Known for its splendid Victorian architecture, huge parkland gardens and its health spas, Harrogate has plenty to offer for a great break in the country. While it lies just 20 miles from York, Harrogate and its surrounding area have enough attractions to make it an ideal holiday destination in its own right.
Among the highlights here are the famous Pump Rooms, which continue to function today just as they did when they pumped water to the Royal Baths from the mid-ninteenth-century.
Also well worth a visit are the parkland areas of Harlow Carr Gardens and Valley Gardens, both of which are open all year round and have a wealth of fascinating plants and wildlife. Between enjoying the gardens, you may want to visit the famous Betty's tea shop for a spot of lunch.
Many of the attractions, however, lie just outside Harrogate itself. For example, Knaresborough Castle -- situated on the York Road, three miles out of town - dates back to the 12th century and sits gloriously on the banks of the river. A little further out (15 miles) is the World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Built in the 12th century, the abbey grounds include a water mill and an exquisite Elizabethan mansion. The grounds of Studley Royal, meanwhile, are home to more than 500 deer.
Further highlights include Harewood House (7 miles out of town), Skipton Castle (20 miles) and the Settle to Carlisle Railway line, which starts at Settle (30 miles from Harrogate) and is regarded as one of the most spectacular lines in the country.