Harrogate, is an elegant and historical spa town nestled in the southern flank of North Yorkshire and a mere hop, skip and a jump from the Yorkshire Dales, often simply referred to as “The Dales”. The main town, which was the finish line of last years 1st stage of the French cycling phenomenon, the Tour de France, is littered with stunning buildings and beautiful architecture as well as the spectacular RHS Harlow Carr gardens. Harrogate’s illustrious iron, sulphur and salt rich waters were discovered around 1571 resulting in it becoming a ‘mecca’ as word spread about it being a health treatment in the 17th and 18th centuries. The magnificent and elaborate award winning Turkish baths with terrazzo floors and arabesque painted ceilings, where you can still unwind and spoil yourself in the plunge pools and hot saunas, was established in 1897 and trail blazed as the most advanced hydrotherapy centre in the world of its time! It’s unsurprising, therefore, that this lovely town has been regularly polled as one of the best places to live in the UK and in 2013 voted the happiest and most romantic too!!
A spa town (also called a bathing-place or simply a spa) is a specialised resort town situated around a mineral spa (a developed mineral spring). Patrons visited spas to “take the waters” for their purported health benefits”.
As well as an abundance of other activities, food and drink establishments are plentiful in Harrogate. There are loads of choices to cater for every taste and wallet.
Our favourite deli cum café? Weetons on West Park overlooking The Stray. Originally established as a farm shop in 2005 (2013 saw new ownership), it has been transformed into the über chic and licenced Weetons that’s stocked to the rafters with delicious and tempting locally supplied and freshly prepared premium meats, breads, cakes, wines and on and on the list goes!! Once you’re done shopping, there’s a fab café which is the perfect place to have a natter whilst enjoying a coffee, tasty bites or you can even wash it all down with a cold glass of bubbly!! Weetons also offer an on-line order and delivery service. Well worth a visit. You won’t be disappointed!
Our favourite hotel, bar and restaurant? West Park Hotel by far. Only a few doors away from Weetons, this stylish and luxury boutique hotel is numero uno. The former Victorian Coach House has undergone an 18 month multi-million pound renovation by Provenance Inns, the Yorkshire based inns and hotel group who have a number of awards under their belt, before opening its doors in August 2014. There are 25 seriously cool and luxurious rooms (well deserved Northern Design Winner 2014), which are all aptly named; e.g. West Park Double, Harrogate Superior, Harrogate Stray Suite, Le Grand Depart Suite, the Provenance Penthouse etc. Each has a super king sized bed, under floor heating, wide screen TV, complimentary WIFI, speakers for your own tunes, L’Occitane toiletries and much much more!
We began the multi-million pound refurbishment over 18 months ago and we’re thrilled that we’re now finally ready to open the doors to the public.” Michael Ibbotson, Provenance Inns
If you’re a food and wine lover, the West Park’s restaurant, brasserie and bar is sophisticated and contemporary yet not stuffy and most definitely the place to go. The well stocked bar offers everything including local ales, fine wines, Champagnes and premium spirits. They even have talented Mixologists who have a vast array of ‘must try’ cocktails in their repertoire!
The West Park chefs are busy all day preparing scrumptious breakfasts, afternoon teas and bar or a’ la Carte meals using only the finest fresh quality produce, a lot sourced locally. The food menu covers all bases and is brilliantly complimentary to their extensive and well thought out wine list. There’s a good array of quality wines by the glass that are decently priced too. Importantly, the friendly and knowledgeable staff put just the right amount of attentiveness to each table/customer and great customer service is clearly at the top of their agenda.
What do we recommend? The delicious whole charcoal ‘Bertha’ baked sea bream with a sauce vierge (£18.95) accompanied by Olivier Leflaive Montagny “Bonneveaux” Premier Cru 2011 (£37.95). To finish, the moorish and decadent cheeseboard with wafer thin crackers and ‘chutney cake’ all washed down with a cheeky glass of the rich and intense Cockburn Quinta dos Canaise Port! Fantastique!!!
Provenance Inns also own these other Yorkshire establishments which are also well worth a visit:
The Black Bull (Moulton), The Carpenters Arms (Felixkirk), The Crown and Cushion (Welburn), The Durham Ox (Crayke), The Oak Tree (Helperby) and The Punch Bowl (Marton cum Grafton).