According to a study produced by property website, Rightmove, Harrogate in North Yorkshire is the ‘happiest place to live in Britain’. This fabulous accolade has been achieved by the famous spa town three years in a row, which is no mean feat.
The report looked into how happy people were when it came to the décor in their home, the space they had, whether they felt like they’d got a good deal on their property (as seen from Bridgfords), how friendly people were and how many interesting things there were to do in their area. Harrogate came out on top, with many of the study’s participants saying they felt proud to live there and were happy with the safety and upkeep of the area.
Harrogate boasts a beautiful Victorian heritage, bustling tea rooms and grand hotels, which help to create the vibrant, welcoming atmosphere residents and visitors feel. Speaking about the report, the leader of Harrogate Borough Council, Richard Cooper, said that ‘Harrogate is a fantastic part of the world’. He also went on to say that the area has great leisure opportunities and entertainment, a vast array of cafes and restaurants, fantastic shopping facilities and stunning scenery.
So, just what is there to do in Harrogate?
Harrogate is renowned for being home to one of the most prestigious tearooms in the world, Bettys. Since 1919, they’ve been offering scrumptious cakes in a graceful setting for many visitors of Harrogate, with elegant waitresses and waiters who are smartly dressed and offer an impeccable service. You will have to queue when you visit Bettys, but that’s all part and parcel of the experience of this historic tearoom.
The Royal Pump Room Museum
As one of the original places to go and detox, the history of Harrogate’s healthy background can be witnessed at the Royal Pump Room Museum. Here you’ll find photographs and artefacts that depict the history of this spa town.
Many years ago, people ventured to Harrogate to embark on a detox programme, which involved drinking three glasses of water that came from the underground – it smelt foul and was sulphurous. Those who dare can still try it to this day! Even though there haven’t been any proven medical benefits for this, many people seemed to get better once they’d undergone this rigorous exercise and diet regime.
The Turkish baths in Harrogate are another fundamental part of this town’s history. Initially built in 1899, they were recently restored thanks to funding from the National Lottery in 2004. Perfect for a cold winters evening, visitors will enjoy the three spa rooms and eucalyptus-infused sauna, whilst admiring the ornate ceilings, glazed tiles and Islamic arches.
And, for the bravest amongst you, you may want to try the cold bath!
Ripley Castle and Gardens
Located just 3 miles from Harrogate, Ripley Castle is a country house that was built in the 14th century. Steeped in history, this stunning attraction boasts walled gardens, lakes, a deer walk and access to this sensational ancient building. There are guided tours available, which will take you through the house, showcasing all of the various artefacts and family treasures that have been accumulated over the years. As it has been in the same family for twenty-six generations, there is plenty to see at Ripley Castle, including fine chandeliers, china, paintings and even a
Priest’s Secret Hiding Place!
There are also specialist tours for children, as well as a delicatessen, shop and art gallery.
If you’re looking for some outdoor fun for you and the kids, Brimham Rocks is a must-see. This fantastic landmark is full of rocks that have taken on wonderful formations which have been created by rain, wind and ice over many years.
It’s perfect for walkers, climbers or families and offers magnificent views, making it the perfect place for a family picnic or just for enjoying some fresh air. With panoramic views across this location, you’ll soon see why people living in this area are some of the happiest in the country!
Harrogate has plenty to offer people of all ages, with other famous attractions including the Royal Hall Theatre, Ripon Cathedral, Knaresborough Castle and Mother Shipton’s Cave. Teamed with the bustling streets that are lined with boutique shops, restaurants and cafes, and Harrogate is the perfect location for a weekend break.
What’s more, with many hotels now being located within its historic Victorian buildings, including Ascot House, you can immerse yourself in the culture and heritage of this fantastic location.
Andrew Alexander has lived, and worked, from several different UK locations over the years, both North and South. An experienced estate agent he writes about property and some of the top UK locations.
By Andrew Alexander