Guides

Tips for Making the Most of Your Visit to Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales

Hotel search

Harrogate is a welcoming city destination in its own right, as well as the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, a region of wide open spaces and cozy towns and villages. The city is packed with historic attractions, museums, shops, and places to eat, and enjoys an ethnic diversity that lends spice to local culture and cuisine.

Best time to travel

 

Harrogate is a year-round destination. Winter (November through March) can be cold, wet, and blustery, but a crisp winter day on the Yorkshire moors can be beautiful and invigorating. Parks and gardens are most colorful April through May. The summer months (June through August) attract the most visitors, so accommodations are at a premium. Things get really busy in July during the Harrogate International Festivals and the Great Yorkshire Show, Britain's biggest agricultural event. Autumn, from September through October, can be fine, with the chance of late sunshine. Rainfall occurs in all seasons, so an umbrella is always a must.

Not to miss

 

Must-see spots in and around Harrogate include the Royal Pump Room Museum, window-shopping and café-hopping in the Montpellier Quarter, and a meander around the glorious RHS Garden Harlow Carr. Among other top attractions, not far from town, are Ripon's Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Try to make time for a foray into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and its rolling moors and valleys.

 

Getting around

 

Harrogate is less than a half-hour drive from Leeds-Bradford International Airport (LBA). Frequent express trains from London and most other parts of Britain connect at Leeds or York with local services to Harrogate. Bus operator Harrogate Connect links Harrogate with points throughout the region, including Ripon, Knaresborough, and Leeds. You'll find metered taxis at ranks outside the train station and at other locations in the town centers of Harrogate, Ripon, and Knaresborough.

 

Cuisine

 

Visitors to Harrogate can eat at fine-dining restaurants, cheerful pubs, traditional fish-and-chip shops, and ethnic eateries. South Asian and Chinese restaurants abound, as do pizzerias. Head for the Montpellier Quarter, where you'll find everything from sushi to roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Don't miss the quintessentially English experience of afternoon high tea, which you'll find in tea shops and cafés throughout town.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Tipping is less prevalent in Yorkshire than in other parts of the UK. Taxi drivers appreciate loose change, as do hotel porters. In restaurants with table service, a 10% gratuity is the norm. In pubs, bars, and other establishments where you serve yourself, tipping is not mandatory. Formal attire is not essential in restaurants, though "smart casual" dress is appreciated in more expensive eating places.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 76000
  •  

  • Spoken languages: English. Some hotel staff may speak a little French, Spanish, or German.
  •  

  • Electrical: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, plug type G
  •  

  • Phone calling code: +44 1423
  •  

  • Emergency number: 999