Tourist City Guide to Harrogate
Harrogate is a North Yorkshire town, with a population of 85,000 people. The town became a fashionable spa town in the sixteenth century, attracting masses of tourism and industry, and many still visit today for the spa baths and historical sights. Other than monuments and museums set up to explore and educate about the town's industrial history, there are numerous castles and historical battlegrounds that make interesting historical visits.
Harrogate is home to 33 restaurants recommended by The Good Restaurant Guide, and an array of bistros, wine bars and upmarket pubs. There are also a variety of nightclubs and club nights, making for a busy nightlife in the town centre. Shopping facilities are plentiful, with much of them inside the town and not located in out-of-the-way shopping malls. Much of the town centre is old and elegant, with much to see and do.
The history of Harrogate dates back to the Roman period, when farming hamlets were located on the site. A farming and textile industry was flourishing by the twelfth century, but the spring that was discovered in the sixteenth century triggered the area's development into a fashionable, thriving spa town. More wells were discovered later, and the original still stands in the town centre.
The Royal Pump Room Museum contains exhibits exploring the area's history as a spa town, and comprises a reproduced sixteenth century town for visitors to wander around. Knaresborough is home to a medieval castle museum, and the cave once lived in by a twelfth century hermit and 'holy man'.
Mercer Art Gallery is home to more than 2000 nineteenth and twentieth century pieces of fine art, photography, sculpture and craft works, and comprises two separate galleries. The gallery regularly hosts temporary exhibitions and art events.
The Gasgoine Gallery is an impressive private collection, including works by Picasso and Salvador Dali, and a large selection of glass works. New exhibitions are displayed every three works and all items are for sale.
The SMART Gallery exhibits and sells original art, sculptures and ceramics; and McTague Gallery trades in watercolours, oil paintings, twentieth-century prints, and genre and decorative prints.
Harrogate is home to a civic theatre, numerous performance spaces and the most successful youth theatre in the country.
The Harrogate Theatre is a Grade II listed building, opened in 1900, and comprising two auditoria. Performances include large-scale touring productions, one-night entertainments and 5 of its own in-house productions; and there are films shown on Monday evenings.
Harrogate International Centre is an office complex, conferencing facility, hotel, exhibition hall and theatre, hosting a range of events and entertainment, including concerts, drama and festivals, with seating for more than 2000 people.
The Courtyard Restaurant serves contemporary British cuisine, and holds an AA rosette. The restaurant is located in former livery stables, and offers a choice of indoor and outdoor seating. Sasso is a fine dining Italian restaurant, and another of the 33 restaurants currently recommended by Good Restaurant Guide.
Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Restaurant serves classic and unique seafood dishes in lavish surroundings, with a wine list comprising wines and champagnes hand picked from French vineyards.
Harrogate’s branch of Wing Wah, serving traditional Far Eastern cuisine, has two themed levels; the bright and contemporary 'Modern Tranquil Room' on the ground, and the oriental-influenced 'Traditional Blossom Room' upstairs.
The Lounge is the bar in the Carringtons bar, restaurant and nightclub complex, and is stylish and upmarket, but relaxed and comfortable. There is a wide drinks selection and live evening entertainment.
The William and Victoria Restaurant and Wine Bar has a bar downstairs, serving drinks from an extensive wine list, in traditional, wood fixtured surroundings.
Montpellier Parade is home to Blues Bar, a pub and live blues music venue, Hedley's Wine and Food Bar, Montpellier and The Slug and Lettuce.
Harrogate and Ripon CAMRA recommend numerous pubs in the area, and voted The Spite Inn 'Pub of the Season' in Winter 2006.
The nightclub in Carringtons bar, restaurant and nightclub complex presents 70s and 80s chart music four nights a week, and attracts a young professional clientele. The club hosts the popular 'Heaven and Hell' on Wednesdays, and has a capacity of 600 people.
Club XS is an indie/alternative club, open three nights a week and offering indie rock, 'cheese', metal, punk and emo. The club has a capacity of 300 people.
Ministry of Sound Minibar is separated into four themed zones, with unusual and stylish d?r and state of the art sound and lighting equipment. The club is open from Thursday to Saturday, and licensed until 4am.
Harrogate town centre is home to more than 20 antiques retailers, and all the major high street and department stores located within a short walk of each other on Cambridge Street and Parliament Street.
Close by is The Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre, comprising 4 levels and more than 30 stores. Retailers currently based in the units include Bay Trading, La Senza and WHSmith; there are also a number of cafes and coffee bars.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park and Shopping Village is located in Ripon, and is home to eight stores and a restaurant.
The Hydro is one of four leisure centres, and comprises 3 pools, a fitness centre, a cr?e and a caf?There is also a gym with state of the art fitness equipment. Knaresborough Pool is a popular choice for families, with its hot water bubble pool, water flume and large shallow section.
The National Centre for Combat Martial Arts is a training gym and teaching centre, offering a choice of group and individual tuition. Martial arts range from Kung Fu, Kickboxing, Tai Chi, Chi Kung and Yoga.
Ripon Sailing Club offers racing, tuition and relaxing breaks on its 20-acre lake, and boats are available for private hire on weekends.
The Harrogate Golf Club was established in the nineteenth century and offers a challenging game of golf on its 6250-yard course. Oakdale is slightly larger, at 6456-yards.
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