city guide to Harrogate by Ms Leisha Greenfield
hotels in Harrogate
Harrogate is a North Yorkshire
town, with a population of 85,000 people. The town became a fashionable
spa town in the sixteenth century, attracting masses of tourism and industry,
and many still visit today for the spa baths and historical sights. Other
than monuments and museums set up to explore and educate about the town's
industrial history, there are numerous castles and historical battlegrounds
that make interesting historical visits.
is home to 33 restaurants recommended by The Good Restaurant Guide, and
an array of bistros, wine bars and upmarket pubs. There are also a variety
of nightclubs and club nights, making for a busy nightlife in the town
centre. Shopping facilities are plentiful, with much of them inside the
town and not located in out-of-the-way shopping malls. Much of the town
centre is old and elegant, with much to see and do.
The history of Harrogate
dates back to the Roman period, when farming hamlets were located on the
site. A farming and textile industry was flourishing by the twelfth century,
but the spring that was discovered in the sixteenth century triggered the
area's development into a fashionable, thriving spa town. More wells were
discovered later, and the original still stands in the town centre.
The Royal Pump Room Museum
contains exhibits exploring the area's history as a spa town, and comprises
a reproduced sixteenth century town for visitors to wander around. Knaresborough
is home to a medieval castle museum, and the cave once lived in by a twelfth
century hermit and 'holy man'.
Mercer Art Gallery is home
to more than 2000 nineteenth and twentieth century pieces of fine art,
photography, sculpture and craft works, and comprises two separate galleries.
The gallery regularly hosts temporary exhibitions and art events.
The Gasgoine Gallery is an
impressive private collection, including works by Picasso and Salvador
Dali, and a large selection of glass works. New exhibitions are displayed
every three works and all items are for sale.
The SMART Gallery exhibits
and sells original art, sculptures and ceramics; and McTague Gallery trades
in watercolours, oil paintings, twentieth-century prints, and genre and
Harrogate is home to a civic
theatre, numerous performance spaces and the most successful youth theatre
in the country.
The Harrogate Theatre is
a Grade II listed building, opened in 1900, and comprising two auditoria.
Performances include large-scale touring productions, one-night entertainments
and 5 of its own in-house productions; and there are films shown on Monday
Harrogate International Centre
is an office complex, conferencing facility, hotel, exhibition hall and
theatre, hosting a range of events and entertainment, including concerts,
drama and festivals, with seating for more than 2000 people.
The Courtyard Restaurant
serves contemporary British cuisine, and holds an AA rosette. The restaurant
is located in former livery stables, and offers a choice of indoor and
outdoor seating. Sasso is a fine dining Italian restaurant, and another
of the 33 restaurants currently recommended by Good Restaurant Guide.
Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and
Restaurant serves classic and unique seafood dishes in lavish surroundings,
with a wine list comprising wines and champagnes hand picked from French
Harrogate’s branch of Wing
Wah, serving traditional Far Eastern cuisine, has two themed levels; the
bright and contemporary 'Modern Tranquil Room' on the ground, and the oriental-influenced
'Traditional Blossom Room' upstairs.
The Lounge is the bar in
the Carringtons bar, restaurant and nightclub complex, and is stylish and
upmarket, but relaxed and comfortable. There is a wide drinks selection
and live evening entertainment.
The William and Victoria
Restaurant and Wine Bar has a bar downstairs, serving drinks from an extensive
wine list, in traditional, wood fixtured surroundings.
Montpellier Parade is home
to Blues Bar, a pub and live blues music venue, Hedley's Wine and Food
Bar, Montpellier and The Slug and Lettuce.
Harrogate and Ripon CAMRA
recommend numerous pubs in the area, and voted The Spite Inn 'Pub of the
Season' in Winter 2006.
The nightclub in Carringtons
bar, restaurant and nightclub complex presents 70s and 80s chart music
four nights a week, and attracts a young professional clientele. The club
hosts the popular 'Heaven and Hell' on Wednesdays, and has a capacity of
Club XS is an indie/alternative
club, open three nights a week and offering indie rock, 'cheese', metal,
punk and emo. The club has a capacity of 300 people.
Ministry of Sound Minibar
is separated into four themed zones, with unusual and stylish décor
and state of the art sound and lighting equipment. The club is open from
Thursday to Saturday, and licensed until 4am.
Harrogate town centre is
home to more than 20 antiques retailers, and all the major high street
and department stores located within a short walk of each other on Cambridge
Street and Parliament Street.
Close by is The Victoria
Gardens Shopping Centre, comprising 4 levels and more than 30 stores. Retailers
currently based in the units include Bay Trading, La Senza and WHSmith;
there are also a number of cafes and coffee bars.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park
and Shopping Village is located in Ripon, and is home to eight stores and
The Hydro is one of four
leisure centres, and comprises 3 pools, a fitness centre, a crèche
and a café. There is also a gym with state of the art fitness equipment.
Knaresborough Pool is a popular choice for families, with its hot water
bubble pool, water flume and large shallow section.
The National Centre for Combat
Martial Arts is a training gym and teaching centre, offering a choice of
group and individual tuition. Martial arts range from Kung Fu, Kickboxing,
Tai Chi, Chi Kung and Yoga.
Ripon Sailing Club offers
racing, tuition and relaxing breaks on its 20-acre lake, and boats are
available for private hire on weekends.
The Harrogate golf Club was
established in the nineteenth century and offers a challenging game of
golf on its 6250-yard course. Oakdale is slightly larger, at 6456-yards.
/ Featured hotels in Harrogate