Harrogate – An Ideal Base for Touring
The spa town of Harrogate is an ideal base for touring West and North Yorkshire. There are direct train services link the town with York and Leeds; and the Yorkshire Dales and the motorway network are only a short drive away.
Harrogate town centre is a sophisticated, relaxing environment where visitors can wander round exclusive stores in the Montpelier Quarter, enjoy the open spaces of The Stray or Valley Gardens or relax and chat over afternoon tea in the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms. Outside the town, there are nearby attractions in all directions.
Harlow Carr Gardens has Seasonal Colours
Less than two miles to the west of Harrogate, Harlow Carr Gardens provide an ideal escape from the pressures of life. The gardens, run by the Royal Horticultural Society, offer an oasis of tranquility, with displays changing according to season.
Tulips in spring, summer borders, autumnal colours and winter berries can all be enjoyed. Step back in time in the Gardens through time or take inspiration from the Kitchen Garden.
Mother Shipton’s Cave England’s Oldest Visitor Attraction
Four miles to the east is the market town of Knaresborough; home to Britain’s first visitor attraction Mother Shipton’s Cave. The cave was home to the Yorkshire prophetess and soothsayer, who, it is claimed predicted the invasion of the Spanish Armada and the Great Fire of London.
Since 1630, tourists have visited and the mysterious Petrifying Well, where cascading water turns everyday objects in to stone. The cave stands in the shadow of the arches of Knaresborough’s famous viaduct and on the banks of the River Nidd.
Take a Guided Tour of Ripley Castle
Three miles to the north of the town, Ripley Castle has been the home to the Ingilby family since 1309. Guided tours of the house reveal 700 years of family scandal, politics and intrigue. Discover tales of kings and queens, religious persecution, civil war and plagues, eccentric ancestors and ghost stories. Special tours, designed for children aged 5 to 13, give an amusing and informative insight into the castle’s colourful past.
The castle stands in 1000 acres of grounds, with fountains and lawns and an impressive 15th century arched gatehouse. Special displays include the kitchen garden, the walled garden and tropical plant collection; and red deer graze under oak trees by the lake.
Harewood House and Bird Garden
Eight miles south of Harrogate is Harewood House, home of the Earl and Countess of Harewood. The interior of the 18th century house was designed by Robert Adam, furnished by Thomas Chippendale and houses paintings by leading artists of the time, including JMW Turner.
The grounds and lake offer relaxing views of the Yorkshire countryside and Harewood Bird Garden houses almost 100 species of different birds; including some that are threatened with extinction. Java sparrows, ostriches, penguins, flamingos, macaws and red kites are just a few of the inhabitants.
Further afield, there are many more attractions in easy reach. The historic city of Ripon, the market town of Skipton, the Roman city of York and the shops of Leeds are all less than 45 minute’s drive from Harrogate.