While I was downloading my photos from the Rival Sons gig a couple of weeks ago I realised that I’d completely forgotten about the post I was planning to write about Harrogate. Every year we try to visit somewhere new and last year we decided to spend my birthday in Harrogate, which is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for ages.
Harrogate is a spa town located in North Yorkshire and it’s a great place to visit if you like eating, drinking, shopping, history and walking, and although it was smaller than I expected I think it’s the perfect place to spend a couple of days exploring all that’s on offer.
The architecture in Harrogate is simply stunning and there are some great shops, bars and restaurants to indulge yourself in. We didn’t have time to visit the Turkish Baths, but we still managed to do a lot over the two days we were there.
We managed to find a late deal for April House for £80 per night B&B. I would describe April House as comfortable and we felt £160 for the weekend was reasonable. Breakfast was good on both days and the owner was very friendly. However, the best thing about the B&B was the location as it is set in a lovely residential neighbourhood, which is in easy walking distance of the town – around 10 minutes walk. I would stop at April House again, although I have to admit being blown away by another guest house on the same street as it looked so beautiful from the outside.
While exploring Harrogate we stumbled across Valley Gardens which is a fabulous park near the centre of town. This is such a beautiful, relaxing space and the flowers are simply stunning. I can imagine that this is a wonderful place to spend time in on a sunny day.
As it was my birthday there was no restriction on how much cake I could eat so when we came across a great little coffee shop down one of the side streets opposite Debenhams it was only right that we share a piece of chocolate and caramel cake. My only regret is not buying a second piece so we could have one piece each.
We also got to visit a Nordic restaurant called Norse. This is a really cool place, which appealed to us as the food was completely different to anything we’d tried before. Norse is a similar concept to tapas in that you can order as many plates of food as you want, but at Norse the chef personally comes to your table to explain each dish.
We also managed to find a gem of a bar on Parliament Street called Beer and Burger (which at the time of writing is moving to a new location). And even though we’d only just returned from New York we both rated this as the best burger we’d ever had. As usual I couldn’t choose which burger I wanted so the mini burger option really appealed to me as it meant I could try a few different types.
When I told people we were visiting Harrogate everyone told us that we had to visit Betty’s tea shop and we did plan to have go and have some tea and cake. However, when we saw the prices they were charging as well as the queues we carried on walking. I like tea and cake, but not at them prices!
On our last morning in Yorkshire we decided to head up to Knaresborough, which is a lovely little market town located next to the River Nidd. This is a really pretty place to visit if you like walking along the river, exploring the ruins of Knaresborough Castle or looking at beautiful houses.
After an hour enjoying the peace and quiet it was time to head home, but my husband had one last surprise up his sleeve and so we headed over to Fountains Abbey, which is located near Ripon in North Yorkshire. Classed as one of the best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries it was founded in 1132 and destroyed by Henry VIII in 1539.
The abbey is now run by the National Trust and is well worth a visit. Luckily for us the sun was shining so we were able to walk around the ruins and enjoy the magnificent water gardens and deer park. The abbey was a lot bigger than I expected and with a picnic you could easily make a day of it. It does get quite busy, but it is still a tranquil place to spend time.
If you like architecture, history and walking then Harrogate is definitely for you. It was a great weekend and we will definitely return at some point in the future. It was just a shame I became one year older!
This year we’re off to York, but Brighton, Kew Gardens and a return trip to Edinburgh are also still in contention.
*I wasn’t paid or sponsored to review Harrogate all thoughts and opinions are my own. All photos are copywright of shhdonttellhim.