The Talk of the Town

By December 4, 2015Features-Leeds

From eclectic festivals to exquisite eateries, JLife takes a look at how Harrogate continues to stand strong as a haven for all.


For those in search of somewhere truly special to immerse themselves, Harrogate is always a triumphant choice. The destination is especially well-known for its rich history of colourful characters and noteworthy buildings; including the old synagogue, the Harrogate Hebrew Congregation.


Take a stroll through Harrogate’s verdant gardens during the summer or find a cosy retreat sipping on afternoon tea in Betty’s during the colder seasons; the range of possibilities is extensive.


Putting on a Show

The spa town may be renowned for its tranquil, picturesque setting – but it’s also becoming increasingly identified as a hub of bustling activity. Keeping its finger on the pulse of all things cultural, Harrogate has been, particularly in 2015, playing host to a compelling selection of festivals and events.


Towards the end of the year, Harrogate History Festival attracted a surge of readers and writers to The Old Swan who met to discuss their shared passion, from fact through to fiction. Among the special guests making an appearance were HRH Princess Michael of Kent, Lord Melvyn Bragg, and Michael Morpurgo.


Fans of the popular TV programme will also be excited to learn the news that BBC One’s Antique Roadshow recently filmed in the Royal Hall for its 38th series. More than 2,500 people queued up to have their family heirlooms, household treasures, and car boot bargains valued by some of Britain’s leading antiques and fine art specialists. And shortly afterwards, the announcement emerged that the trip to the town led to the discovery of the most valuable item in the show’s history – worth over £1 million! While producers of the programme have remained tight-lipped about the nature of the product, its identity will be revealed when the Antique Roadshow returns to our screens in the spring.


Drawing in another gathering of famous faces to the area was the seventh annual Harrogate Comedy Festival in October. Organised once again by Harrogate Theatre, the two-week feast of humour featured Jimmy Carr, Rob Beckett, Chris Ramsey, and more.


Enlightening Exhibitions

At the heart of Harrogate, and perhaps one of the key reasons why it’s deemed by regular polls the happiest place to live in the UK, is its ability to cater for interests of all kind; regardless of how unique they are.


In line with this, a particular attraction that guaranteed guests a memorable time and encouraged them to dust off their sewing machines was the Knitting and Stitching Show. More than 22,000 people attended the event – which saw around 300 companies exhibit and 160 workshops take place – at the Harrogate International Centre.


Having kicked off in the autumn, an exciting exhibition is also currently running at Harrogate’s Royal Pump Room Museum. Visitors have the chance to explore the lives of some of the great women of the last 450 years – from royalty to writers and rebels – through an evocative showcase of costumes featured in blockbuster films. The costumes on show include outfits worn by Helena Boham Carter in ‘The King’s Speech’ and Madonna in ‘Evita’.


In the New

Always striving for the best and to maintain its reputation as a go-to spot for both residents and out-of-town tourists, Harrogate has a number of new developments up its sleeve.


An investigation into whether a high quality cycling route between Cardale Park and Knaresborough could be created has been commissioned by Harrogate Borough Council. The study will assess the value for money of the proposed scheme, and specialist staff from North Yorkshire’s County Council will carry out the research work. The initial stage is expected to be completed in the spring, and could be a thrilling advancement for budding cyclists inspired by the area’s role in the Tour de France.


Foodies also have much to be excited about considering the news that a raft of new dining establishments are making their way to the town. Yo Sushi, Byron Burger, French brasserie Côte Bistro and Argentinean restaurant CAU will be joining the line-up at the new £10 million development at the former Beales site to complement the Everyman cinema.


As well as the anticipation fuelled by this, another topic of discussion currently receiving interest is the possibility of pedestrianising certain shopping streets. Traffic could potentially be blocked from James Street and Princes Street and Station Square (Victoria Gardens) opposite the station as part of the council’s initiative to curb their cluttered appearance and attract new visitors.


Harrogate Hebrew Congregation

In the heart of Harrogate, on St Mary’s Walk opposite wonderful Betty’s tea-rooms nestles the ‘Welcoming Shul’ – Harrogate Hebrew Congregation (HHC) enjoys relaxed Orthodox services and is proud of its longstanding and illustrious history.


Not resting on its laurels, Harrogate Synagogue is working to grow its independent, friendly and decorous community, drawing congregants from across Yorkshire as well as country members UK-wide.


Among HHC’s secrets is its beautiful cemetery – an oasis of calm and respect for loved ones, with low membership fees covering burial rights that have been maintained again this year.


Vibrant festival events, aliyot for simchas and visitors (if you wish) and a range of visiting ministers make this warm shul a “must-attend” if you are in Yorkshire.


For more information, visit


Happening Harrogate


As a hive of activity, Harrogate is a desirable destination for all of your requirements.


A Fattorini

This festive season is an important milestone for A Fattorini, the oldest jeweller in Harrogate. It now has a newly refurbished and extended showroom with more seating for customers and extra space to display its extensive range of fine jewellery, watches and gifts.


