things to do in harrogate

Last Updated on: 15th July 2024, 06:05 am

Are you looking for a quaint town filled with activities, attractions, and natural beauty? Look no further than Harrogate, located in North Yorkshire, England, UK. In this section, I will explore the best things to do in Harrogate. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, this charming town has plenty to offer.

From exploring the town centre and its unique boutiques and cafes to discovering the stunning gardens and indulging in the food and drink scene, Harrogate has something for everyone. You can also immerse yourself in the rich cultural scene and enjoy outdoor activities in picturesque surroundings. Plus, Harrogate’s ideal location offers easy access to nearby attractions, including the historic city of York and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Join me as we discover the best things to do in Harrogate and plan your visit to this charming town.

7 Things to do in Harrogate

1. Exploring Harrogate Town Centre

When it comes to things to do in Harrogate town centre, there’s no shortage of options. Whether you’re in the mood for some shopping, dining, or sightseeing, this vibrant hub has something for everyone.

Start by taking a leisurely stroll through the streets to marvel at the historic architecture and charming atmosphere. As you wander through the town centre, make sure to stop by the unique independent boutiques and cafes that line the streets.

If you’re a fan of shopping, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Harrogate. The town centre is home to a variety of shops, ranging from high-street favourites to independent retailers. Check out the stylish Victoria Shopping Centre for a range of designer stores and high-end boutiques.

Shopping options in Harrogate town centre Highlights
Victoria Shopping Centre Designer stores and high-end boutiques
Jennings Department Store A wide range of fashion, homeware, and beauty products
West Park Antiques Centre A treasure trove of unique vintage finds

And when it comes to dining, Harrogate has plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds. From traditional Yorkshire dishes to international cuisine, there’s something to suit every palate. Stop by the popular Weetons Food Hall for gourmet sandwiches, artisanal cheeses, and other delicious treats.

Finally, make sure to take in some of the cultural landmarks that Harrogate town centre has to offer. Check out the impressive Royal Hall Theatre for a night of entertainment, or visit the stunning Mercer Art Gallery to admire the works of local artists.

things to do in Harrogate town centre

2. Discovering Harrogate’s Gardens

Harrogate’s nature and beauty will captivate you as soon as you arrive in town. Its gardens are among the main attractions, and they offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of this North Yorkshire town.

There are several gorgeous gardens to explore in and around Harrogate. A visit to the Valley Gardens is a must-do for any tourist. With 17 acres of land, it’s a delightful place to stroll and appreciate the immaculate floral displays. Its vibrant colours and charming architecture make it a perfect spot for picnicking and relaxing.

If you’re searching for an even bigger garden to explore, the RHS Garden Harlow Carr is an ideal destination. This 68-acre garden features several landscapes, seasonal plant displays, and a giant tree that’s over 100 years old. RHS Garden Harlow Carr is a great day out with the whole family, providing a unique and unforgettable experience.

things to do in Harrogate town, things to do in Harrogate north Yorkshire

Visiting these gardens can be a haven for nature lovers and is one of many things to do in Harrogate town and Harrogate north Yorkshire which shouldn’t be missed out.

3. Indulging in Harrogate’s Food and Drink Scene

If you’re a foodie like me, then Harrogate is the perfect destination for you. This charming town offers a wide range of culinary delights that cater to every taste. From exquisite dining establishments to quaint cafes and tearooms, Harrogate has it all.

One of the things that makes Harrogate’s food scene unique is its focus on local and seasonal produce. Many of the top restaurants in town source their ingredients from nearby farms and suppliers, ensuring that every dish is fresh and bursting with flavour.

When it comes to traditional Yorkshire fare, you can’t go wrong with a classic Sunday roast or a hearty portion of fish and chips. For something a bit more adventurous, why not try some of the town’s signature dishes like the Yorkshire Pudding or Parkin Cake.

things to do in Harrogate town

If you’re looking for international cuisines, Harrogate has plenty of options to choose from as well. From Italian to Thai, Indian to French, there’s something to please every palate.

To really indulge in Harrogate’s food and drink scene, I highly recommend taking a food tour. There are several guided tours available that will take you on a culinary journey through the town, giving you a taste of everything Harrogate has to offer.

