Guide to Harrogate, North Yorkshire

harrogate is a well-known spa town in north yorkshire and is as popular today as it was in its victorian heyday just in fact two towns the original spa was in high harriet and based around the choitwell and saint johnswell they served chalibeat water iron rich spring water and was called the sweet spa by contrast low harrogate served the sulphur waters and was called the stinking spa we’re starting off at high harrogate to look at the development of the town up there post 1571 when the tourett well was found and then go down to the town centre that was developed post 1860 the two routes around harrogate almost intersect and can be made as one it would take around a day to cover by walking out of his shopping center along west part for leeds road roundabout locally called the prince of wales roundabout the high harrogate route is flat and you spend most of your time on the vas parkland called the stray we’re going to start at the tuite well close by the prince of wales roundabout we’re crossing part of a stray here this parkland almost circles the town centre to three sides and covers 200 acres it was created in 1778 to allow visitors to promenade after taking the waters although until 1893 this was shared with cattle but in that year the grazing rights were brought by the town council for almost 12 000 pounds however the council doesn’t own the stray that belongs to the duchy of lancaster today owned by the queen the tuitwell is the whole reason for harrogate the spring here was discovered by william slingsby in 1571 he had already visited the belgian town of spa and noted that the waters he found at high harrogate were very similar it’s called the chewit well after the local name for the bird called the lapwing due to the sound that it makes it was a lapwing that he saw drinking at the spring he had the boggy ground around it paved and the small well house built and it became known as the english spa fountain the dome vertical covers originally covered the sulfur well in low harrogate and moved here in 1842 it dates from 1807 the area then was open moorland and quickly attracted visitors as nursera four miles away which was already popular as a visitor attraction with its petrifying well their clothes turned to stone and to visit the prophetess mother shipton who died in 1551 at the age of 73. unfortunately you can’t drink at the tuite well any longer the pump was removed in 1971 the pedestrian bridge never chewed well goes over a railway cutting bringing the railway to harrogate was problematic as it not only had to cross the stray but they didn’t want the noise and smoke to affect the visitors to the town the first station the brunswick was at the far side of the church well and opened in 1848 but it terminated there in order for a through line to be built today it goes between leeds and york it was put into this cutting and the land of a former station was given in lieu of a stray as by law it has to remain 200 acres the road running alongside the stray here is called york place and is lined with many fine villas and at the pedestrian lights here this was once the junction of the nesbo and skipton roads that’s why the queen’s hotel was first built here in 1687 although it was rebuilt in 1855 we now cross the fine georgian residential district of high harrogate and go around church square to end at what was once the largest hotel here the granby if we continue down the road in front part parade we find some very fine villas as this was a fashionable place to live

in the 18th century it is also a surprise to find a block of flats here a fine villa was demolished for them facing across part parade is christ church this was built in 1831 and then extended by the famous bradford architects lockwood and mawson they built the mill village of soltaire and many buildings in bradford city center and indeed in harrogate 2 as we’ll see the church sits at the west side of church square these properties were built from the 1770s onwards the finer buildings on the east side of the square the inn the empress was originally called the bay horse when it opened in 1778 was rebuilt in the 1870s in fact it was one story higher than it is now as it was lowered in 1965 next door is mansfield house this was originally built as a theatre that opened in july 1788 it was built by the proprietor of the grumby hotel straight across the road it was used by the samuel butler company as part of a touring circuit including scarborough and richmond became a house in 1830 as mentioned the granby hotel is directly across the road it was first built as an inn where visitors could stay and was called the sinking ship it was rebuilt in the 1730s and named the granby in honour of the marquis of granby who stayed here in 1795 that then attracted other wealthy patrons they held balls for wealthy visitors whose names were published in a weekly newspaper and where they were staying it’s now a retirement complex let’s move across the modern roundabout where the skipton nesboro leeds and weatherby roads meet we’re heading straight across onto the wetherby road in 1631 another well saint john’s was found much narrative immunities of high harrogate like maturet well it was first protective of a low roof structure the pump room scene today dates from 1842 are now used as an alteration tailors the pump here was removed in 1973 finally across the road and reached by a private coach road across the stray is wetterburn house that was remodeled in 1786 by the famous york architect john carr the first lord loughborough whose surname was wetterburn from here the path called the slingsby walk takes us back to the chewit well the circular tour of the town centre starts right in the center of the town and takes in all the major sites and more we start in the centre of prospect square at the cenotaph and then go down montpellier hill to the crown roundabout and finish at the royal pump room we’re coming in on the a61 the main road between leeds and ripon that cuts across the center of the town the cenotaph was built in 1921 to honor the 800 men who died from the town it seems an extraordinary number of deaths for such a small town but many of these men would have previously been in service in hotels or at other visitor attractions let’s look around the square from behind the cenotaph where there are some very fine buildings this whole area was laid out in the mid 1860s to link the royal pump room with the railway station this fine curve of shops is prospect crescent moving around we come to some peter’s church at the top of the pedestrianized shopping street