Antonio Fattorini (1797-1860) left his home in Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy to start a jewellery and hardware shop, first in Kirkgate Market, Leeds and then in 1831, an enterprise called the ‘Oriental Lounge’ in Harrogate. 184 years later A Fattorini is still an independent, family business run by Antonio’s great, great grandson. The important core values of service, quality and integrity have not changed, nor has the warm welcome from the experienced and knowledgeable staff.


For those important occasions in life, A Fattorini has a fine collection of diamond and precious gem stone jewellery including PhoenixCut Diamonds and Picchiotti.


The fashion jewellery range includes stunning designs from Ti Sento Milano, Baccarat and Clogau Welsh Gold.


As an officially authorised Rolex retailer, A Fattorini’s bespoke Rolex showroom allows the team to display a large collection of these famous Swiss watches. Customers can also choose from luxury Swiss watch brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Longines, Maurice Lacroix and Oris. It’s also an official retailer for the remarkable one-handed watch collection from MeisterSinger and the horological smart watch from Frederique Constant.



Since its establishment in 2008, AudioVogue has been proudly operating as the region’s only gold certified Control4 dealer.


The select team of creative and passionate home integration specialists offer the finest in bespoke home automation and custom audio-visual solutions for the modern home.


From concept through to completion, the company’s designers, skilled craftsmen, engineers, and programmers work hand-in-hand with your architects, interior designers, builders, and other trades to accomplish your goals.


A full sound demonstration can be carried out in the showroom, including the brand new Sonas range, as well as a home cinema showcase of the new Dolby Atmos.


Beaucare® Medical

Beaucare® Medical’s new division Change Mobility has opened its doors at 158 Kings Road, Harrogate.


The new showroom exhibits a range of high quality mobility and rehabilitation equipment at affordable prices.


The official showroom opening took place on 17th October with the Mayor and Mayoress (Councillor Nigel and Mrs Lynn Simms) cutting the ribbon to the store. Along with local MP Andrew Jones they supported the campaign and enjoyed a thorough walk through the key areas of the shop.


Jonathan Brown, managing director of Beaucare and Change Mobility, said: “This has been a new venture for myself, purchasing the property at auction and overseeing the building works. It has been a labour of love but the tribulations have been worthwhile and we look forward to a successful future.”


Established for 23 years Beaucare® prides itself on its ability to provide knowledgeable sales and aftercare as the premier supplier of medical, nursing, hygiene supplies and equipment in the UK to care homes and the healthcare sector.


Harrogate Stone Solutions

Based in the heart of North Yorkshire, Harrogate Stone Solutions is a state-of-the-art stone manufacturing facility combining tradition with technology.


The bespoke made-to-order products include granite, marble and quartz worktops, vanity units, staircases, shower trays, cladding, fireplaces and hearths. An extensive selection of natural stone tiles is also available, and due to a major investment in the latest CNC technology, the machines are able to produce any dimensional shape that is required.


The company’s wealth of experience can cater for all requirements; from commissioned designs to volume purchases of tiles, and overnight installs to reduce retail impact to scouring the globe for that one piece of natural stone to complete a grand design.


With the latest in the market place material you can be sure your mood board or specified list of materials will be the latest technology and trend and always of the premium standard without paying a premium price.


James Brindley Interiors

The team at James Brindley Interiors’ beautiful new store in Albert Street Harrogate offer a distinctive selection of furnishings and accessories that complement the personal interior design service located in-store. From the moment customers step into the store, they are greeted by a relaxed environment that is the perfect place to gather inspiration for an interior project. James Brindley Interiors offers an extensive collection of wallpaper and flooring, an exclusive range of fabrics and a wide collection of lighting, mirrors, soft furnishings and bespoke pieces. The staff can provide helpful advice in all areas of interior design, from colour decisions and window treatments to renovating an entire house.


The company began life as a fashion fabric business, launched in  1936. Today, it celebrates over 75 years of defining the interiors market.


James Brindley’s proud history is now entering a new chapter, under new ownership and in new premises it promises to continue to delight its customers as it always has.



Head to the RAFT furniture showroom in Harrogate at 55-57 Station Parade if you are looking to update your home in the New Year. They offer a stripped back, organic look with ethically sound furniture that increasingly speaks to the requirements of modern life. Part Nordic-inspired, part modernist, this is a look that is both timeless and easy to live with.


The interior design service is there for those who have a specific project in mind or may simply want expert advice on how to get it right and achieve a low maintenance, fresh and uncluttered interior.


The Harrogate store director and interior designer, Thomas Chapman-Andrews, said: “Our customer has past the throw-away, flimsy flat-pack phase and side-stepped the overbearing swags and sashes of the tired traditionalists. Contemporary, simple, handmade. That’s what we do.”


A partnership formed in June 1991, Travelstar has expanded from a two-man enterprise into an organisation offering a reputable travel service provided by highly experienced, knowledgeable and friendly staff.


Boasting almost 50 years’ experience in the travel industry, Adrian Sless is ideally suited to help corporate travellers select the setting and cost-effective solution best suited to them. But as well as that, the company is also equipped to help leisure travellers plan their trip and make it as memorable as possible – be it a cruise, worldwide trip, or visit to Israel.


As a result of Adrian’s independent position, he is able to offer an unbiased service obtaining the most competitive quotes and itinerary planning.


Photograph by kind permission of Mike Hine