Things to do in Harrogate

Explore beautiful countryside, indulge in a relaxing spa and take afternoon tea at one of the country’s favourite tearooms on a relaxing break in the delightful spa town of Harrogate

The Spa

People have been visiting Harrogate to take the mineral-rich waters for more than 200 years. The beautifully restored Turkish Baths & Health Spa offers some wonderful treatments that will leave you feeling relaxed and invigorated.

Museums and galleries

Visit one of Harrogate’s fascinating family-friendly museums to find out more about the town’s past. The nearby Nidderdale Museum is jam-packed with exhibits that tell the story of local people and rural life through the ages. At the Royal Pump Room Museum you can see the spa buildings and treatment baths, find out about the town’s connections to Russian royalty, and admire the internationally renowned collection of Egyptian artefacts. And if you arrive at the right time, you can take a trip down Europe’s strongest sulphur well.

Art lovers will enjoy the broad range of galleries to be found in the town, including the Mercer Art Gallery. The gallery houses an impressive collection of fine art and features regular changing exhibitions.

Stylish shopping

Deciding what to do in Harrogate is never a problem. The town is renowned for its stylish shopping and an afternoon spent browsing its independent shops is a great way to spend time with friends. The town’s main shopping streets are full of an irresistible combination of boutiques, jewellers, interior and homeware shops, delis and chocolatiers. The fashionable shops of West Park overlook the wonderful 200-acre Stray, one of Harrogate’s best known landmarks. A short stroll through the beautiful Montpellier Hill Gardens will take you to the cobbled streets of the Montpellier Quarter, where you’ll find art galleries and antique shops as well as a thriving cafe culture. Foodies should head for the luxurious Weetons Food Hall, which supplies locally-sourced produce and serves wonderful breakfasts and lunches in its restaurant.

A food lover’s paradise

Harrogate is a great destination for lovers of food and drink, and is home to award-winning butchers, fabulous delis, one of the county’s most renowned cheese shops and an artisan gin shop. Allow yourself a little time to explore the town’s culinary gems and indulge in afternoon tea at one of Harrogate’s splendid tearooms. Bettys is a Harrogate institution and a great place to enjoy this quintessential English tradition. The Harrogate restaurant scene is thriving and has a strong emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients. You’ll find everything from fine dining to traditional fish and chips cooked in dripping, as well as a great selection of international cuisine.

Nightlife

With a wonderful choice of traditional pubs and stylish bars, there’s no shortage of things to do in Harrogate after the sun goes down. Relax at the end of a busy day at Hales Bar – Harrogate’s oldest bar, serving real ales in a quirky setting with traditional gas lighting. You’ll also find a great range of real ales at The Fat Badger and a huge selection of beers from around the world at the Harrogate Tap. The Blues Café Bar is a popular music destination for locals and features live music events most nights.

The Harrogate Theatre and the stunning Royal Hall both provide a diverse programme of theatre, dance, music and comedy throughout the year, and host some of the best known acts from the world of entertainment. The Harrogate International Centre was the venue for the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest and also regularly welcomes world-class performers.

The great outdoors

Harrogate sits on the edge of Nidderdale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty bordering the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The glorious countryside is easily explored on foot by following the Harrogate Ringway, a 20-mile circular walk around the town, or on the Nidderdale Greenway to Ripley. The area around Harrogate has great cycle routes along winding roads and quiet tracks, so hire a bike and head out into the great outdoors.

Keen gardeners can admire Harrogate’s wonderful Valley Gardens and the stunning RHS Harlow Carr, while wildlife enthusiasts can spot deer, otters, kingfishers, red kites and buzzards in the rich and varied habitats surrounding the town.

Adrenalin-seekers will get a buzz from the nearby How Stean Gorge, which offers the chance to go gorge walking, abseiling, caving and canoeing. But if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, there are some great golf courses in the region and the Harrogate District Golf Pass enables you to play a round at some of the area’s best.

Spas, galleries and great open spaces are just a few of the things that this town has to offer, so why not check out our hotel options in Harrogate.