A classic English spa town with quaint bustling streets, historic monuments and beautifully tended gardens. If you’re looking for things to do in Harrogate, you won’t be disappointed. We’ve curated a list of things to do, and see, all within walking distance.
“Walk well trodden streets but see new things… A brilliant few hours…”Team: Dora the Explorer
Spend an afternoon exploring Harrogate with our highly rated treasure hunt-style experience sent to your phone, for both visitors and residents. Weave through passageways and beautiful greenery to explore the famous spa town.
Immerse yourself in historic sights and obscure quirks as you solve riddles and progress on your adventure. Assemble your team of 2 or more (friends, family, colleagues, a date..) and set the time. Once your tale starts you’ll unravel cryptic clues to unlock the hidden path to a location within walking distance. Decode the clue and search nearby to find the answer. At half way earn yourself a break in a fantastic local pub. Ideal for all in all weather – just bring a coat! Learn more about how our trails works here.
Alternatively find out the best things to do in the curated list below. With a great range of activities there will always be something to do in Harrogate. Note that titles marked with * are on the route of our trail!
Best things to do in Harrogate
Situated in regal Low Harrogate, the English Heritage Grade II listed gardens are combined with The Pinewoods covering 17 acres. The Gardens contain a more mineral springs than any other known place, visit the area known at Bogs Field (near the wishing well) where 36 mineral wells were discovered.
The gardens are open all year round, 24 hours a day. During the summer months bands play each Sunday afternoon in the band stand. Refreshments are also available at the Magnesia Well Cafe. A map of the gardens can be found here.
Next to the former headquarters of Harrogate Borough Council the gardens have wonderful rose beds surrounding a glass enclosure surrounding Cupid & Psyche sculpted in 1861 by Italian artist Giovanni Mar. Many benches surround the area which makes for a nice picnic spot!
Built in 1847 by Thomas Salt as the “South Park Boarding House”, it later became the Royal Hotel which flourished after a nearby railway was constructed. It was requisitioned in World War Two but closed in 1960 to be converted into office and residential use.
Albert Terrace Gardens*
Tucked away just off a busy street are the gardens of Albert Terrace. Take a break, relax and watch the world go by. Here you can find a raised plant bed filled with various herbs, each labeled in braille.
Approximately 96 acres of semi-natural woodland just 1km from the Harrogate town centre, above valley gardens. There is a footpath allowing for pedestrians and wheelchair access through the entire woods so all can enjoy.
Looking for an afternoon walk? Start at the entrance of Valley gardens walking steadily up hill. Continue through the woods and cross the road leading to the second part of the woodland. Enjoy fantastic views into the countryside by your side, at the end find Bettys tearoom at Harlow Carr perfect for a drink and cake.
The large stone obelisk decorated with wreaths is a war memorial unveiled in 1923. It commemorates 774 personnel who died in the First World War and also 321 who died in the Second World War.
There is a special memorial to the Victoria Cross holders who came from Harrogate, including 2nd Lieutenant Donald Bell from the Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own). In 1875 the regiment was presented new Colours and granted the title. You’ll find ‘The Alexandra’ pub nearby, named after the Princess of Wales, who later married King Edward VII and became Queen Alexandra.
In January 2017 a project was launched to restore the Japanese gardens within the Valley Gardens park. It is now open and fully restored, although not a large installation it’s not one to miss if you’re looking to stroll through the gardens. Find the entrance slightly up hill from the duck/boating pond.
Tour de France Tree Carving & Stain-glass*
The 2014 Tour de France was the 101st edition of the race. The Tour started in Yorkshire with two stages the first from Leeds to Harrogate (190.5 km) and the second from York to Sheffield (201 km). The first two stages were informally nicknamed Le Tour de Yorkshire and the success led to the formation of the Tour de Yorkshire cycling race.
Just up the hill from the chainsaw carving is a stain-glass window also paying tribute to the race.
Weave through passageways and beautiful greenery to explore the famous spa town. Immerse yourself in historic sights and obscure quirks as you solve riddles and progress on your adventure.
