Harrogate shown within North Yorkshire
|OS grid reference|
|- London||211 mi (340 km)|
|Shire county||North Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||HG1, HG2, HG3, HG5|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|UK Parliament||Harrogate & Knaresborough|
|List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire|
Harrogate (or Harrogate Spa) is a spa town in North Yorkshire, England. The town is a popular tourist destination; its spa waters, RHS Harlow Carr gardens and Betty's Tearooms are world famous visitor attractions, and the town serves as an ideal location from which to explore the nearby Yorkshire Dales national park. The town originated in the 17th century, with High Harrogate and Low Harrogate as two separate settlements. It lies adjacent to Knaresborough, with which it forms a single urban area, and is in the Nidd valley.
Harrogate spa water contains iron, sulphur and common salt. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries especially, these 'chalybeate' waters (i.e. containing iron) were a popular health treatment, and the influx of wealthy but sickly visitors contributed significantly to the wealth of the town.
Harrogate railway station and Harrogate bus station in the town centre provide transport connections. Leeds Bradford International Airport is 10 miles (16 km) south west of Harrogate. The main road through the town is the A61, connecting Harrogate to Leeds and Ripon. Harrogate is also connected to Wetherby and the A1, by the A661. The town of Harrogate on its own had a population of 71,594 at the 2001 UK census; the urban area comprising Harrogate and nearby Knaresborough had a population of 85,128, while the figure for the much wider Borough of Harrogate, comprising Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon and a large rural area, was 151,339.
The town motto is Arx celebris fontibus, which means "a citadel famous for its springs."
Prior to the discovery of its naturally iron and sulphur rich water, Harrogate was two minor villages (High Harrogate and Low Harrogate) close to the historic town of Knaresborough. The first mineral spring in Harrogate was discovered in 1571 by William Slingsby, who found that water from the Tewitt Well possessed similar properties to that from the springs of the Belgian town of Spa, which gave its name to spa towns. The medicinal properties of the waters were more widely publicised by one Edmund Deane, whose book, Spadacrene Anglica, or the English Spa Fountain was published in 1626. Harrogate developed considerable fame as a spa town, especially following the enclosure of surrounding lands in 1770, when 200 acres were reserved as public commons, The Stray, which has remained a popular spot for picnicking, kite-flying, outdoor games and local football matches. To provide entertainment for increasing numbers of visitors to the village he theatre ("Georgian Theatre") was built in 1788. Bath Hospital (later the Royal Bath Hospital) was built in 1826. The Royal Pump Room was built in 1842.
Today the site of the Tewitt Well is marked by a dome in The Stray. Other wells can be found in Harrogate's Valley Gardens and the Royal Pump Room museum.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Harrogate was extremely popular among the English élite and was frequented by nobility from around Europe. Its popularity declined after World War I. During World War II, however, Harrogate's large hotels accommodated government offices that had been evacuated from London. This paved the way for the town's current function as a commercial, conference, and exhibition centre.
Notable former employers in Harrogate were ICI, who occupied offices and laboratories at Hornbeam Park, the Central Electricity Generating Board, (CEGB), and the Milk Marketing Board. ICI's Hornbeam Park laboratories at Hornbeam Park were the location of the invention of Crimplene in the 1950s, named after the nearby Crimple Valley and Beck.
The town hosted the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest in the conference centre. Later, celebrity residents including Jason Lowe moved there, further upping its opulent reputation.
In 2007, two metal detectorists found the Harrogate hoard, a 10th century Viking treasure hoard, near Harrogate. The hoard contains almost 700 coins and other items from as far away as Afghanistan. The hoard was described by the British Museum as the most important find of its type in Britain for 150 years.
The town acts, to some extent, as a dormitory town for commuters working in the cities of Leeds and Bradford. Harrogate is very prosperous and as such has some of the highest property prices in England with many properties in the town and surrounding villages valued at £1 million or more.
Harrogate is situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, with the Vale of York to the East and the upland Yorkshire Dales to the West and Northwest. It has a dry and mild climate, typical of places in the rain shadow of the Pennines. Covering an altitude of between 100 and 200 metres, Harrogate is considerably higher than many English settlements. Harrogate has an average minimum temperature in January of slightly below 0°C and an average maximum in July and August of 20°C.
There are many fine examples of building and architecture about the town, including the Royal Hall theatre, a Grade II listed building designed by Frank Matcham. As the only surviving Kursaal in Britain, the Royal Hall is an important national heritage building. Restoration work was completed in 2007, and the Hall was formally opened on 22 January 2008, by The Prince of Wales.
