporary is your thing then a short drive from Harrogate takes you to Rudding Park Spa. It is one of the finest in the country and has been recognised as the Best New Spa in the UK by the Good Spa Guide 2017. With its rooftop spa and garden and serene architecture it will transport you into another world and any stresses and strains will surely drift away.
- Time for fizz, then quench your thirst at Gino D’Acampo’s roof top champagne bar
Start the evening as you mean to go on in this fun venue on Parliament Street. The restaurant is full of quirky surprises for everyone, from the open kitchen to a games room, a photo booth and roof terrace with prosecco bar. What’s not to like about that?!
- Dinner time – go East or West?
Decisions, decisions…. Choose from two wonderful eateries La Feria (Cold Bath Road), which showcases incredible contemporary Spanish food in a relaxed, ambient setting or the classy Orchid an elegant, pan Asian restaurant housed in the Studley hotel. Be sure to book ahead though, tables are in high demand!
- And finally, sit down, relax and enjoy the show…
At the end of a busy day what better way to wind down than at Harrogate’s Everyman Cinema. This classy little joint on Station Parade will ensure you rest your weary feet and are transported into a different world, and all in the comfort of a luxurious armchair, so good you could be in your own home!
Jane Moor is a travel mad mum on a mission to inspire people to “collect memories not things”. By day she works in the corporate world and her escapism is all about sharing exciting travel adventures at home and away! From glamorous city breaks with the girls, to grappling with toddlers on flights to Europe and braving a long haul Californian road trip, her blog has something for everyone. Apart from dreaming of her next holiday, planning a trip, or booking her next one (dictionary definition = holiday addict)…. Jane loves fashion, cooking tapas and the joys of juggling motherhood and a career