A day trip to Harrogate and Knaresborough
Updated: Jul 26
Why should you visit Harrogate & Knaresborough?
Harrogate is a Victorian spa town in North Yorkshire, England. With more than 80 natural springs, it was once the favoured spa destination of the elite for centuries. As a result, there are a lot of luxurious hotels, restaurants and Turkish baths in Harrogate. You will surely be charmed by the beauty of the town, its Victorian architecture and the beautiful green space that most other towns in England would envy. The town was voted the happiest place to live in England for three consecutive years between 2013 and 2015. So I think it's pretty clear that this is the place you would to see.
Only four miles from Harrogate town centre, Knaresborough is also a spa town that is located on the river Nidd. The town is well known for its Castle and railway viaduct over the river. The beauty of the viaduct would blow your mind away. See my photo below? Are you convinced yet?
Because of their close proximity, I would highly recommend you visit both Harrogate and Knaresborough in a day. Both towns are really small so a day trip is enough for you to cover both. Of course, you could make your trip longer if you like to explore the surrounding areas.
How to get there?
Car is obviously the easiest way to get there. If you don't have access to a car, you can get to Harrogate by train via York or Leeds, which takes just over half an hour. The train between Harrogate and Knaresborough is frequent and takes less than 10 minutes.
There are also frequent buses between York and Harrogate as well as between Leeds and Harrogate if you prefer to take the bus.
What to do ?
1. Take a stroll around Harrogate
Harrogate town stands out with its Victorian architecture. The first thing to do is to have a walk around the town centre and take in the view of historic Victorian stone houses. What I really love about this town is that it's so green. Parks, trees and fields make up so much green space there, which makes it really calming and peaceful.
As mentioned earlier, Harrogate was a destination among the high society for centuries, the vibe that this elegant town gives out is luxury. Our first impression was that this town is really posh. A lot of expensive cars, Porches, Ferrari, Range Rovers, you name it, are driven there. When we ran out of things to do, we played a game ' who could spot more Range Rovers' and within two hours of walking and driving in surrounding areas, we counted about 40 Range Rovers and Land Rovers! You may think it's not a lot, but think about how tiny the town is!
2. Treat yourself to a little luxury at Turkish Baths
Harrogate is a spa town, so it's only right that you make a visit to the Turkish Baths Harrogate and get yourself a Victorian Turkish spa experience . Unfortunately, when we went there, it was closed due to Covid-19, we never got the chance to see what it was like there. However, I didn't feel like missing much as I had been to the Turkish Baths in Budapest, Hungary.
3. Visit Knaresborough town centre and the Castle
Once you are done with Harrogate, hop on the train or bus to Knaresborough. If your drive, there is a lot of cheap parking in the town centre. The first thing to do is to take a walk around the town. It's very small and you can cover everything in less than half an hour.
After that, make your way to the Castle, a ruined fortress on a cliff that overlooks the River Nidd. In 1648, the Castle was largely destroyed at the Parliament's order to dismantle Royalist castles following the civil war between the Monarch and Parliament. You can see remnants of the castle and the ground is now used for leisure by the public.
4. Take a perfect photo of the famous railway viaduct
As Knaresborough Castle is on a cliff by River Nidd, it's the perfect location for you to view the viaduct over the river. This viaduct is the most beautiful viaduct I've ever seen and it adds so much beauty to the scene. From the Castle, you can take in the view and take that postcard-perfect shot of the viaduct. You can then descend from Castle via a staircase to the river and admire the viaduct from the below. There are a number of cafes by the river for you to sit down and enjoy the view of the viaduct from the riverbank.
That should make up a full day of sightseeing and fun for you! Happy travelling!