Harrogate is now one of Europe's largest exhibition and conference centres including the Harrogate International Centre and has many guest houses, hotels and restaurants catering for the regular influx of visitors. Harrogate also hosts the Great Yorkshire Show annually.
Harrogate's main shopping district is focussed on Cambridge Street, Oxford Street, Beulah Street and James Street where most of the high street shops can be found. There is however a wide range of boutique and designer shopping on Parliament Street and in the Montpellier Quarter, as well as independent shopping around Commercial Street.
Eating out is popular in Harrogate, with the town well served for restaurants. Parliament Street and Cheltenham Parade are lined with many independent and chain restaurants, while there is also a concentration of chain restaurants on John Street and Albert Street.
Continuing Harrogate's tradition as a place of health and well being, there is a public Turkish Baths on Parliament Street. The Turkish Baths has a steam room, tepidarium, calidarium, laconiumm, plunge pool and a relaxation room, and also offers a range spa treatments.
Bettys Tea Rooms are regionally renowned. They are owned by Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate - the same company that makes the nationally well-known Yorkshire Tea. Bettys has a second tea room at the Harlow Carr Gardens.
The Mercer Art Gallery is home to Harrogate district's fine art collection which consists of some 2,000 works of art, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection includes works by William Powell Frith, Atkinson Grimshaw, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Dame Laura Knight, Alan Davie and many more.
The Montpellier Quarter is also the centre of the town's nightlife, which is mainly centred on the renovated Royal Baths development.
Harrogate was the winner of the 2003 Britain in Bloom in the category of 'Large Town'. From there it went on to win the European Entente Florale competition in 2004. This reprises its win in the first ever Entente Florale competition in 1977.
Harrogate was a gold medal winner of Europe in Bloom in 2004. In 2005, a Channel 4 TV show listed Harrogate as the UK's third best place to live. In 2006 it came fourth in the same league; the programme claimed that it placed lower due to "a slight dip in exam results", though presenter Phil Spencer noted that it was his personal favourite.
Harrogate is a well known inland resort for its parks and gardens. The main park in the town is Valley Gardens, in Low Harrogate. The park covers much of the area originally known as 'Bogs Field', an area where a number of springs were discovered. Valley Gardens has a number of attractions including the Ice Cream Parlour and Children's Play Area with Outdoor Paddling Pool. The Sun Pavilion skirting the northern edge of the park can be privately hired for events such as wedding receptions. A golf course, crazy golf, tennis courts and bowling green can be found towards the western end of the park.
The Stray is an area of open parkland some 200 acres (800,000 m²) in size that runs through the centre of the town. The Harrogate Stray was created in 1778 by an act of Parliament. The act fixed the size of the Stray at 200 acres (0.8 km2), and even now when part of it is removed, due to road expansion etc, it must be replaced elsewhere. During the Victorian period, part of the Stray hosted a racecourse (horses). It was created to link together most of Harrogate's springs in one protected area. There is an annual funfair that comes twice a year in the summer and more milder part of the year which attracts a variety of tourists.
RHS Harlow Carr gardens are a privately owned collection of award winning themed gardens on the outskirts of Harrogate.
Crescent Gardens is a small open area in central Harrogate. It is surrounded by some of the towns main tourist attractions including the Royal Pump Room, Royal Baths and Royal Hall, as well as the Town Hall. Hall M of the Harrogate International Centre also fronts onto Crescent Gardens.
A number of smaller parks and gardens can be found throughout the town, including Jubilee Gardens and Victoria Gardens on the eastern side of central Harrogate.
The town is served by four railway stations: Harrogate (for town centre), Hornbeam Park, Pannal (towards Leeds) and Starbeck on the Harrogate Line to Knaresborough and York. Trains are operated by Northern Rail, with one daily service to London Kings Cross operated by National Express East Coast. Trains run every half hour to Leeds and Knaresborough, and every hour onto York. There are extra non-stop commuter services at peak times between Harrogate and Leeds. The former railway lines to Ripon and Wetherby (see Wetherby railway station) were dismantled in the 1960s. A prospective railway company, First Harrogate Trains, proposed to run trains from London King's Cross to Harrogate, but failed to get approval in a process that ended in February 2009.