4. Experiencing Harrogate’s Cultural Attractions

Harrogate is a town with a rich cultural scene, offering visitors a variety of museums, galleries, and theaters to explore. One of the must-visit attractions is the Royal Pump Room Museum, which houses fascinating exhibits on Harrogate’s history as a spa town. Learn about the town’s growth during the Victorian era and discover how the unique mineral properties of the local spring waters attracted visitors from all over the world.

If you’re looking for a cultural evening out, the Harrogate Theatre is the perfect destination. This beautiful venue offers a varied program of shows, from classic plays to contemporary performances. Take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a memorable night of entertainment in one of Harrogate’s most esteemed venues.

I highly recommend checking out the exhibitions at the Royal Pump Room Museum and attending a show at the Harrogate Theatre. These cultural attractions provide insight and entertainment that visitors of all ages can enjoy.

things to do in Harrogate town

For art enthusiasts, the Mercer Art Gallery is a must-visit destination. This public gallery showcases works from Harrogate’s extensive art collection, featuring pieces from famous artists such as JMW Turner and Atkinson Grimshaw. Discover Harrogate’s rich art history and explore the changing exhibitions that the gallery offers throughout the year.

Harrogate’s Festivals and Events

In addition to its permanent cultural attractions, Harrogate also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year. The Harrogate International Festivals is a renowned arts festival that takes place annually, featuring performances by music, literature, and comedy icons. The Great Yorkshire Show is another popular event that showcases the best of Yorkshire’s agriculture, food, and drink. If you’re lucky enough to be in town during these events, don’t miss out on the unique cultural experience they offer.

Cultural Attraction Location Opening Hours
Royal Pump Room Museum Crown Place, Harrogate Monday-Saturday: 10am-4pm, Sunday: 2pm-4pm
Harrogate Theatre Oxford St, Harrogate Varies by performance
Mercer Art Gallery Swan Rd, Harrogate Wednesday-Monday: 10am-5pm, Tuesday: Closed

Harrogate’s cultural attractions and events provide a plethora of things to do in Harrogate town for visitors who look for art, history, and entertainment.


Harrogate’s cultural scene has something to offer for everyone, from museums offering insights to festivals brightening up the town, visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities.

5. Enjoying Outdoor Activities in Harrogate

If you’re looking to get some fresh air and exercise, Harrogate has plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Explore the scenic Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and take in breathtaking views while hiking through the rolling hills. Golfers will have a blast at one of Harrogate’s renowned golf courses, such as Pannal Golf Club or Rudding Park Golf Club.

Rudding Park Golf Club

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For a unique and thrilling experience, take a hot air balloon ride over the picturesque countryside. If you prefer to stay on solid ground, there are plenty of opportunities for horseback riding and cycling in and around the town.

No matter your level of activity, Harrogate’s outdoor offerings are sure to impress.

6. Relaxation and Pampering in Harrogate

After a busy day exploring the town, it’s time to unwind and indulge in some pampering. Harrogate is famous for its spa and wellness centers, offering a range of treatments and activities to help you relax and rejuvenate.

Turkish Baths

Turkish Baths

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One of the must-visit attractions in Harrogate is the Turkish Baths. Soak in the warm and healing waters and enjoy the stunning Moorish architecture of this historic spa. You can also indulge in a variety of beauty and massage treatments for the ultimate relaxation experience.

Spa Treatments

Verbena Spa

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If you’re looking for a luxurious spa experience, look no further than Harrogate’s top-rated spas. From facials and massages to manicures and pedicures, you can customize your own spa day and experience pure relaxation. Popular choices include Verbena Spa and The Harrogate Spa.

Yoga and Mindfulness

In addition to the traditional spa services, Harrogate also offers various yoga and mindfulness activities. Several studios in town offer yoga classes for all levels and styles, including hot yoga, aerial yoga, and yin yoga. If you’re interested in mindfulness, you can also join a meditation session or attend a wellness workshop.

