Harrogate is famous for its spa, its shops and its many festivals. The iconic Majestic Spa Hotel dates from 1900, and is just one example of Harrogate's stunning array of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Take a stroll round the divine Valley Gardens, Alan Titchmarsh's favourite public garden and one of Yorkshire's most beautiful. Find out about Harrogate's spa town history at the Royal Pump Room Museum and take in a show at the stunning Royal Hall Theatre. Harrogate boasts some of the best specialist shopping in Yorkshire. Find the famous Betty's Tearooms down in the Montpellier Quarter.
European royals started to frequent the spas at Harrogate in the early 20th century. The town makes a great base for exploring the Yorkshire Dales for walking and touring and also boasts the Harrogate International Centre (HIC).
The Harrogate International Centre (HIC) is situated on Kings Road in Harrogate and features a renowned 2,009 seat auditorium interlinked with seven exhibition halls and the delightful 864-seat Royal Hall. As a result of all these facilities you are spoilt for choice with a huge range of hotels in Harrogate and other accommodation. But be warned that Harrogate hotels and other accommodation can be in short supply during large events at the International Centre.
The Harrogate International Centre has benefited from expansions and improvements in recent years. The central location allows easy access by air, rail and road. The expanding Leeds / Bradford airport is just 20 minutes drive, with direct links from London Heathrow and most UK and European hub airports; Manchester International airport is only 1.25 Hours drive and has a direct rail link with Harrogate via Leeds.
For a complete history of how Harrogate became such a famous spa town, a visit to the Royal Pump House Museum is worth the effort, if for nothing else then to see the Sulphur springs. Royalty and fame have visited including Charles Dickens and Princess Alexandra. You'll also find some pretty surreal displays - such as an Edwardian Hotel scene and sample a glass of the famous Harrogate water - great stuff.
Royal Pump Room Museum
Crown Place, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 2RY
Tel: 01423 556188
Antiques, books, wine, specialised foods, arts and crafts, contemporary art, Beer specialists and spa therapy - you name it Harrogate has got it.
A particular hotspot for specialist and fine clothes shopping, and home to acclaimed Betty's Cafe and Tearoom Harrogate is the Montpellier Quarter.
A choice of chic cafes and bars alongside unique clothing shops and specialist Harrogate shops such as the famous Farrah's Sweet shop are all down here on Montpellier Hill.
Harrogate International Festival - combines jazz, classical and other musical events with art exhibitions / fringe, check out www.harrogate-festival.org.uk
The famous Betty's Tearoom in the Montpellier Quarter, Harrogate. www.bettysandtaylors.co.uk
The Gascoigne Gallery, contemporary affordable art! www.thegascoignegallery.com Mercer Art Gallery, Swan Road, Harrogate - here you'll find exhibitions by local Harrogate artists, plus work by one of Britain's best known textile artists - Polly Binns. www.harrogate.gov.uk/museumsThe Harrogate Flower Show runs twice annually in April and September.www.flowershow.org.uk
Frank Matcham was one of the Victorian and Edwardian eras most acclaimed theatre designers. One of Matcham's few remaining theatres is here in Harrogate - the Royal Hall, originally the Kursaal but renamed after the Great War due to anti-German feeling.
For a detailed history of this captivating historic gem of a theatre see the Royal Hall Restoration Trust's webguide right. The Kursaal dates from 1903, built just three years after the Majestic Hotel just round the corner.