5 unmissable sights in York
By Sukie Chapman
1 July 2015
York is an ancient city brimming with history and beauty, we’ve selected the 5 unmissable sights of the city. Experience them for yourself on UK rail tours.Read more
Harrogate, a delightful and unashamedly traditional English town in the West riding of Yorkshire was not slow to promote its natural and mineral-rich spring waters when spa resorts became fashionable with the affluent classes during the Georgian and Victorian eras. The town's origins can be traced back to the early fourteenth century when two hamlets merged to form a single destination called Harwegate presumed to be derived from the ancient Norse words for 'cairn' and 'street'.
When nobleman and soldier William Slingsby discovered a natural
well-spring in 1571, the waters of which bore comparison to those
of the 'medicinal' springs found in the Belgian town of Spa - after
which all spas are named - Harrogate's reputation as the 'English
Spa' was sealed. Rapid expansion during the seventeenth
century saw increasing numbers of public baths opened to satisfy
the demand for bathing in Harrogate's 'health-giving' waters and by
the late nineteenth century the town was an established and popular
Royal spa resort.
When the fashion for spa resorts waned at the onset of the First World War, Harrogate re-invented itself as a world-class conference venue; a status it proudly retains today. Harrogate, a gateway to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and a welcoming town with a rich cultural, historical and architectural heritage, and abundant attractions offers something to delight every visitor whether in town for business or leisure.
Recalling Harrogate's golden years as one of Britain's foremost
spa resorts, the Royal Pump Room Museum recounts the town's history
and royal connections, and demonstrates some of the more bizarre
spa treatments to which the Victorians submitted themselves.
Visitors can also visit the most sulphurous well in Europe
Beautifully restored, the Royal Baths and Turkish baths, originally opened in 1897 once again offer visitors the chance to relax and unwind in healing waters and avail themselves of a sublime range of spa treatments in the exquisitely mosaic-tiled surroundings of these historic baths.
Bettys has been a Harrogate institution since its establishment in 1919, and enjoying the fare - which includes over 300 breads, cakes and chocolates, as well as 50 different teas and coffees - and hospitality of this delightful and historic corner tea room is practically obligatory for anyone visiting the town.
Harrogate is renowned for its floral displays, and within the seventeen acres of the English Heritage Grade II Listed Valley Gardens, visitors will not only find a spectacular array of varied shrub, flower and herbaceous beds but also beautifully-manicured lawns and many stunning and historic buildings and sculptures including the Sun pavilion and the Cherub Fountain.