Life in Harrogate

The Old Police Station
The Old Police Station The Old Police Station The Old Police Station The Old Police Station

Harrogate has won a range of awards for being the best place to live in the UK and residents or visitors to the quaint North Yorkshire spa town instantly fall in love with its charm and unique appeal. Renowned for horticulture, iconic architecture, breath-taking scenery and now a more cosmopolitan vibe, Harrogate has become one of the go-to destination for property buyers looking for value and quality of life away from the South-East in particular.

Whether you’re looking to relocate, or downsize from a large country house to the town centre, our guide to life in Harrogate will give you a tempting flavour of what’s on offer in this historic town. From the best schools to local attractions, we explore life and culture in one of Yorkshire’s most treasured locations.


Schools in Harrogate


Analysis from research group Savills suggests that Harrogate is the crème de le creme when it comes to the percentage of pupils in high-performing schools (Number 1 in Yorkshire & The Humber). Parents really are spoilt for choice when it comes to quality education with state primaries like Rossett Acre and Western Primary receiving excellent reviews from parents and OFSTED alike.

For older pupils, Harrogate Grammar School, St John Fisher Catholic High School and St Aidan’s CofE High School are among the leading secondary schools and if you’re looking for institutions in the independent sector, Ashville College and Harrogate Ladies’ College are both held in high regard.


Food and Drink in Harrogate


Harrogate has always retained a certain warmth and charm but over recent years the town has also adopted a more cosmopolitan vibe. Like other regional hotspots nearby, Harrogate boasts a range of commercial and independent shops dedicated to coffee lovers but it’s fair to say that tea is the town’s spiritual beverage.

Harrogate hasn’t been labelled the ‘tearoom Mecca’ for nothing and the crowning jewel is the famous Bettys Tea Room, established in 1919 by Frederick Belmont and promising a blend of luxury ‘Swiss confectionery and Yorkshire hospitality’.

Around the town there are an array of traditional bakeries, butchers and cafes but the story doesn’t end there because Harrogate is also renowned for having some of the best restaurants and bars in the region.

From the Michelin-starred The Yorke Arms, to Bean & Bud and Weetons, there’s something for every culinary preference and venues like The Old Bell Tavern are a great place to grab a drink and unwind at night.


Travel Around Harrogate



Harrogate has its own station located conveniently in the centre of town and It’s also served by Hornbeam Park station and Pannal station to the south and Starbeck to the north east. Trains regularly run to York and Leeds as well as to nearby Knaresborough.

Both York and Leeds are roughly a 30-minute train ride away and locals can also jump on one of the regular runs to London King’s Cross or Edinburgh Waverley, which take around two-three hours in either direction.



Harrogate is approximately a 30- minute drive away from Leeds and can be accessed via the A61. If you need to travel to the capital, then It’s around 200 miles to London by road, but a round trip can comfortably be completed in under 5 hours (it’s roughly the same distances to Edinburgh in the opposite direction). The town is also favourably connected to the west via the A59.



If you need easy access to an international transport hub then you’ll be pleased to find that Leeds Bradford Airport lies just 10 miles from central Harrogate. Services on offer include direct flights to Europe as well as Heathrow and Glasgow.


Things to do in Harrogate



History buffs love the Royal Pump Room Museum located on the site of Harrogate’s long-standing Victorian Pump Room, a nod to Harrogate’s illustrious history as a spa town. Visitors will be dazzled by an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts as well as quirky relics related to Victorian spa treatments and the museum also boasts the oldest sulphur well in Europe.



Harrogate has garnered worldwide recognition for its international festivals with Theakston’s ‘Old Peculier’ Crime Writing Festival, which is held annually in the town, receiving excellent reviews. Writers such as Lee Child, Val McDermid, Neil Cross, S.J. Parris and even the world-famous Harry Potter creator JK Rowling have all taken part.

If you hold a passion for discovery then you can wish away hours exploring Harrogate’s springs which were first encountered in the 16th and 17th centuries and gained popularity for their alleged health benefits.

Nowadays if you’re looking to relax and unwind then visit the Harrogate Spa and Turkish Baths on Parliament Street; both offer beauty treatments and therapies in relaxation-inspired surroundings of tiled walls, mosaic floors and decorative murals.

you love dramatic entertainment then you’ll be pleased to hear that you can find a number of excellent theatres and entertainment venues in the town including The Royal Hall, Harrogate Theatre and Harrogate International Centre. From music to comedy, amateur to professional, these venues host something for everybody all year round.




With big cities like Leeds and Sheffield nearby, lack of shopping options has never troubled Harrogate residents but over recent years some of the most exclusive brands in the country have set up shop in town. The result now is that Harrogate is the go-to-place for both young and old fashionistas. Aside from well-known high-street favourites such as M&S, H&M Debenhams and TK Maxx, the town now also boasts chic clothing outlets including LK Bennett and Hobbs as well as luxury perfume outlets in the guise of Jo Malone, Molton Brown and L’Occitane.

If you have an eye for jewellery then head down James Street where you’ll discover department store Hoopers surrounded by a number of elegant boutiques and If you love independents clothes shops then visit Montpellier Quarter where the shops are intermingled with cosy café-restaurants and bars.




Occurring in Spring and Autumn, Harrogate’s famous flower shows at The Great Yorkshire Showground welcome the world’s best growers, landscapers and garden designers who work to build show gardens and offer advice on all things horticulture. The highlight of the Autumn show is a giant vegetable competition and you can also witness top chefs in action preparing plot-to-pot dishes in the theatre of cookery.

Plant admirers will also be drawn to Harlow Carr, located just south west of Harrogate. Harrow Carr is one of only four allocated Royal Horticultural Society gardens and the scenery is guaranteed to take your breath away all year round.

If you travel just to the west of Harrogate you will find Nidderdale, an area officially referred to as a place of outstanding natural beauty. If you enjoy rambling, relish stargazing or love getting active then this place is for you and you will get the chance to meet a host of like-minded people along the way.

Popular activities at Nidderdale include fishing and horse-riding but the location is equally as popular for canoeing, caving and climbing.

It’s not just Nidderdale that holds all the wonders of natural beauty either; Harrogate residents can also explore the stunning Forest of Bowland, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Peak District National Park all within an hour and a half’s drive.

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