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Harrogate (or Harrogate Spa) is a spa town in North Yorkshire, Englandmarker. The town is a popular tourist destination; its spa waters, RHS Harlow Carr gardensmarker and Betty's tearooms are world famous visitor attractions, and the town serves as an ideal location from which to explore the nearby Yorkshire Dalesmarker national park. The town originated in the 17th century, with High Harrogate and Low Harrogate as two separate settlements. It lies close to Knaresboroughmarker and is in the Nidd valleymarker.

Harrogate spa water contains iron, sulphur and common salt. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries especially, these 'chalybeate' waters (i.e. containing iron) were a popular health treatment, and the influx of wealthy but sickly visitors contributed significantly to the wealth of the town.

Harrogate railway stationmarker and Harrogate bus stationmarker in the town centre provide transport connections. Leeds Bradford International Airportmarker is south west of Harrogate. The main road through the town is the A61, connecting Harrogate to Leedsmarker and Riponmarker. Harrogate is also connected to Wetherbymarker and the A1marker, by the A661. The town of Harrogate on its own had a population of 71,594 at the 2001 UK census; the urban area comprising Harrogate and nearby Knaresboroughmarker had a population of 85,128, while the figure for the much wider Borough of Harrogatemarker, comprising Harrogate, Knaresborough, Riponmarker and a large rural area, was 151,339.

The town motto is Arx celebris fontibus, which means "a citadel famous for its springs."


Station Parade, Harrogate
Prior to the discovery of its naturally iron and sulphur rich water, Harrogate was two minor villages (High Harrogate and Low Harrogate) close to the historic town of Knaresboroughmarker. The first mineral spring in Harrogate was discovered in 1571 by William Slingsby, who found that water from the Tewitt Well possessed similar properties to that from the springs of the Belgian town of Spamarker, which gave its name to spa towns. The medicinal properties of the waters were more widely publicised by one Edmund Deane, whose book, Spadacrene Anglica, or the English Spa Fountain was published in 1626. Following this Harrogate developed considerable fame as a spa town.

Today the site of the Tewitt Well is marked by a dome within the Stray. Other wells can be found in Harrogate's Valley Gardens and the Royal Pump Room museum.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Harrogate was extremely popular among the English élite and was frequented by nobility from around Europe . Its popularity declined after World War I. During World War II, however, Harrogate's large hotels accommodated government offices that had been evacuated from London. This paved the way for the town's current function as a commercial, conference, and exhibition centre.

Notable former employers in Harrogate were ICI, who occupied offices and laboratories at Hornbeam Park, the Central Electricity Generating Board, (CEGB), and the Milk Marketing Board. ICI's Hornbeam Park laboratories at Hornbeam Park were the location of the invention of Crimplene in the 1950s, named after the nearby Crimple Valley and Beck.

The town hosted the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest in the conference centre.

In 2007, two metal detectorists found the Harrogate hoard, a 10th century Viking treasure hoard, near Harrogate. The hoard contains almost 700 coins and other items from as far away as Afghanistanmarker. The hoard was described by the British Museummarker as the most important find of its type in Britain for 150 years.


The town acts, to some extent, as a dormitory town for commuters working in the cities of Leedsmarker and Bradfordmarker. Harrogate is very prosperous and as such has some of the highest property prices in England with many properties in the town and surrounding villages valued at £1 million or more.


Harrogate is situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, with the Vale of York to the East and the upland Yorkshire Dales to the West and Northwest. It has a dry and mild climate, typical of places in the rain shadow of the Pennines. Covering an altitude of between 100 and 200 metres, Harrogate is considerably higher than many English settlements. Harrogate has an average minimum temperature in January of slightly below 0°C and an average maximum in July and August of 20°C.

Places of interest

There are many fine examples of building and architecture about the town, including the Royal Hall theatre, a Grade II listed building designed by Frank Matcham. As the only surviving Kursaal in Britain, the Royal Hall is an important national heritage building. Restoration work was completed in 2007, and the Hall was formally opened on 22 January 2008, by The Prince of Wales.

Harrogate is now one of Europe's largest exhibition and conference centres including the Harrogate International Centremarker and has many guest houses, hotels and restaurants catering for the regular influx of visitors. Harrogate also hosts the Great Yorkshire Showmarker annually.

Two military installations are both located to the immediate west of Harrogate, the Army Foundation Collegemarker and RAF Menwith Hillmarker, an electronic monitoring station.

Shopping and leisure

Cambridge Street, Harrogate
Harrogate's main shopping district is focussed on Cambridge Street, Oxford Street, Beulah Street and James Street where most of the high street shops can be found. There is however a wide range of boutique and designer shopping on Parliament Street and in the Montpellier Quarter, as well as independent shopping around Commercial Street.

