Harrogate is just under 2 hours drive from our home in South East Northumberland. We parked in the odeon car park (postcode - HG1 5LB). Parking was only £3.50 for 5 hours which is extremely reasonable compared to other town centres. The car park was just over the bridge from the town centre so perfectly situated.
We arrived in Harrogate at lunch time so decided to hunt out the world famous Betty's. Betty's is an institution is Yorkshire - I have been lucky enough to visit their flagship store in York many times and could not wait to see what Harrogate had to offer. Betty's is home to the most wonderful tearoom and bakery. It is on the expensive side however definitely worth a visit for a special treat. Their afternoon tea's are in particular to die for. You can find out more via their website - www.bettys.co.uk.
The queue outside Betty's was as always out of the door despite the rain. The front of house staff are amazing though and have some sort of magic powers as the queue goes down quickly and we were seated within 5-10 minutes.
Queuing for Betty's in the rain
I have to say, our lunch really wasn't as expensive as I thought it might be. I enjoyed a chicken and lemon mayonnaise open sandwich with salad plus a glass of champagne (making the most of our child free day) and hubby ordered a french onion quiche plus a pot of dajeeling tea. We shared a patisserie selection between us for dessert. All of our food was scrumptious and certainly worth the £30 we paid. The atmosphere in Betty's is wonderful and I was pleased we were sat right next to the window - the perfect place to people-spot.
A trip to Betty's must include a visit to their shop to purchase some treats to take home. There was soooooo much choice and we spent quite some time deliberating. We ended up with some Betty's teabags and a lemon and lime cake for me to take into work. These were priced at £3.95 each so didn't break the bank - you could easily spend a fortune in here.
Don't I look pleased!
We spent the afternoon browsing the shops - Harrogate is home to some lovely designer brands, upmarket boutiques and lovely department stores. Unfortunately I have champagne tastes on a beer budget - it is nice to window shop though. There are some more traditional high street stores here too and I was surprised to see that Harrogate even has it's own primark.
Window shopping was thirsty work - we had been trying to keep our eyes out for a pub but unusually didn't see any! Thanks to google maps though we were able to find a selection on John Street pretty close to the high street and enjoyed a few drinks in the pitcher and piano.
It was almost time to leave Harrogate, I had booked us into the Yorkshire Meatball Company at 5:30pm after reading lots of fab reviews. I have to say we were not disappointed. The service was nice and friendly and the food really set us up for our journey home. It is the sort of place that feels like you are dining at a friend's house and not a restaurant. It is lots of fun choosing your balls, bed and blanket and who could turn down the free (homemade) yorkshire pudding offered with every meal? If you have plans to visit Harrogate, I would certainly recommend paying these guys a visit. My only regret is that we didn't have any room for their cheesecake balls for dessert. Maybe next time!
I am very pleased to say I have now been to Harrogate. We loved Betty's, The Yorkshire meatball company and browsing the designer stores. It is the perfect place to spend half a day and could easily be combined with a trip to York or a nearby National trust property.