Make the most of your stay in Harrogate

We’ve done the homework for you, so you can go out and make the most of your stay

Lightwater Valley Theme Park

Are you a constant thrill-seeker? If you crave adventure, discovery and the opportunity to put your adrenaline limits to the test, then Lightwater Valley Theme Park is your number one must-do destination. Whatever your age, height or heart-racing limits, Lightwater Valley has something for you.

For the one- to five-year olds, there is the popular Angry Birds Activity Park (complete with characters and slingshots), the teacups and pirate ship. For the five- to nine-year olds (who are over 1m) you can ride the Wild Water Rapids, or plummet through the Falls of Terror, or climb aboard The Ladybird. But for the adults (at least 1.2m) the stakes are high: at an impressive one and a half miles long, 'The Ultimate' is the longest rollercoaster in Europe. That’s just name-dropping a few of the rides on offer, there’s a lot more than that. But it’s not all rides and rollercoasters, Lightwater has its own falconry, with over 50 breeds of bird to admire, plus the odd ferret and snake.

If you visit over Halloween, you’ll be around for Frightwater, and they also host regular fireworks displays. They’re open on select days April-November, so have a look here before your visit. 

You can save 30% by booking online (at least 1 day before) and check out their special offers on food and souvenirs here

RHS Harlow Garden Carr

Everything’s bloomin’ wonderful at RHS Harlow Garden Carr. Covering 68 acres, you can walk through woodland, follow the length of the beck, pass through meadows and take inspiration as you cast your eye over the many botanical highlights on offer throughout the seasons. Harlow Carr is one of four, beautifully laid out, public gardens in the country, courtesy of the Royal Horticultural Society. It’s not just a place for you to enjoy the charms of nature, it’s also designed with your inspiration in mind – with a dose of advice and plant shop on hand.

The Gardens Through Time are a series of intimate landscaped spaces, using green fashions and techniques from the past 200 years. Whereas the Kitchen Garden offers not just flowers, but vegetables, fruits and herbs planted together in clay soil in windy conditions to show you the magical possibilities of the right methods in a tricky environment. Then there is the Streamside Garden, with its plethora of moisture-seekers, and the Alpine House – a glass structure that offers both protection and air circulation that enables alpines to flourish.

The gardens are open every day from 9.30am to 4pm (November to February) and 9.30am to 6pm (March to October), costing £3.95 for kids, £7.95 for adults and £21.50 for a family (2 adults, 2 kids). And check out their events to see what may be coming up around your visit.

Enter postcode ‘HG3 1UE’ into your Sat Nav, or you can catch the bus x6a from Harrogate Bus Station. The nearest train station is Harrogate, but they say the one and a half mile walk will take you an hour, without breaking a sweat.

Birmingham Rocks

Fancy the great outdoors with some great big (and rather impressively balanced) rocks thrown in for good measure? Brimham Rocks is the northern ‘Stonehenge’, open 365 days a year for your viewing pleasure. Located 11 miles from Harrogate, on Brimham Moor (near Pateley Bridge) Brimham Rocks are getting on a bit, having been dated at 320 million years old. They’re Millstone Grit Sandstone – made from a combination of grit and sand, mixed with feldspar and quartz. They say that these formations, which are scattered across an area of roughly 50 acres, came about from erosion by wind, water and ice. With no plants covering them for protection, the softer layers soon wore down and somehow, magically, formed the arrangements we see today.

With names such as ‘Sphinx’, ‘Watchdog’, ‘Camel’, ‘Turtle’ and the ‘Dancing Bear’ the rocks really have captured our imaginations. Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising is the ‘Idol Rock’ which has several large rocks layered on top of one another, balancing on a tiny rock at the bottom. It seems impossible.

The views are far reaching – on a clear day you can see out as far as York –and the walks are well worth the trip. The Nidderdale Way is a nine-mile circuit which they say will take you roughly four hours. The land is owned by the National Trust and, though the rocks are free to visit, there is a charge for the car park of £5 for up to four hours and £6 for all day. Accessible between 8am and dusk, there is also a shop, café and visitors centre open 11am to 5pm, but you can check all opening hours before you rock up. 

Just pop ‘HG3 4DW’ into your Sat Nav.

Turkish Baths & Spa

Looking to dip your toe in the water? The Turkish Baths offer (freezing) cold, tepid, warm and steaming hot solutions that will wash your worries away. Opened in 1897 as the Royal Baths, it was the ‘most-advanced centre for hydrotherapy in the world’. People flocked from all over the world, including Tsar Nicholas II and Charles Dickens, to lap up the mineral waters on offer. Today, the Turkish Baths offer you the Victorian experience with a modern (£1m) facelift. The original Moorish design, with its distinctive Middle-Eastern arches, can be enjoyed as you pick your hot room, enter the steam room, quickly remove yourself from the plunge pool or kick back in the rest area. It’s a place to shut out the world and enjoy some much-needed ‘me’ time. 

Entry price starts from £15, and there are varying times when the Baths are open for ladies only, or when both men and women can enjoy the benefits. Best to check out their timetable and price list here. They also have various events taking place throughout the year.

Or fancy delving into the history of these healing waters? Then do not pass go and head straight to the Royal Pump Room Museum (open 10.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 2-5pm on Sundays), on the site of a former water pump. Here, you’ll see the sulphur wells (they have the highest levels of sulphur in Europe) and find out why the Victorians placed such value on these waters. Entrance is £2.30 for children and £3.95 for adults, or £11 for a family (2 adults, 3 children) and includes various exhibits. 


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