Eating out is popular in Harrogate, with the town well served for restaurants. Parliament Street and Cheltenham Parade are lined with many independent and chain restaurants, while there is also a concentration of chain restaurants on John Street and Albert Street.

Montpellier Quarter

Bettys is one of Harrogate's best known landmarks
Bettys Tea Rooms are regionally renowned. They are owned by Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate - the same company that makes the nationally well-known Yorkshire Tea. Bettys has a second tea room at the Harlow Carr Gardens.

The Mercer Art Gallery is home to Harrogate district's fine art collection which consists of some 2,000 works of art, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection includes works by William Powell Frith, Atkinson Grimshaw, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Dame Laura Knight, Alan Davie and many more.

The Montpellier Quarter is also the centre of the town's nightlife, which is mainly centred on the renovated Royal Baths development.

Places of Worship

Church of England


Trinity Methodist Church, Harrogate
  • Bar and Grove Road Methodist
  • Killinghall Methodist
  • Pannal Methodist
  • Starbeck Methodist
  • Trinity Methodist
  • Wesley Methodist
  • Woodlands Methodist

Roman Catholic

St. Robert's Church, Harrogate
  • St. Aelred's Church, 71 Woodlands Drive
  • St. Joseph's Church
  • St. Robert's Church

United Reformed

  • Bilton Grange URC
  • St. Paul's Church, Victoria Avenue
  • West Park


  • Harrogate Hebrew Congregation, St Mary's Walk
  • Mayfield Community Church
  • Elim Pentecostal Church
  • Harrogate New Life Church
  • Life Destiny Church
  • Society of Friends Meeting House, Queen Parade
  • Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall, Skipton Road


Harrogate was the winner of the 2003 Britain in Bloom in the category of 'Large Town'. From there it went on to win the European Entente Florale competition in 2004. This reprises its win in the first ever Entente Florale competition in 1977.

In 2005, a Channel 4 TV show listed Harrogate as the UK's 3rd best place to live. In 2006 it came 4th in the same league; the programme claimed that it placed lower due to "a slight dip in exam results", though presenter Phil Spencer noted that it was his personal favourite.


  • Rugby union, football, cricket, ultimate frisbee, water polo and hockey are popular sports in Harrogate played at plenty of schools and local clubs.
  • Harrogate Town FC situated on Wetherby Road play in the Conference North division and finished 6th in the season. They have a natural, good-natured rivalry with newly promoted Harrogate Railway Athletic F.C., of the Northern Premier League First Division, located at Station View.
  • Harrogate RUFC is a National 2 division team and based at The County Ground, Claro Road.
  • Harrogate District Swimming Club Is a very successful amateur level swimming club that has had teams compete at National level and come home with medals. There are many different squads within the club with over 150 total members.
  • Bilton Cricket Club, situated off Bilton Lane provides opportunities for players of all ages to play in Local League Cricket, Bilton Cricket Club have a good natured rivalry with Harrogate Cricket Club with Bilton defeating Harrogate in their last clash at St Georges Road in the Black Sheep Trophy in 2006. Harrogate cricket club is one of the strongest clubs in the Yorkshire league. Until 1995 the town hosted one Yorkshire county game per year at the St George's cricket ground.
  • Running is also a popular sport at Harrogate Harriers, who run from Harrogate Squash Club on Harlow Hill and at Nidd Valley Road Runners, who share the premises of Harrogate Railway Athletic FC. Members compete in road races, cross-country and fell races or simply run for fun and to keep fit.

Parks and gardens

Harrogate is a well known inland resort for its parks and gardens. The main park in the town is Valley Gardens, in Low Harrogate. The park covers much of the area originally known as 'Bogs Field', an area where a number of springs were discovered. Valley Gardens has a number of attractions including the Ice Cream Parlour and Children's Play Area with Outdoor Paddling Pool. The Sun Pavilion skirting the northern edge of the park can be privately hired for events such as wedding receptions. A golf course, crazy golf, tennis courts and bowling green can be found towards the western end of the park.

The Stray is an area of open parkland some 200 acres (800,000 m²) in size that runs through the centre of the town. The Harrogate Stray was created in 1778 by an act of Parliament. The act fixed the size of the Stray at , and even now when part of it is removed, due to road expansion etc, it must be replaced elsewhere. During the Victorian period, part of the Stray hosted a racecourse (horses). It was created to link together most of Harrogate's springs in one protected area. There is an annual funfair that comes twice a year in the summer and more milder part of the year which attracts a variety of tourists.

RHS Harlow Carr gardensmarker are a privately owned collection of award winning themed gardens on the outskirts of Harrogate.

