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The Victorian spa town of Harrogate is a spot I’ve been keen to get to for a while now, and I finally visited this summer. I only spent a day in Harrogate, but that’s a good amount of time to explore the town and enjoy some of the best things to do in Harrogate. Here is my small guide of what to see and do in and around Harrogate in a day.

Things to do in Harrogate

Where is Harrogate and How to Get There

Harrogate is in North Yorkshire in England. The town centre lies 13 miles away from the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  Harrogate is easily accessed by road. The A61 connects Harrogate to Leeds and Ripon and the A59 connects Harrogate to York. Harrogate can be reached from the A1(M) via the A661. 

Fun fact: the A1(M) is the longest numbered road in the UK at 410 miles long and is known as the Great North Road. 

Harrogate train and bus station are in the town centre and provide good transport links. Leeds Bradford Airport is 10 miles away.

Car Parking in Harrogate

The best way to find parking in Harrogate town centre is to look on Parkopedia. This will show you where the carparks are and how much they are. There are streets in residential areas around a 5-10 minute walk from the town centre where there are no parking restrictions. 

Map of Harrogate

Here are some of the best attractions in and near Harrogate. The easiest way to find exactly where you need to be when visiting Harrogate is to use the what.3.words app.

Every 3 metre square of the world has been given a unique combination of three words and the what3words app gives you all of these. It’s the ideal way to know where you are or where you’re going in all situations whether that be out exploring, meeting a friend or in an emergency. 

Find out the what.3.words for your current location

Or download the app to your phone


1. Balterzens Café

I always like to find a nice independent café to have coffee in as soon as I arrive in a new town or city. So first on my list of things to do in Harrogate has to be to head to Balterzen’s Café. You’ve got to try a cinnamon bun when you come here. It’s Balterzen’s signature piece and they’ve sold over 100,000 of them!

You can find Balterzens Café at 22 Oxford Street – what.3.words – ///sits.hits.myself

coffee and cinnamon bun at balterzens cafe harrogate

2. Hoxton North

Another great indy coffee shop in Harrogate is Hoxton North, which brands itself as a ‘London inspired neighbourhood restaurant’. They sell coffee, breakfast and brunch.

You can find Hoxton. North at 1A Royal Parade – what.3.words – ///manliness.loving.clear

3. Harrogate Turkish Baths

In its heyday Harrogate was often referred to as ‘the English spa’, attracting hoards of high society over from Europe. The Harrogate Turkish Baths opened in 1897 and continue to offer a range of treatments, hydrotherapy, and steam rooms.

If you don’t fancy a treatment then you can join a guided tour of the Turkish Baths on alternate Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 9am. The 45 minute tour costs £3.80 per person and gives you an insight into the unique history and heritage of the Harrogate Turkish Baths. The tours are subject to availability and you can book a place by contacting them directly.

Harrogate Turkish Baths what.3.words – ///wide.aside.horn

4. Valley Gardens and the Pinewoods

The Valley Gardens Harrogate are a 17-acre English Heritage Grade II listed garden. The gardens are open all year round, 24 hours a day. They’re absolutely beautiful, so wandering around here is a great free thing to do in Harrogate. The impressive Sun Pavillion is a notable sight in the Valley Gardens.

The gardens are known for its mineral springs, containing more than any other known place. The area known as Bogs Field is where 36 different mineral wells were discovered. Valley Gardens is also home to the Japanese Serenity Garden (what.3.words – ///

Next to Valley Gardens you can fine The Pinewoods, a 96-acre area of semi-natural woodland. Pinewoods is ideal for a peaceful afternoon walk away from the the town centre.

bee in flower at valley gardens harrogate

5. Bettys of Harrogate

The most famous of Harrogate’s attractions has to be Betty’s Tea Rooms. The first of these traditional tea rooms opened in Harrogate in 1919. There are only 5 Betty’s tea rooms in the world, all of which are in Yorkshire. Two of these are in Harrogate – one in the town centre on Parliament Street (///tapes.melt.order) and one at RHS Harlow Carr (///flying.levels.salsa)

Betty’s is really the only place to go for afternoon tea in Harrogate, just be prepared to queue!

Bettys of Harrogate afternoon tea in harrogate

6. Space Vintage and Retro

In their own words, Space is ‘1500 sq/ft of vintage and retro loveliness’. This wonderful shop sells men and women’s vintage clothing, watches, retro furniture, homewares and jewellery, music and books.

7. Major Tom Social

Just upstairs from Space is Major Tom Social. This independent café, bar and pizzeria sell local craft bears and stone baked pizza. And they’ve got many more strings to their bow including live music, film nights, a Pacman machine, boardgames, art exhibitions and quiz nights. Check out some of their products!

Major Tom Social and Space Vintage are both found at The Gunnel///legs.blues.slides

8. Brimham Rocks 

Next on my list of things to do in Harrogate is visit Brimham Rocks. These lie 8 mules north west of Harrogate, within the Nidderdale AONB. The site, which spans 454 acres, is known for it’s water and weather eroded rocks which date back 325 million years.

There’s lots of walks to do and areas to explore at Brimham Rocks, and there are cafes serving food, drinks and ice cream. There are some stunning views from the rocks, making it one of the best attractions near Harrogate. The area is owned and maintained by the National Trust so parking is free if you are a member.

Brimham Rocks what.3.words – ///blemishes.mouse.truffles

view from Brimham rocks things to do near harrogate

9. Head over to Knaresborough

Another great thing to do near Harrogate is pop over to Knaresborough. This market and spa town is just 3 miles east of Harrogate, a journey which should only take around 15 minutes in the car. Alternatively you can get a train from Harrogate to Knaresborough which takes 10 minutes. Knaresborough is a beautiful town with a fair few things to see and do. 

Check out my guide to Knaresborough.

View of River Nidd and viaduct Knaresbough things to do near Harrogate

Hopefully this guide of things to do in Harrogate has inspired you to pay a visit, or given you some ideas of how you can spend your time there. Remember, I did all of this in just 1 day in Harrogate!

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