Cold Bath Brewery
A relatively new bar/pub in Harrogate situated on Kings Road, not Cold Bath, you’ll find fantastic craft beers made on site and accompanied with tasty dumplings. A large selection of the beer is brewed on site with the brewery never ceasing to improve their range.
Definitely a spot to head to on a sunny day, but expect it to be busy!
One of the strongest sulphur wells in Europe where over 15,000 people used to visit each summer! You can still find the open water fountain on one side of the building and press the button to get a whiff, we don’t advise drinking it!
After the Second World War and with the creation of National Health Service the curing waters were not as popular and eventually the doors were closed. In 1953 the Royal Pump Room was reopened as a museum.
The Fat Badger
Centered in the Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate the Fat Badger offers a traditional English pub experience. Need a place to recharge? Find a cosy wooden booth and tuck in!
In 1907 Fritz Butzer left his home of Switzerland and traveled to England with the dream of establishing his own business. The young Swiss baker spent his first night in the waiting room of Bradford station, unable to speak a word of English!
In 1919 the first Bettys opened for business. Not long after Bettys became well known in Yorkshire for the excellent service, elegant surroundings and continental cakes. In the 20’s Bettys expanded opening a bakery to support new cafes in Bradford and Leeds.
In 1937 York became the confectionary capital of Britain, home to Terry’s, Rowntree’s and Craven’s. Bettys followed suit and brazenly opened a store opposite the Terry’s cafe in St Helen’s Square.
The oldest pub in Harrogate, the establishment has ties going back to the earliest days of the town’s emergence. It was originally an Inn for the first spa visitors after the suplhur wells were established. There are still suplhur spring flows beneath the cellar, occasionally the distinctive smells make their way to the bar area.
In 2016 the pub created a ‘secret’ garden in the rear of the premises for guests to enjoy some outdoor seating with beautiful flower displays.
Royal Hall Theatre
The grade II Edwardian performance hall is located just on the outskirts of the town centre. A 950 seat capacity with amazing decor and a spectacular setting. In 2008 it was re-opened by Prince Charles after an £8 million restoration. There is a programme of live events available on their website here.
Immerse yourself in Britain’s most fully restored Victorian Turkish Baths. Relax, rejuvenate and soak it all in. Only 7 baths remain which date back to the 19th century, their importance lies in their decoration, elaboration and rarity.
The baths feature Moorish design, Islamic arches and screens, vibrant glazed brick walls and arabesque painted ceilings and terrazzo floors.
“A Turkish Bats ritual is the journey of heating, cooling and cleansing the body, promoting a sense of relation and a clear mind.”
Choose from drama, music, comedy and dance shows for all audiences. The grade II listed building was built in 1900 and features a fantastic gilded auditorium. The Circle Bar is open on Friday & Saturdays from 10am-4pm serving local beverages and treats!
Opened in 1906 with a grant of £7,500. The library is a Carnegie Library, built with the money donated by Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie. In total 2509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929!
Coach & Horses*
Opening in 1827 ‘The Coach’ was one of eight public houses in the area. At the end of the 19th century the pub had expanded so much is had no fewer than seven external doors at the front.
In 1891 it was put up for sale for £9,000 but failed to find a buyer. Not long after, John Smiths Brewery mortgaged the property and took complete ownership in 1912. It once again became a free house in 1996 after the current landlord purchased the freehold from the brewery.
Mercer Art Gallery
Home to some 2000 works of art featuring from the 19th and 20th centuries. Up to 29/09/19 the major exhibition will be for William Powell Frirth – The People’s Painter.
The gallery’s name came from the the water-colourist Sidney Agnew Mercer who lived most of his life in Yorkshire. His sons gave £50,000 towards the new art gallery.
Harrogate Visitor Information Centre
Still aren’t sure what you want to do? Take a look in the Tourist Information Centre, you’ll certainly find some ideas here.
* – Attractions can be seen on one of our highly rated treasure hunt-style games. Make a day of exploring Harrogate, suitable for visitors and locals alike, enjoy the adventure game with optional pub stops.