The centre of Harrogate in bloom

Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie are among the rich and famous to have been drawn to Harrogate for its sulphurous springs. This wealthy, bustling town is the grand dame of Yorkshire’s Victorian spa towns and its beautiful turkish baths are still going strong. It’s also full of upmarket restaurants and old pubs – Harrogate’s Alexandra pub was used as a filming location in the 2020 feature film Say Your Prayers, as were both Harrogate’s Ascot House Hotel and Cairn Hotel. Harrogate high street’s festive windows were the star of the show in Channel 5’s Harrogate: A Great Yorkshire Christmas.

Today, tourists come from all over the country on spa breaks. Take a walk through Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, once called ‘Bogs Field’, and you can see the spot where the mineral-rich waters were first discovered bubbling up through vents in the ground. The original Royal Pump Room is now a museum about the spa town’s fascinating history as a 19th-century health retreat.