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What is Harrogate Famous For?

By wizu | 10 April 2023

Would you love to visit a beautiful spa town that offers amazing shops and restaurants? If so, you’ll want to visit Harrogate! The city is located in North Yorkshire and is filled with attractions for tourists.

In this article, we’ll share everything that Harrogate is famous for and more!


Brief History of Harrogate

Harrogate was established in the early 1330s; however, it wasn’t registered until 1399 when the town became Royal property. The city became owned by the Duchy of Lancaster, which merged with the English Royal Crown.

It was back in 1571 that the city’s first mineral well was discovered. The well was named Tewit (a local name for the peewit bird still found in the area). This well became the first English Spa. The spring’s water was also used by gin makers.

Around 1660, Harrogate grew by leaps and bounds. People came from all over the country to drink the water and bathe after hearing about the well’s health benefits. In that time, public bathing houses were built around town, reflected in the city’s street names, such as “Cold Bath Road.”

Later, in 1778, part of the Forest of Knaresborough became enclosed; about 200 acres of open common land became protected. The area was called The Stray. Here, visitors could stroll across the land to take in the fresh air. You can still enjoy this open common land today.

During the 1830s businessmen and hoteliers wanted to make money off the spa’s water. As a result, they began to syphon off the water and put it into their own wells and sold it to visitors! The locals were not happy with this situation and called for an Act to protect the springs. In 1897, the Royal Baths opened to the public and offered a wide range of spa treatments.

After WWI, the spa industry wasn’t quite as popular. However, in 1919, Bettys opened its doors and eating out and entertainment became famous in the city. By the 1940s, Harrogate became a notable conference destination. In 1959, the very first purpose-built hall was ready. It became central to the town’s growth and survival. The city still hosts various events throughout the year. From there, the city has maintained its reputation as a beautiful spa town known for its spa water and gin!

The city is also famous for its historic architecture, wide boulevards, and lush gardens. Harrogate is also home to several famous landmarks, including the Royal Pump Room Museum, the Turkish Baths, and the Harrogate Convention Centre. It also features several art galleries and museums, including the Mercer Art Gallery, the Royal Hall Theatre, and the Harrogate History Museum.


Yorkshire’s Most Elegant Destination

Harrogate is also known for its stunning floral displays across the city, along with its beautiful parks and gardens. The largest garden is the Grade II listed Valley Gardens, which feature several distinctive areas. The garden receives over 3 million visitors a year.

In addition, the town has some great hotels, which are part of its long history. Several are housed in Victorian and Georgian buildings that are extremely impressive.

The town also features many attractive townhouse B&Bs and guesthouses. Visitors are sure to find something that suits their preferences. Harrogate also offers many serviced apartments and self-catering properties that are perfect for couples, individuals, families and groups.


Harrogate’s Population

The city is home to about 75,000 people. Aren’t they lucky to live in such a beautiful place!


More About Harrogate’s Spring Water

After the original well was discovered, more mineral springs were found around Harrogate. Over time, visitors learned about the water’s healing properties. The visitors soon flooded the town to take the waters.

Can you imagine drinking two glasses of sulphur water before breakfast? That’s exactly the prescription given to Victorian visitors! They would drink the spring water at the Pump Room before breakfast, with another dose at lunch time. The rest of the morning, the visitors would spend reading, letter-writing, strolling in the gardens, or shopping.


The Pump Rooms

The famous Pump Rooms are today a museum and it’s highly recommended that you visit to learn more about the town’s spring water. And if you’re curious about how the water tastes, you’ll find a tap on the exterior of the building. You can take the cure!

But be warned! One author, by the name of Tobias Smollett, wrote about his experience with Harrogate’s water. He said in his novel, “As for the water, which is said to have effected so many surprising cures, I have drank it once, and the first draft has cured me of all desire to repeat the medicine…The only affects it produced were sickness, griping, and insurmountable disgust. I can hardly mention it without puking…”

Well, the water may not be to everyone’s preferences; however, it won’t hurt to try the same water Victorians flocked to the city to drink!


RHS Garden Harlow Carr

The garden has been called one of Yorkshire’s most relaxing and innovative gardens. Sitting at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, the RHS Harlow carr is an amazing place to visit.

You can wander through peaceful surroundings that comprise about 58 acres of garden. It’s possible to find ideas for your own garden and to relax with family and friends as you have a slow stroll.

It’s also possible to take in the latest growing techniques at the Kitchen Garden, where you’ll find raised beds, fruit trees, and a forager’s garden. The garden has been arranged in an ornamental plant that creates a beautiful place to visit.

You can also wander along the Streamside Garden, where you may find some hidden Woodland treasures. Don’t forget to wander through the Scented Garden, where you can enjoy deep breaths of roses and other flowers.

The park also features a place for the kids! They can have fun sliding down the tongue of the Log Ness Monster, climb and swing on the Craggle Top Treehouse. And don’t forget to stop by the RHS Harlow Carr Plant Centre & Shop, where you’ll find some great gifts, books, and much more.


Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, Harrogate is an amazing place to visit! The town is famous for its springs, spas, architecture, and so much more. There’s so much more to see and do than would fit in this article!

We’re pretty sure you won’t be disappointed if you come to visit Harrogate in beautiful Yorkshire!

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