7. Exploring Harrogate’s Surroundings

Harrogate is a picturesque town in North Yorkshire, England, UK, and its location provides plenty of opportunities to explore the stunning nearby attractions. Here are some of the top things to do in Harrogate UK surroundings:

Visit York


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Located only a short drive away from Harrogate, the historic city of York is a must-visit destination. Explore its centuries-old architecture, including the impressive York Minster, and discover the world-class museums, such as the Jorvik Viking Centre and the National Railway Museum. Take a stroll along the charming cobbled streets of The Shambles and indulge in some retail therapy at the many independent shops and boutiques.

Attraction Description Distance from Harrogate
York Minster A stunning Gothic cathedral from the 7th century 20 miles
Jorvik Viking Centre An immersive Viking museum experience 20 miles
The Shambles A picturesque cobbled street with independent shops and cafes 20 miles

Explore Yorkshire Dales National Park

Yorkshire Dales

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The Yorkshire Dales National Park is only a short distance away from Harrogate and offers breathtaking landscapes and abundant outdoor activities. Take a scenic drive or cycle through winding country lanes and discover hidden waterfalls, dramatic cliffs, and heather-covered moorland. Hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking are also popular activities in this area.

Discover Ripon


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Located 10 miles north of Harrogate, the historic city of Ripon is a charming destination worth exploring. Visit its impressive cathedral, founded by Saint Wilfred in the 7th century, and stroll around the quaint market square and narrow streets lined with independent shops and cafes. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Grade I listed Fountains Abbey, a stunning monastery ruin dating back to the 12th century, located only 5 miles from Ripon.

Attraction Description Distance from Harrogate
Ripon Cathedral A stunning cathedral dating back to the 7th century 10 miles
Fountains Abbey A UNESCO World Heritage Site of a 12th-century monastery ruin 15 miles from Harrogate, 5 miles from Ripon

Exploring Harrogate’s surroundings is a perfect way to experience the rich history, natural beauty, and unique culture of North Yorkshire, England, UK.


As I conclude this article, I hope you’ve gained a valuable insight into the best things to do in Harrogate. This charming town has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor planning your next trip, Harrogate won’t disappoint you. From exploring the town centre and its unique independent boutiques and cafes to discovering the stunning gardens and indulging in the delicious local and international cuisines, Harrogate leaves no stone unturned. You can also experience the rich cultural scene and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities or pamper yourself in the town’s famous spa centers. And if you have time, don’t forget to explore the surrounding areas, including the historic city of York and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

So pack your bags, gather your friends and family, and head to Harrogate for an unforgettable experience. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed.


What are some of the best things to do in Harrogate town centre?

In Harrogate town centre, you can explore the historic architecture, visit unique independent boutiques and cafes, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this charming hub.

Where can I find the stunning gardens in Harrogate?

Harrogate is known for its beautiful gardens. Check out the Valley Gardens in the town or venture further to RHS Garden Harlow Carr for immaculate floral displays and breathtaking landscapes.

What can I expect from Harrogate’s food and drink scene?

Harrogate is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of restaurants and cafes with delicious local and international cuisines. From traditional Yorkshire dishes to trendy eateries, you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds.

What cultural attractions can I explore in Harrogate?

Immerse yourself in Harrogate’s rich cultural scene by visiting museums such as the Royal Pump Room Museum or catching a show at the Harrogate Theatre for an evening of entertainment.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Harrogate?

Outdoor enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice in Harrogate. Explore the scenic Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, play golf at renowned courses, go horseback riding, cycling, or even try a hot air balloon ride.

Where can I relax and pamper myself in Harrogate?

Pamper yourself at one of Harrogate’s famous spa and wellness centers, such as the Turkish baths, where you can enjoy rejuvenating waters or indulge in luxurious spa treatments.

Are there any attractions near Harrogate worth visiting?

Harrogate’s convenient location allows easy access to nearby attractions. Take a short drive to the historic city of York for its architecture and museums, or visit Yorkshire Dales National Park for breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures.

What makes Harrogate a must-visit destination?

Harrogate offers a wonderful blend of natural beauty, historical charm, and modern attractions. Whether you’re interested in shopping, dining, outdoor activities, or relaxation, there’s something for everyone in this delightful town.