Buses are every 20 minutes between Harrogate and Ripon, and Harrogate and Leeds (via Harewood, Moortown and Chapel Allerton) on Harrogate and District route 36. The 770 route also runs to Leeds via Wetherby, Boston Spa and Seacroft as well as other parts of semi-rural Leeds. There are also services to Otley, Bradford, Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge, and in April 2008 a new service to York was commenced under the branding Yorkshire Connect
Harrogate is strongly connected to Leeds, in both rail and road transport. This is also evident in the volume of high school students coming from Leeds to Harrogate everyday. The strong transport connection is very important for some of the Harrogate schools, especially Rossett School. Road transport to Leeds is via the A61 (north and central Leeds), A658 (north west Leeds/Leeds Bradford International Airport) and A661 (for north east Leeds). The A61 also continues northwards to Ripon, while the A658 connects to Bradford after passing through north west Leeds. The A658 also forms the Harrogate Bypass that skirts the South and East of the town, joining the A59 linking York and the A1(M) to the east and Skipton to the west with Harrogate.
The MP for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency is Phil Willis, a Liberal Democrat. He was elected in 1997, ousting the Conservatives who had won the seat at the previous three general elections.
|NW: Pateley Bridge||Ripon||NE: Boroughbridge|
|SW: Otley||Leeds||SE: Wetherby|
Like all large towns, Harrogate has many suburbs. These include;
Harrogate is twinned with:
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.
The closest airport is Leeds-Bradford International Airport (LBA), offering direct flights daily to London and Amsterdam. Major airlines include BMI, KLM and Jet2.com (based at Leeds-Bradford Airport). Bus2Jet  run a bus every 90 minutes from the Airport to Harrogate.
North Yorkshire is served by both CrossCountry  and National Express 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.
Easily accessed from the A1. Top tip: If travelling north on the A1 take the 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 rather than the much slower M1 South East Leeds Orbital.
The main bus service to Harrogate is the Harrogate & District 36  from Leeds, which runs every 20 minutes (every 30 minutes on Sunday), between Leeds, Harrogate and Ripon. Frequency increases to every 10 minutes during peak hours between Leeds and Harrogate. The bus and train stations are conveniently located next to each other.
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.
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.
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.
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 mosdt towns of comparable size.
Of course, as with any 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 town park it has its share of undesireables late at night.
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HARROGATE, a municipal borough and watering-place in the Ripon parliamentary division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, 203 m. N. by W. from London, on the NorthEastern railway. Pop. (1891) 16,316; (1901) 28,423. It is indebted for its rise and importance to its medicinal springs, and is the principal inland watering-place in the north of England. It consists of two scattered townships, Low Harrogate and High Harrogate, which have gradually been connected by a continuous range of handsome houses and villas. A common called the Stray, of 200 acres, secured by act of parliament from ever being built upon, stretches in front of the main line of houses, and on this account Harrogate, notwithstanding its rapid increase, has retained much of its rural charm. As regards climate a choice is offered between the more bracing atmosphere of High Harrogate and the sheltered and warm climate of the low town. The waters are chalybeate, sulphureous and saline, and some of the springs possess all these qualities to a greater or less extent. The principal chalybeate springs are the Tewitt well, called by Dr Bright, who wrote the first account of it, the "English Spa," discovered by Captain William Slingsby of Bilton Hall near the close of the r6th century; the Royal Chalybeate Spa, more commonly known as John's Well, discovered in 1631 by Dr Stanhope of York; Muspratt's chalybeate or chloride of iron spring discovered in 1819, but first properly analysed by Dr Sheridan Muspratt in 1865; and the Starbeck springs midway between High Harrogate and Knaresborough. The principal sulphur springs are the old sulphur well in the centre of Low Harrogate, discovered about the year 1656; the Montpellier springs, the principal well of which was discovered in 1822, situated in the grounds of the Crown Hotel and surmounted by a handsome building in the Chinese style, containing pump-room, baths and reading-room; and the Harlow Car springs, situated in a wooded glen about a mile west from Low Harrogate. Near Harlow Car is Harlow observatory, a square tower loo ft. in height, standing on elevated ground and commanding a very extensive view. A saline spring situated in Low Harrogate was discovered in 1783. Some eighty springs in all have been discovered. The principal bath establishments are the Victoria Baths (1871) and the Royal Baths (1897). There are also a handsome kursaal (1903), a grand opera house, numerous modern churches, and several hospitals and benevolent institutions, including the Royal Bath hospital. The corporation owns the Stray, and also the Spa concert rooms and grounds, Harlow Moor, Crescent Gardens, Royal Bath gardens and other large open spaces, as well as Royal Baths, Victoria Baths and Starbeck Baths. The mineral springs are vested in the corporation. The high-lying moorland of the surrounding district is diversified by picturesque, dales; and Harrogate is not far from many towns and sites of great interest, such as Ripon, Knaresborough and Fountains Abbey. The town was incorporated in 1884, and the corporation consists of a mayor, 8 aldermen and 24 councillors. Area, 3276 acres.