Coordinates: 53°59′28″N 1°32′20″W / 53.991°N 1.539°W / 53.991; -1.539

Harrogate cenotaph
Harrogate is located in North Yorkshire

 Harrogate shown within North Yorkshire
Population 71,594 (2001)
OS grid reference SE303550
    - London 211 mi (340 km)  
District Harrogate
Shire county North Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HG1, HG2, HG3, HG5
Dialling code 01423
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Harrogate & Knaresborough
Website http://www.harrogate.gov.uk/
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Harrogate is a spa town in North Yorkshire, England. The town is a tourist destination and its visitor attractions include its spa waters, RHS Harlow Carr gardens, and Betty's Tea Rooms. From the town one can explore the nearby Yorkshire Dales national park. Harrogate originated in the 17th century, with High Harrogate and Low Harrogate as two separate settlements. It lies adjacent to Knaresborough, with which it forms a single urban area, and is in the Nidd valley.

Harrogate spa water contains iron, sulphur and common salt. The town became known as 'The English Spa' in the Georgian Era, after its waters were first discovered in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th 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 station and Harrogate bus station in the town centre provide transport connections. Leeds Bradford International Airport is 10 miles (16 km) south west of Harrogate. The main road through the town is the A61, connecting Harrogate to Leeds and Ripon. Harrogate is also connected to Wetherby and the A1, by the A661. The town of Harrogate on its own had a population of 71,594 at the 2001 UK census;[1][2] the urban area comprising Harrogate and nearby Knaresborough had a population of 85,128, while the figure for the much wider Borough of Harrogate, comprising Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon and a large rural area, was 151,339.[3]

The town motto is Arx celebris fontibus, which means "a citadel famous for its springs."[4]



Royal Pump Room

Before the discovery of iron and sulphur rich water, Harrogate comprised two hamlets, High Harrogate and Low Harrogate, close to the historic town of Knaresborough. The first mineral spring was discovered in 1571 by William Slingsby, who found that water from the Tewit Well possessed similar properties to that from the springs of the Belgian town of Spa, which gave its name to spa towns. The medicinal properties of the waters were widely publicised by Edmund Deane, whose book, Spadacrene Anglica, or the English Spa Fountain was published in 1626. Harrogate developed fame as a spa town following the enclosure of surrounding lands in 1770, when 200 acres (0.81 km2) were reserved as public commons, The Stray, which has remained a popular spot for picnicking, kite-flying, outdoor games and local football matches.[5] To provide entertainment for increasing numbers of visitors to the village, the Georgian Theatre was built in 1788. Bath Hospital (later the Royal Bath Hospital) was built in 1826. The Royal Pump Room was built in 1842.

In 1870, engineering inventor Samson Fox perfected the process of creating water gas, in the basement laboratory of Grove House. After constructing a trial plant at his home on Scarborough Road, making it the first house in Yorkshire to have gas lighting and gas heating; he built a town sized plant to supply Harrogate. After he had completed the conversion of Parliament Street to make it the world's first route to be lit by water-gas, newspapers commented: "Samson Fox has captured the sunlight for Harrogate." After donating the towns first fire engine, and building the towns theatre, he was later elected mayor for three years, a still unprecedented record.

Today the site of the Tewit Well is marked by a dome on 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 popular among the English élite and was frequented by nobility from Europe[citation needed]. Its popularity declined after World War I. During World War II, 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.

Monument to Queen Victoria in Harrogate

In 1893 Harrogate doctor George Oliver was the first to observe the effect of adrenaline on the circulation.

Former employers in the town 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.

Harrogate won the 2003 Britain in Bloom in the category of 'Large Town' and won the European Entente Florale competition in 2004. This reprises its win in the first Entente Florale competition in 1977. Harrogate was a gold medal winner of Europe in Bloom in 2004. In 2005, a Channel 4 TV show listed Harrogate as the UK's third best place to live. In 2006 it came fourth 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.[6]

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 Afghanistan. The hoard was described by the British Museum as the most important find of its type in Britain for 150 years.[7]


The MP for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency is Andrew Jones, a Conservative. He was elected in 2010, ousting the Liberal Democrats who had won the seat at the previous three general elections.[8] The town is part of Harrogate Borough Council, which since the 2010 election has had a Conservative majority.[9]

Harrogate is twinned with:


The town is a dormitory town for commuters working in the cities of Leeds and Bradford.[10][11] Harrogate is 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.[12]

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. At an altitude of between 100 and 200 metres, Harrogate is higher than many English settlements. It has an average minimum temperature in January of slightly below 0 °C and an average maximum in July and August of 20 °C.[13]

