Harrogate Area Guide
Harrogate Director Tim Waring on living in this beautiful North Yorkshire spa town
Maybe there's something in the water that makes Harrogate residents the happiest in the country according to many recent surveys.
Or it could be something to do with the vibrant town centre, glorious countryside and superb local facilities. It's no surprise then that this beautiful spa town is regularly voted one of the best places to live in the UK.
Harrogate offers a wide array of shops: stylish retail outlets and Hoopers department store line James Street, while glossy independent boutiques, private art galleries and antique shops create a unique shopping experience around Montpellier and Parliament Street. There are numerous food outlets, such as Weetons and Fodder which sell high quality, locally sourced produce and a number of major supermarkets.
Harrogate is a thriving business centre in its own right but also offers fast, easy access by road or rail to Yorkshire's other major business destinations and the North East. Leeds and York also benefit from high speed rail connections to London, and Leeds Bradford International Airport is just 10 miles away.
Families in Harrogate have a wonderful range of schools to consider at both primary and secondary levels in the state and independent sectors. North Yorkshire County Council education authority ranks highly in the UK for GCSE and A-level results. Comprehensive schools Harrogate Grammar, St Aidan's High School and St John Fisher High School all achieve GCSE results significantly above the national average (according to 2013 league tables). In the independent sector, Ashville College and Harrogate Ladies' College are both highly regarded. Springwater School in Starbeck provides education for children with severe or profound learning difficulties and has been ranked 'outstanding' by Ofsted (2011 Inspection report www.ofsted.com).
What we love about Harrogate
One of the most distinctive features of Harrogate is the beautiful green space, known as The Stray. The Stray is Harrogate's green lung, covering more than 200 acres, it wraps around the old town centre and is protected by an Act of Parliament. It is open for all residents and visitors to enjoy. And enjoy it they do: jogging, strolling, picnicking, flying kites, walking dogs and generally relaxing in this refreshing open space.
For those fortunate to live in Harrogate, Bettys is the internationally famous "local corner shop", albeit a very grand one located on the corner of Parliament Street and the quaint Montpellier quarter. The beautiful Edwardian building offers the finest baked goods, chocolates, tea and coffee.
Passion for cycling in Harrogate was demonstrated by the enthusiastic reception extended to the 2014 Tour de France peloton as it whizzed into the town. Harrogate provides cyclists with easy access to some of the UK's most stunning scenery. However, it is not all long distance and lycra; one of our favourite cycling routes is the Beryl Burton Way, a 2.8 km off-road track that links Harrogate with Knaresborough. It's great not only for leisure cyclists but also for anyone commuting by bike between these two towns.