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Top Attractions and Experiences in and Around Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales

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Historic buildings in Harrogate and in neighbouring towns and villages include medieval castles and cathedrals, stately homes, and ruined abbeys. Nearby, you'll find landscaped parks and gardens in the centre of town and on Harrogate's outskirts. For wilder spaces, big skies, and a blast of the freshest air in England, make for the Yorkshire Dales.

Historic buildings in Harrogate


The Royal Pump Room Museum, in the centre of town, is Harrogate's keystone attraction. Well-off Victorians flocked to this 8-sided building to quaff glasses of sulfurous mineral water. You can admire more 19th-century architecture at the Royal Hall before treating yourself to a 21st-century spa experience amid the steamy splendor of the Harrogate Turkish Baths and Health Spa. Therapies in this mock-Oriental treatment centre range from reiki to reflexology.


Harrogate's green spaces


If you love well-kept green spaces, you'll be right at home in and around Harrogate. A few minutes' walk from the Royal Hall, the town's Valley Gardens is an urban oasis of colourful floral displays and lawns. A 20-minute stroll from the centre of Harrogate brings you to one of Britain's most spectacular gardens, RHS Garden Harlow Carr. Here, you can wander around a vast expanse of woodland, flowerbeds, streams, and shrubberies that will take you at least half a day to explore.


  • RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate HG3 1QB; Tel: +44 845 265 8070; Website: RHS Garden Harlow Carr

  • Valley Gardens, Royal Parade, Harrogate HG1 2SZ; Tel: +44 1723 500600; Website: Valley Gardens


Studley Royal and Ripon


The ruin of 12th-century Fountains Abbey can't fail to impress. Wrecked when Henry VIII dissolved England's monasteries and abbeys in the 16th century, it's surrounded by Studley Royal, a magnificent water garden, where statues and replicas of Greek and Roman temples stand among woods, lakes, and lawns. A few steps from the Abbey is Fountains Hall, a 17th-century manor house. Travel 4 miles into Ripon to admire the fine medieval masonry of serene Ripon Cathedral.



Knaresborough's cave and castle


It's a short walk across the High Bridge from the centre of Knaresborough to the wooded Long Walk along the River Nidd to Mother Shipton's Cave. In the 16th century, this damp grotto was the home of a woman who, like Nostradamus, claimed prophetic powers. Some say she accurately predicted the Great Fire of London, though she also claimed the world would end in 1881. Back in town, you can find out about Knaresborough's past at Knaresborough Castle and Museum.


  • Mother Shipton's Cave, Prophecy Lodge, High Bridge, Knaresborough, Harrogate HG5 8DD; Tel: +44 1423 864600; Website: Mother Shipton's Cave

  • Knaresborough Castle and Museum, Castle Yard, Knaresborough, Harrogate HG5 2AS; Tel: +44 1423 556188; Website: Knaresborough Castle and Museum


Yorkshire Dales


The Yorkshire Dales National Park begins only around half an hour from Harrogate. Here, you can explore miles of hiking trails, cycle tracks, and bridle paths amid valleys, woods, moorland, and meadows. You'll find postcard-pretty villages along the way, where you can stop for refreshment, and you can learn all about the region's people and history at the Dales Countryside Museum.