Harrogate is a spa town in North Yorkshire on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Harrogate is a tourist destination and local attractions include the town’s spa waters and RHS Harlow Carr gardens with nearby attractions such as Ripley Castle and Gardens, Brimham Rocks and foodie adventures for all ages and budgets.
I stayed in the Old Swan Hotel which ‘combines Victorian splendour with elegant contemporary style’. I booked the hotel last minute and as I only wanted a single room I was gained a very reasonable discount on the price of the room through booking.com.
When I arrived instead of lunch I decided to try their afternoon tea which was served in the elegant lounge. I had the deluxe afternoon tea served with English Breakfast Tea.
The afternoon tea at The Old Swan Hotel was delicious and my full review will be on the blog in the next few weeks.
After the afternoon tea, I took a walk around the town.
Harrogate is a traditional Victorian spa town with elegant architecture and is a busy tourist destination especially in the summer because of its position close to the Yorkshire Dales. Harrogate has been voted ‘the happiest place to live’ in Britain on a number of times, and it is clear to see why.
During the 16th Century, the first mineral springs were discovered in twin hamlets. Many visitors came to the hamlets to take the spa waters which were believed to have many health benefits.
During this time many elegant Georgian-style houses, hotels were built as well as a pump room and many of these buildings still stand today. Harrogate remained an attractive retreat for the English elite until the 19th Century.
I had dinner in the Wedgewood restaurant back at the hotel which is a stunning Victorian room with ornate coving and glass ceiling. The Old Swan pride themselves on serving only the best local ingredients on their menu.
I had the pan-roasted chicken supreme, oyster mushroom and bacon casserole, sautéed new potatoes and fried leeks. There was a generous portion and after the afternoon tea earlier I did struggle to eat it all.
As it was just me I booked a single room with was very spacious and also included a large writing desk with shower ensuite.
Betty’s, the world-famous Yorkshire institution, first opened its doors in 1919 and was initially a craft bakery and small tearoom. During its Centenary year, Betty’s has a range of limited edition teas, treats, and a special reimagining of their famous afternoon tea.
Once a mile apart, the 2 spa hamlets were first linked together in the late 18th Century by well-planted public parkland, The Stray.
The Stray is now a 200 acres of public parkland in the centre of Harrogate and was first developed to ensure there was an area for the many visitors to the spa town to visit and relax in whilst visiting the restorative spa town.
The Royal Pump Room built-in 1842, is now a Grade II listed building was formerly a spa water pump house and today houses the town’s museum. The museum is open 7 days a week and tells the story of Harrogate and the daily spa routine.
I visited Harrogate the week before the 2019 UCI Road World Championships (cycling) started and a lot of the preparations for road closures had begun but as I wasn’t driving this didn’t really affect me. Harrogate is also on the route for the Tour De Yorkshire so if cycling is your thing Harrogate is a great base.
As well as being right on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales, Harrogate is just a 35-minute drive from Leeds and 45 minutes from York with direct trains in around 30 minutes making Harrogate the ideal base to explore North Yorkshire and all the beauty it has to offer.