cambridge street the church was built between 1870 and and effectively replaced christchurch as the town’s main church the next arc is cambridge crescent and that was completed in 1868 let’s head now to the pedestrian lights the stone seat here was given by the predecessor to the army foundation college where 1 200 cadets are trained annually and it’s just off the town centre the road down is parliament street we’re becoming part way back up later on betty’s tea rooms is synonymous with harrogate and was opened in 1990 by frederick belmont the cakes are all made in harrogate and the business also includes a tea and coffee blend as tailors distill the height of elegance to come here and be served by stuff in uniform we’re now going to go down montpellier hill it’s named after the fashionable french mediterranean resort it’s hardly surprising them to find bulls courts at the top in an area called pier head that overlooks the montpellier gardens below the hill is on a geological fault that is responsible for springs coming out at the bottom of a hill across the road the stray stretches right into the town centre here there are lots of independent bars art galleries tea rooms and clothes shops this was the first part of low harrogate to develop after the sulphur well the stinking spa was discovered around 1630 off here is montpellier street it’s an antiques quarter and shops dealing in fine home furnishings at the bottom of the hill the most notable shop is the palm court cafe in 1840 it began to sell farrah’s harrogate toffee as after drinking the disgusting tasting sulphur water at the royal pump room which we’re about to see people would suck on this toffee to take away the awful taste of the water the toffee is still made in the area and comes in a distinctive blue and silver tin further around the crown roundabout at the bottom of the ginnel is this unusual small building was built in 1822 as a ticket office for the montpellier bass these stood just beyond and were demolished in 1954 the site is now a car park the vast developer was jose thackeray and they were initially private bathing facilities to the hotel he built the crown in 1835 the first hotel in this area another hotel across the roundabout is the white heart that was built in 1846 adjacent to the crown a long royal parade is the royal pump room this was built in 1842 to replace the dome of 1807 now over the chuwitt well the entrance alexa was added in 1913 and it became a museum in 1953 this world was promoted by eminent doctors as being better for your health than the sweet waters of a tuite well and led to the development of low harrogate inside there’s a history to the spa although you’d be surprised to find that it ever became popular a visitor in 1661 john ray was completely right when he said that it stinks nicely like rotten eggs the original wellheads are now in the basement the scum formed overnight has to be skimmed off before the water can be drunk the waters were then served upstairs at the counter visitors came to harrogate during the season really from may to september the pump room opened at 7 30 am

the water was free but you are charged for being served betty lupton was known as the queen of the wells and served here until her death in 1843 at the age of 83 it was recommended drink a pint or more before breakfast you didn’t want to go far from when you were staying as the water has a laxative effect let’s walk around the building to the rear the latin inscription arc’s celebrities fontibus means citadel famous for its springs the water is still free to drink as at the rear of the pump room is a basin and if you press a button a pump draws the water from the well below be sure to bring a glass stand well back and enjoy press this button and you’ll soon discover what it is that made harrogate famous it’s this stuff it’s water but not any old water this water comes from a well about eight feet below the surface well now it’s uh cloudy and it smells of rotten eggs but if you’ve been living a life of excess in the 18th century and somebody said that drinking this water would cure the worst effects of those excesses well i guess you’d probably have drunk a couple of pints a day as well the first one before breakfast across the road from the royal pump room are the valley gardens this section will be missed out if time is pressing as the route continues on swan road behind the pump room the valley gardens cover 17 acres or seven hectares and were laid out in 1852 you can take a circular walk around taking the lower path at left and returning back on the higher path at right the lower path is called the elgar walk after the world famous classical composer who regularly came to the town between 1912 and 1927 come at any time of year and there’ll be something in flower and there’s lots to do for children and adults as well the plaque shows the location of the wells in the garden originally called boggs field or 36 of them in total there are 88 springs in a two mile radius of the town center the pineapple roofed magnesia cafe was built in 1895 and replaced the old pump room that we’ll see higher up just behind is a model boat pond still well used the cherub fountain dates from 1972 when it was an exhibit at the chelsea flower show in london there’s also a japanese garden completed in 2019 the children’s play area is one of the best in yorkshire and includes a paddling pool the park is not just for young children there’s also a skate park pitch and putt tennis courts and a rather tricky crazy golf course

