Recently voted the happiest place to live in the UK, Harrogate is booming in the 50th Anniversary year of Harrogate International Festivals’ rich history. Home to Bettys Tea Rooms, the Turkish Baths, and the beautiful Valley Gardens, we are proud of where we live. Back in 1982, the town hosted the Eurovision Song Contest at the newly-opened Harrogate International Centre, following a win the previous year by Bucks Fizz. We are delighted that HIC is now one of the venues used to stage concerts in our annual programme.

Going back even further, crime writer Agatha Christie was discovered in the Old Swan Hotel in 1926, after she mysteriously disappeared from her Surrey Home, and it is fitting that the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is now held at this historic venue.

For the last 50 years, Harrogate International Festivals has been part of the social fabric of the Harrogate District. From our early beginnings in 1966 to the present day, we offer hundreds of events in our wide and varied programme, and millions of opportunities to read about Harrogate through our national partnerships. We are passionate about making the arts accessible to everyone, and keep our love of Harrogate at the heart of everything we do. From literature to crime, history to our pioneering Salon North, there is something to suit every cultural palette.

Looking beyond the Festivals, Harrogate has a Cathedral City, a Spa town, historic market towns, a World Heritage Site and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty all within a few short miles of each other, Harrogate is the perfect destination to host the ‘Home of Festivals’.

Whether you love the great outdoors or prefer shopping and good food, whether your passion is for gardens, history, art, culture or theatre, we have it all and more besides. With so much to enjoy, it is easy to see why the area was voted the happiest place in Britain for three years running!

Slip back to ancient times visiting monuments such as Ripon CathedralFountains Abbey, our Turkish Baths or admire the 18th Century elegance of historic houses such as Newby Hall.

Stroll through the award winning Valley Gardens or RHS Harlow Carr or mooch around the stylish shops in Harrogate or the independents and galleries in the market towns.

Enjoy a pub lunch with stunning views, take tea at our famous Bettys Tea Rooms or enjoy top notch food at one of our many fine restaurants. Festivals, Flower Shows, Fairs and The Great Yorkshire Show pepper the calendar throughout the year so no two weeks are ever the same.

A hugely diverse range of accommodation options means you can stay in anything from five star luxury to a bunk barn. Choose from smart town hotels, rural bed and breakfasts or a pub with rooms – and everything in between.

For those that prefer self-catering there are a host of cottages, serviced apartments, caravan and campsites.  Whatever your budget, whatever your style, there is something just for you.

Getting to Harrogate

Harrogate is easily accessible by road and rail.

The convenient town centre location of many events means it can get busy, so make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey.

Harrogate is well served by East Coast trains including direct services from York and Leeds mainline stations. The railway station (HG1 1TE) is located in the town centre.
Transdev run regular services locally and to nearby town and villages.

National Express Coaches operate services between many major cities and Harrogate bus station (HG1 1TE).

Located just 25 minutes from the centre of Harrogate, Leeds Bradford International Airport, offers daily scheduled flights and welcomes private and commercial flights. Airport amenities include car hire, pub/restaurant, and free wi-fi. The airport (LS19 7TU) is located 12 miles from the town centre.
Harrogate’s new sustainable travel guide. Open Harrogate is a website and smart phone application that will enable you to make sustainable travel choices when you’re travelling to and around Harrogate and will help you to explore the town, discover new experiences and get the most from your visit to Harrogate more.

Somewhere to stay

There are lots of accommodation options when planning your trip to Harrogate. Whether it’s a luxury boutique hotel or you choose to lose yourself in history at Agatha Christie’s choice of hotel, there’s plenty of choice to suit your budget and needs.

We recommend you plan as far in advance as possible – particularly during the busy July festival season and the Great Yorkshire Show. Early planning and booking will ensure you receive the best rates and if you’re booking for the literature festivals, be sure to book through the Festival office for the best rates around.

Take a look at VisitHarrogate.co.uk for more information on where to stay.