Divisions and suburbs

  • 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 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 some allotments.
  • Woodlands is a large area in south east Harrogate which adjoins 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.
  • Bilton, is a large area of Harrogate with many churches, stores and schools. One of the best areas for schooling, Richard Taylor School, Woodfield and Bilton Grange. The Poet's Corner is known for its 'poetic' street 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.
  • 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.
  • Starbeck is a large suburb to the east of Harrogate with a station with trains to Harrogate onto Leeds, Knaresborough and York. A frequent bus service links Starbeck to Harrogate and Knaresborough. A number of schools, churches, and convenience stores are situated in Starbeck.
  • Pannal is to the south of Harrogate, off the A61 road. This suburb retains much of its village character. A commuter station links it to Harrogate and on to York, Knaresborough and Leeds.
  • High Harrogate is an inner suburb to the east of the town centre. It is focused 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 guest house in High Harrogate [4].
  • Low Harrogate, is an inner suburb to the west of the town centre. It is the focus of most of 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 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, but road access is now 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 Hull University), a Nuffield Fitness and Wellbeing Centre, Travel Inn and restaurant, hospice and some small warehouses. It is served by Hornbeam Park railway station to Harrogate and Leeds.


Hotels such as the Majestic now serve Harrogate's conference industry

Harrogate has a strong and varied economy. The conference and exhibition industry is the focus of the town's business, with Harrogate International Centre[14] being the third largest fully integrated conference and exhibition centre in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe.[15][dead link] It brings in over £150 million to the local economy every year and attracts in excess of 350,000 business visitors annually.[16] The town is home to the Great Yorkshire Showground and Pavilions of Harrogate, which are major conference destinations.

The Great Yorkshire Showground is the hub of the regional agricultural industry, hosted by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. The Great Yorkshire Show takes place here annually.

The many business visitors to Harrogate sustain a number of large hotels, originally built for visitors to the Spa.

Harrogate's main shopping district is focused on Cambridge Street, Oxford Street, Beulah Street and James Street where most of the high street shops can be found. There is 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 by 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.

Continuing Harrogate's tradition as a place of health and well being, there is a public Turkish bath on Parliament Street. The Turkish bath has a steam room, tepidarium, calidarium, laconium, plunge pool and a relaxation room, and offers spa treatments.[17]


Cambridge Street, Harrogate
Bettys is one of Harrogate's best known landmarks

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.[18] As the only surviving Kursaal in Britain, the Royal Hall is an important national heritage building.[19] Restoration work was completed in 2007, and the Hall was formally opened on 22 January 2008, by The Prince of Wales.[20]

The Royal Pump Room houses Europe's strongest sulphur well,[21] but is now a museum showcasing the town's spa history.

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

Montpellier Quarter

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.[22]

The Mercer Art Gallery[23] 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.

Hollins Hall

Hollins Hall is a small retirement village on the outskirts of the Yorkshire Dales, set in 14 acres (57,000 m2) of garden landscape. The village is rich in history with Georgian manor houses which were once occupied by the famous Tetley family.[24]

Hollins Hall has become the centre of an ever growing community, very close to Harrogate town centre.

Parks and gardens

Valley Gardens, in Low Harrogate, is the town's main park and covers much of the area originally known as 'Bogs Field', where a number of springs were discovered. Valley Gardens has a number of attractions including an ice cream parlour and a children's play area with an outdoor paddling pool. The Sun Pavilion at the northern edge of the park can be privately hired for events such as wedding receptions. A pitch and putt golf course, crazy golf, tennis courts and bowling green are in the west of the park. The Friends Of Valley Gardens group was formed in 2009 to support the park. FOVG works in partnership with Harrogate Borough Council to guide the Park’s future use and development.

The Stray is an area of open parkland of some 200 acres (80.94 ha) (80 hectares) in the centre of the town. It was created in 1778 to link together most of Harrogate's springs in one protected area by an act of Parliament which fixed its area as 200 acres (80.94 ha), and even now when part of it is removed, e.g. due to road widening, it must be replaced elsewhere. During the Victorian period, there was a racecourse for horses in the Stray. There is a funfair twice each summer which attracts tourists.

RHS Harlow Carr gardens is a privately owned group 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 town's 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.

The town has several smaller parks and gardens, including Jubilee Gardens and Victoria Gardens on the eastern side of central Harrogate.