my do the path left goes to the cabin week in higher equipment beyond that is a world war ii war memorial and the path continues through the pine woods and onto the gardens of harlem car about a 20-minute walk away just by the path are some well heads despite their close proximity all the springs have different tastes the first is a charlie beat well the water being similar to that of a tuite well and the others are mild sulphur waters unfortunately they are all capped now behind facing down the valley gardens is the old magnesia pump room that was built in 1858 now let’s move across the gardens to the sun lounge that was developed in the 1920s as a venue for functions on sundays in the summer you can lie back on the grass and listen to brass bands returning down to the entrance gates you walk along the 600 feet or 183 meter long sun colonnade designed to sit sheltered from the summer sun from the valley gardens and to the rear of the royal pump room is swan road we’re then turning right through crescent gardens and then at parliament street the main road through the town swann road was an important street hales bar on the corner is harrogate’s oldest pub it opened in the mid 17th century and was rebuilt in 1827 and is named after the landlord of 1882 inside it is still lit by gas lamps further along on the right hand side is the mercer art gallery was built in 1805 as a private library and meeting place you had to be a member to come in in 1875 came the town hall and in 1991 the art gallery it’s free to go in and the exhibitions change regularly facing up the road is the old swan that gives the road its name it was built around 1700 but what we mostly see today is dated 1878 when it became a hydro offering water treatments it was here that the famous crime novelist agatha christie disappeared to in 1926 and the mystery wasn’t sold for 11 days the road down the side of the mercer art gallery is victoria bath’s road the large building on the left were built as baths in 1832 and extended in 1891 a whole new front was added in 1931 when it became harrogate council’s offices on the other side of the road is crescent gardens in the center is a glass pavilion that was placed here in 1990 inside is a statue of cupid and psyche by italian sculptor giovanni benzoni and dated 1846 the royal baths across the road the

complex that now includes the tourist information center opened in 1897 as a hydro and where harrogate water was first bottled although there were plans to knock it down it was safer and it continued to provide treatment by the national health service it is now a chinese restaurant but only in part of a complex which at one time was all interconnected in this area are a number of fine hotels the hotel saint george seen on the corner and throw up the ripon road under the hydro the cairn and the huge red brick hotel is the majestic that opened in 1900 with 150 bedrooms straight ahead is the 1300 seat theatre royal which was completed in 1903 and was originally called the curseal but changed its name during world war one next about in an echo to the colonnaded frontage of the spa rooms demolished in 1939 is the exhibition center where trade fairs take place all year round not seen from here but further back is a 2000 seat convention center that opened in 1982 now let’s turn up parliament street we’re walking back at the geological fault to the right is a continuation of the royal baths complex the understated entrance is to the turkish baths they are built to a moorish design where you can first take a dip in the plunge pool before proceeding to one of the three interconnected hot rooms that goes from warm to very hot afterwards you can relax in a frigidaire beauty and body treatments are also available this grand entrance next door is to the winter gardens somewhere to socialize when the weather was poor i guess it still continues as that function as it’s now a pub on the other side of the road and well worth looking to see the architecture is the westminster arcade every town has to have an arcade in the late victorian period inside are a range of independent shops on two levels although it is three stories high we’re now at the top of the gino that leads down to the crown to the right a little higher up is the cenotaph but we’re taking the street ahead cambridge road into the main shopping center then passing the railway station to the library the large methodist chapel that is still in use was built in 1862 the architects were lockwood and mawson we now cross to oxford street this was part of a town centre scheme of 1862 it runs parallel to cambridge street hence it’s the back of those shops whose main entrance is on that street so jesper’s is an old-fashioned harrogate station shop that was founded in 1901 so the red brick building is harrogate