Crescent Gardens is a small open area in central Harrogate. It is surrounded by some of the towns main tourist attractions including the Royal Pump Room, Royal Baths and Royal Hall, as well as the Town Hall. Hall M of the Harrogate International Centre also fronts onto Crescent Gardens.

A number of smaller parks and gardens can be found throughout the town, including Jubilee Gardens and Victoria Gardens on the eastern side of central Harrogate.


Harrogate station's platforms and tracks, seen from the pedestrian bridge
The town is served by four railway stations: Harrogatemarker (for town centre), Hornbeam Parkmarker, Pannalmarker (towards Leeds) and Starbeckmarker on the Harrogate Line to Knaresborough and York. Trains are operated by Northern Rail, with one daily service to London Kings Cross operated by National Express East Coast. Trains run every half hour to Leeds and Knaresborough, and every hour onto York. There are extra non-stop commuter services at peak times between Harrogate and Leeds. The former railway lines to Riponmarker and Wetherbymarker (see Wetherby railway station) were dismantled in the 1960s. A prospective railway company, First Harrogate Trains plans to run trains from London King's Crossmarker to Harrogate. If their plans are realised, the first direct trains will begin running in summer 2009.

Buses are every 20 minutes between Harrogate and Riponmarker, and Harrogate and Leedsmarker (via Harewoodmarker, Moortownmarker and Chapel Allertonmarker) on Harrogate and District route 36. The 770 route also runs to Leeds via Wetherbymarker, Boston Spamarker and Seacroftmarker as well as other parts of semi-rural Leeds. There are further services to Leeds Bradford International Airportmarker, Otleymarker, Bradfordmarker, Knaresboroughmarker and Pateley Bridgemarker, and in April 2008 a new service to York was commenced under the branding Yorkshire Connect

Harrogate is strongly connected to Leedsmarker, in both rail and road transport. This is also evident in the volume of high school students coming from Leeds to Harrogate everyday. The strong transport connection is very important for some of the Harrogate schools, especially Rossett Schoolmarker. Road transport to Leeds is via the A61 (north and central Leeds), A658 (north west Leeds/Leeds Bradford International Airportmarker) and A661 (for north east Leeds). The A61 also continues northwards to Ripon, while the A658 connects to Bradford after passing through north west Leeds. The A658 also forms the Harrogate Bypass that skirts the South and East of the town, joining the A59 linking Yorkmarker and the A1marker to the east and Skiptonmarker to the west with Harrogate.


The MP for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituencymarker is Phil Willis, a Liberal Democrat. He was elected in 1997, ousting the Conservatives who had won the seat at the previous three general elections.


Location grid

Areas of Harrogate

Like all large towns, Harrogate has many suburbs. These include;

