Happenin’ Harrogate

By December 1, 2016Features-Leeds

JLife wraps up warmly and ventures into the picturesque town of Harrogate this winter season…

At this time of year, Harrogate comes alive. This spa town just up the A61 is festooned with festive decoration and the spirit of goodwill and celebration. As its inhabitants prepare for a season of events and special occasions, JLife visits the North Yorkshire hotspot to see what’s happening…

Best of the Rest
This year, Secret Escapes, the luxury hotel and holiday travel company, named Harrogate as one of its top holiday destinations in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. An array of high street shops and independent outlets have always lined the promenades of this Georgian town, but exciting new additions like Seasalt Cornwall, the Cornish fashion company, has joined Waterstones and Yorkshire Bank on the historic James Street. Joining this exciting addition this year was the new restaurant and cinema complex on Albert Street, which saw the likes of Yo! Sushi and Côte Brasserie accompany Everyman, the boutique chain’s latest branch in the town centre.


It’s well known that Harrogate is an ancient spa site, but did you know that the last remaining, fully working Turkish Bath remains in Harrogate, dating back to the 19th century? Set within Victorian surroundings, the Turkish Baths & Health Spa is the ultimate opportunity to take the waters. The venue’s vaults, ornately decorated ceilings, vibrant glazed brickwork, and elaborate mosaic and marble terrazzo floors make this a truly distinctive indulgence.

Connoisseur Crawl
Ginfestival.com, the UK’s original and biggest gin festival, is returning to Harrogate International Centre (HIC) this December utilising the large Hall C. This public event will welcome everyone, from gin novices to connoisseurs, to sample over a 100 different varieties of gin. Attendees can also learn about the history of Britain’s favourite spirit, meet industry experts and enjoy live music. Gin Festival Harrogate will take place on 9th and 10th December.

Whole Lotta History
If you’re heading a little further out of the town, why not visit RHS Harlow Carr this winter? From 7th January, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) garden is hosting an exhibition called ‘A Garden Behind Barbed Wire’, in which the RHS’s Lindley Library reveals a remarkable piece of First World War history from its archives: the untold story of an intrepid group of British men who set up a horticultural society in the Ruhleben internment camp in Germany and helped feed their fellow prisoners throughout the war.

For another taste of history, the 108 Fine Art Gallery plans to uncover the life and works of Leeds-born artist, Joash Woodrow. As featured in the last issue of JLife Leeds, Joash’s work remained largely unseen for most of his life, until the first exhibition of his work was held at the Harrogate gallery in 2002. The New Year heralds a massive undertaking by the gallery and its proprietor, Andrew Stewart to delve into the Woodrow archives for major exhibition of the artwork. At this time, there is a permanent, changing exhibition of approximately 10 to 15 drawings and paintings displayed, as well as a comprehensive digital archive of Joash’s work available to view at the gallery.    At the Royal Pump Room Museum, step back in time this December at a one-off exhibition showcasing costumes from screen portrayals of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. In the year of the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth, the Royal Pump Room Museum will be transformed to showcase costumes from Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.