theater it opened in 1900 as the opera house the first theater in the newtown center it keeps its opera connection as it’s still used by the local harrogate gilbert and sullivan society at the end of the street look up at the theater and its fine corner position but it wasn’t the only theater in the area as across the road in what is now an indian restaurant was the empire theatre although it was originally built as a methodist chapel in 1872 let’s turn right up beulah street a mix of all sorts of shops from cafes to charity shops the highlight is a dutch gable coffee shop with a date 1902 we now reach the pedestrianized cambridge street that we’ve walked behind it’s mostly national chain shops on here on the left is the victoria shopping center that was built in 1991 on the site of the town’s victorian indoor market if we turn around we face station parade the communications hub of a town with a bus station and next to it the railway station the walkway we’re going under is the bridge from the shopping center to its car park on the far side of the rail tracks the only part of the station of 1862 that still stands is the former main entrance but is now a pub the rest of the station was demolished in 1965 the arrival of heroic created a building boom it was also a massive boom to the town in 1861 there were around 7 000 visitors a year later when the railway opened over 11 000 people came arriving by train brings you opposite the frontage of a shopping center in station gardens you’ll find a miniature replica of a dome that’s originally over the sulphur well a little further on is a statue of queen victoria protected by a huge spire from its base to the top it’s 45 feet or 40 meters it was unveiled on her golden jubilee in 1887 we’re now at the top of james street where we’ll finish the trip around harrogate let’s continue along station parade to the left at the traffic light just over the railway bridge is the art deco odin cinema of 1936 carrying on station parade we passed the every month cinema that opened in 2017 and opposite is a fine row of shops prince albert rowe with a cast iron and glass canopy running its length it’s home to a range of upmarket retailers we’re going to walk down victoria avenue and turn right at the bottom onto west park to rejoin the main road through the town and end up back at the cenotaph we now kept diagonally across a small library park victoria avenue was purposely laid out as a large boulevard star road in 1860 it was the heart of a model suburb designed to link high harrogate and the emerging town center then being laid out the library was one of the later editions on the street it opened in 1906 and was financed by glasgow born industrious andrew carnegie who made his money from steel in america he gave seven and a half thousand pounds of a total ten thousand pound cost directly across the road at the corner of belford road sunsets paul’s united reform church was completed in 1885 it’s worth walking a little down this side road here you’ll find the rogers arms houses was built for bradford textile manufacturer george rogers in 1868 his bus is in the clock tower there are 12 houses and we’re originally only for women nine to come from bradford and the other three from harrogate and that split still continues although men are now allowed the beehive motif on the building represents industry directly across from the arms houses was an infirmary that was built in 1883 being saint paul’s primary school since 1937 back onto victoria avenue you’ll see how

large some of the houses are one at the bottom left belvedere house is highly ornate it was built in 1861 as a harrogate school of art on the corner opposite is the congregational church designed again by lockwood and mawson in 1862 this area is called west park the stray is across the road this view looks towards trinity methodist church front of which the brunswick railway station stood this is the main road that runs through harrogate the a61 comes south from leeds and heads northwards to ripon was built to give a commanding entrance to the town with gardens in front of the parades of houses built well back from the main road many of these houses were built as lodging houses houses that could be rented for the season in between our hotels such as the alexandria and the most imposing of them all the prospect hotel of 1859 and now called the yorkshire hotel we’re now back where we started but let’s finish with a look down james street all this area was developed post 1860 as the main shopping street this is where the jewelers ogdens is they’ve been in harrogate since 1893 and further down the harrogate department store hoopers continue its use as a department store since it was first built with its fine white terracotta frontage and now we end at the statue of queen victoria and the railway station that’s not all harrogate has to offer there’s the royal horticultural society gardens at harlow carr the great yorkshire showground on wetherby road that’s used all year round ripley castle and nearby is narsborough harrogate remains famous for its spa waters they’re sold nationally in cafes restaurants and supermarkets it also had its rivals in yorkshire ilkley and scarborough were also two spa towns to rival harrogate we have an additional film on harrogate and the neighbouring town of nesboro so be sure to look out for that on our channel we’re always posting new material so please subscribe to keep up to date but thank you for watching and look forward to seeing you again soon you