  • Rugby union, Athletics, 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. After a devastating fire which destroyed the historic old pavilion at the ground, a new pavilion is nearing completion (June 2011). Harrogate Cricket Club is to be the home of Yorkshire Women cricket team. The club has 4 Saturday teams.
  • 1st XI - Yorkshire ECB County Premier League
  • 2nd XI - York Senior League - Division 2
  • 3rd XI - Also known as "Harrogate Strays" - Nidderdale League Division 2
  • 4th XI - Also known as "Harrogate Devs" - Nidderdale League Division 5
  • 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.
  • Rock climbing is a popular sport in and around Harrogate, both indoors at the Harrogate Climbing Centre and at venues such as Almscliffe Crag and Brimham Rocks. Rock climbing is seen as a personal challenge, however indoor climbing walls hold climbing competitions to create a competitive event.
  • Gord Pettinger (b. November 11, 1911 in Harrogate, England - d. April 12, 1986) is a retired British professional ice hockey centre who played 8 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Boston Bruins. Pettinger won four Stanley Cups with three different teams, the 1933 New York Rangers, 1936 and 1937 Detroit Red Wings, and the 1939 Boston Bruins. He is one of only ten players in Stanley Cup history to win the Cup with three different teams.
  • Muay Thai. Kao Loi Gym (www.kaoloi.co.uk) has offered Muay Thai training to Harrogate residents and schools for over 14 years, and is based at the Zone at Hornbeam Park. Kao Loi caters for ages 8 upwards and works with people wanting to get fit, grade, or compete.


Harrogate station's platforms and tracks, seen from the pedestrian bridge

The town is served by four railway stations: Harrogate (for town centre), Hornbeam Park, Pannal (towards Leeds) and Starbeck on the Harrogate Line to Knaresborough and York. Trains are operated by Northern Rail. 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.

There is one daily weekday service to London King's Cross operated by East Coast. The train leaves Harrogate at 07.28 and arrives at London King's Cross at 10.38. The return service leaves London King's Cross at 17.33 and arrives in Harrogate at 20.29.

The former railway lines to Ripon and Wetherby (see Wetherby railway station) were dismantled in the 1960s. A prospective railway company, First Harrogate Trains, proposed to run trains from London King's Cross to Harrogate,[25] but failed to get approval in a process that ended in February 2009.

Buses are every 15 minutes between Harrogate, Ripon and Leeds (via Harewood, Moortown and Chapel Allerton) on Harrogate and District route 36. The 770 route also runs to Leeds via Wetherby, Boston Spa and Seacroft as well as other parts of semi-rural Leeds. There are also services to Otley, Bradford, Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge, and in April 2008 a new service to York was commenced under the branding Yorkshire Connect but was pulled in 2011.

A61 Station Parade, Harrogate

Harrogate is strongly connected to Leeds, 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 School. Road transport to Leeds is via the A61 (north and central Leeds), A658 (north west Leeds/Leeds Bradford International Airport) 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 York and the A1(M) to the east and Skipton to the west with Harrogate.

The nearest airport is Leeds Bradford International Airport to which there are bus services on route 767. Manchester Airport is also accessible by train via Leeds railway station.



  • 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.
  • The local leading online news source is Harrogate-News


Notable Residents

  • Andrew Brons, MEP
  • Danny Mills - former Leeds United player
  • Dr Andrew Charles Quinn FRCA EDIC - A respected clinician and close friend and mentor to David Shore, the creator of House. Dr Quinn was probably one of the inspirations for the character of Dr Gregory House and on Sunday mornings strolls on the Stray where he is frequently asked to speak of difficult diagnostic conundrums he has solved over his illustrious career.

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. ^ M2 (2003-12-09). "Harrogate". Bottled Water of the World. http://www.finewaters.com/Water_Spas/British_Spa_Towns/Harrogate.asp. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  5. ^ Harrogate Borough Council: the Stray
  6. ^ Channel 4 Best & Worst
  7. ^ "Viking treasure hoard uncovered". BBC News. 2007-07-19. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/north_yorkshire/6906107.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  8. ^ UK Polling Report: Harrogate and Knaresborough
  9. ^ "Harrogate". BBC News Online. 2009-04-19. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/election2010/council/html/3699.stm. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  10. ^ Rail misery for commuters - Harrogate Today
  11. ^ untitled
  12. ^ "The most expensive streets in Yorkshire and the Humber 2008". The Times (London). 2008-02-19. http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article3393083.ece. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  13. ^ http://uk.weather.com/climate/annualClimo-Harrogate-UKXX1328?
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Harrogateinternationalcentre.co.uk
  16. ^ What HIC means to Harrogate Harrogate International Centre
  17. ^ "Harrogate Tourist Information". Hello Yorkshire. http://www.hello-yorkshire.co.uk/harrogate/tourist-information. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ Royal Hall history
  20. ^ "Prince reopens saved Royal Hall". BBC News. 2008-01-22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/7202162.stm. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  21. ^ http://www.aboutbritain.com/RoyalPumpRoomMuseum.htm
  22. ^ Betty's opening news
  23. ^ Mercer Art Gallery
  24. ^ Hollins Hall Retirement Village
  25. ^ First Group -Harrogate Trains
  26. ^ "Transfer of activities at Harrogate College from Leeds Metropolitan University to Hull College", Hull College website, accessed 28 August 2008
  27. ^ UK Excess Drinking

External links

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