  • Central Harrogate is bounded by 'The Stray' to the south and west, and borders High Harrogate and Duchy to the east and north respectively. It is a district centre for retail with the Victoria Shopping Centre housing a number of major chains. Pedestrianised Cambridge Street and Oxford Street are the main high streets in the town, with Harrogate Theatre on Oxford Street. Parliament Street, Montpellier and James Street offer designer shopping and some of the upmarket department stores. An ODEON cinema can be found on the edge of central Harrogate, as can an Asda and Waitrose Supermarket. Marks and Spencer have a large food hall in their department store on Oxford Street. A number of bars and restaurants can be found on Cheltenham Mount and John Street, while the Royal Baths and Parliament Street are the centre of the town's nightlife. The southern end of central Harrogate consists largely of detached houses that have been converted to offices although Harrogate Magistrates Court and Harrogate Central Library can be found on Victoria Avenue. A bowling alley and some upmarket boutiques can be found along the Stray in central southern Harrogate, including the highly praised food emporium 'Weetons'.
  • Oatlands, is a wealthy suburb in the south of Harrogate. The suburb includes 2 schools, Oatlands Primary School and Oatlands Infant School, and a set of allotments.
  • Woodlands, is a large area of the town covering a part of the south east of Harrogate. Neighbouring the districts of Starbeck/Knareborough Road. It is home to Harrogate town football club, Woodlands primary school, Morrisons and Sainsburys supermarkets as well as the Woodlands pub.
  • Biltonmarker, is a very large area of Harrogate with many churches, stores and schools situated in Bilton. One of the best areas for schooling, Richard Taylor School, Woodfield and Bilton Grange. The Poet's Corner is known for its 'poetic' names and expensive housing. On the first May Bank Holiday each year the Bilton Gala takes place. The first Gala was held in 1977 and the event raises money for local groups and organisations within the local community.
  • Jennyfields, is a large, modern area of Harrogate, it has one school, a primary school called Saltergate. The town's main public swimming pool is located on the edge of Jennyfield, as is 'The Academy' Health Club and Gym.
  • Duchy, is an affluent area close to central Harrogate where most of the houses are large detached homes or large detached homes converted into apartments. There are several private schools in this area, most notably Harrogate Ladies College. There is also a golf club and open countryside for walks etc.
  • Starbeckmarker, is a large suburb to the east of Harrogate. There are several shops along the local High Street, as well as a station with trains to Harrogate onto Leedsmarker, Knaresboroughmarker and Yorkmarker. A high frequency bus service links Starbeck to Harrogate and Knaresboroughmarker. A number of schools, churches, and convenience stores are situated in Starbeck
  • Pannal, is to the south of Harrogate, off the A61 road. It retains much of its village character, although is considered a suburb of Harrogate by the majority. A commuter station links it to Harrogate onto Yorkmarker and Knaresboroughmarker, and Leedsmarker.
  • High Harrogate, is an inner suburb to the east of the town centre. It is focussed on Westmoreland Street and the A59 road, where a number of shops and cafes are located. Expensive terraced houses line The Stray, which stops in High Harrogate. The 4* Victorian Shannon Court Guest House is the only hotel in High Harrogate [35526].
  • Low Harrogate, is an inner suburb to the west of the town centre. It is traditionally the focus of most the tourist activity in the town, with the Royal Pump Room, Mercer Art Gallery and Valley Gardens.
  • Harlow Hill, is a suburb to the west of the town, accessed by Otley Road. It has a number of new developments, and an office park. It is most well known for Harlow Carr Gardens. Harrogate Spa bottling plant is also on Harlow Hill, as is a water treatment centre.
  • New Park, is a small area to the north of Harrogate, known for its primary school. There are a number of terraced houses in this area, as well as some light industrial and commercial premises.
  • Wheatlands, is a wealthy suburb to the south of The Stray. It is exclusively residential, with the exception of 2 high-performing schools, St. Aidan's and St. John Fisher.
  • Knox joined to Bilton by a pedestrian bridge over Oak Beck. Originally, a ford allowed road access via Bilton, however now, road access is via the A61 road.
  • Hornbeam Park is a small, recently developed area of Harrogate accessed only by Hookstone Chase.It was originally developed as an office park and retains many offices, but it is now also the focus of Harrogate College (a campus of Leeds Metropolitan Universitymarker), a Canons health club, Travel Inn and restaurant, hospice and some small warehouses. It is served by Hornbeam Park railway station to Harrogate and Leeds.

Town twinning

Harrogate is twinned with:


  • The town's newspaper is the Harrogate Advertiser, part of Ackrill Media Group.
  • The local radio stations are BBC Radio York on 104.3 & 103.7 FM and Stray FM on 97.2 FM.
  • Harrogate is a flavour of Mackintosh's Toffee.
  • Harrogate Nights, is a popular alcoholic beverage, which was created in Harrogate.
  • Alongside Runnymedemarker, Surreymarker, people in Harrogate drink alcohol to more hazardous levels than anywhere else in the UK.
  • Harrogate is home to the headquarters of Rural Insurance Group Ltd, an agricultural insurance specialist, located at Hornbeam Park.
  • Harrogate was the 'birthplace' of Crimplene, named after Crimple valley, which is a piece of land between Hornbeam Park and the Woodlands area.

See also


  1. Office for National Statistics : Neighbourhood Statistics Retrieved 2009-09-18
  2. The population of Harrogate Unparished Area is derived from the totals for Bilton; Granby; Harlow Moor; High Harrogate; Hookstone; Low Harrogate; New Park; Pannal; Rossett; Saltergate; Starbeck; Stray; and Woodfield wards then subtracting that part of Killinghall Civil Parish within Saltergate Ward. The population for the portion of Killinghall Civil Parish is derived from subtracting the populations of Nidd and Ripley Civil Parishes from the total for Killinghall ward. This gives the portion of Killinghall Civil Parish in Killinghall Ward; this is then subtracted from the total for Killinghall Civil Parish to give the total for the portion of Killinghall Civil Parish in Saltergate Ward.
  3. [1]
  4. Rail misery for commuters - Harrogate Today
  5. untitled
  6. The most expensive streets in Yorkshire and the Humber, 2008 - Times Online
  8. Royal Hall history
  9. BBC News | England | North Yorkshire | Prince reopens saved Royal Hall
  11. Betty's opening news
  12. Mercer Art Gallery
  13. Channel 4 Best & Worst
  14. First Group -Harrogate Trains
  15. UK Polling Report: Harrogate and Knaresborough
  16. "Transfer of activities at Harrogate College from Leeds Metropolitan University to Hull College", Hull College website, accessed 28 August 2008
  17. UK Excess Drinking

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