Yorkshire Towns - Harrogate and Knaresborough

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Harrogate The Victorian Spa town of Harrogate is perhaps most famous for its healing waters - which can still be tasted today at the famous Harrogate Royal Pump Room museum, but - beware - the water is reputed to be the strongest Sulfur water in Europe! Harrogate today though, far from being Victorian is perhaps one of the most cosmopolitan towns in Yorkshire.
With chic boutiques, quaint mews streets, some of the best fine dining in Yorkshire sitting alongside beautifully landscaped gardens and open green spaces, Harrogate has something for everyone.
A stroll into the Montpellier Quarter sees antique shops, art galleries, bijou gift shops and Olde Worlde pubs sitting alongside of each other whilst the world famous Betty's Tea Rooms is a short stroll away and not to be missed! Close to the Montpellier Quarter is the beautiful English Heritage Grade II Valley Gardens.
The gardens, together with woodland known locally as "The Pinewoods", cover an area of 17 acres and contain more natural mineral water springs than any other known place.
Summer weekends see band concerts being held in Valley Gardens.
Unique buildings such as the Sun Pavilion and Colonnades are to be found in the gardens together with lots of play areas for children.
Garden lovers visiting Harrogate should not miss the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Harlow Carr.
The gardens, dominated by stone, water and woodlands very much blend into the Yorkshire countryside into which they have been created.
With cleverly created sculptures and amusements for children both young and old sitting alongside stunning landscaped gardens, a gift and bookshop and a Betty's Tea Rooms there is something to suit all ages at Harlow Carr, making it a perfect family day out.
Knaresborough Built in the gorge of the River Nidd, Knaresborough has much to offer tourists and locals alike.
There are numerous secret passageways, cobbled streets and ancient walkways to explore.
Attractions include the ruins of Knaresborough Castle, Mother Shiptons petrifying well, several cave dwellings - including the famous "House in the Rock".
Knaresborough Castle, now a group of ruins is set high on a cliff above the River Nidd.
The views from the Castle grounds are simply breathtaking.
It was built around 1100 by a Norman Baron and in the 1170s was a refuge for Hugh de Moreville and his followers after they assassinated Thomas Beckett.
Now in the possession of the Crown as part of the Duchy of Lancaster, visitors can still see the two storey keep where it is believed Richard II was once imprisoned.
The dungeon and sallyport (secret tunnel cut 80 feet through solid rock to allow access during a siege!) are also open to visitors.
Of the colourful characters known to come from Knaresborough perhaps the most famous are the road builder, Blind Jack, and the Prophetess Mother Shipton.
Mother Shiptons' cave, believed to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in England, is the birthplace of the 15th century prophetess.
A visit to her birthplace takes in a beautiful stroll along the banks of the River Nidd and at the petrifying well one can see articles hanging up which have "turned to stone" as the concentrated limestone has dripped upon them.
These articles include a children's teddy bear and a gentleman's top hat.
The picturesque and cobbled market square has amongst the shops surrounding it what is reputed to be the oldest chemist shop in England, opened in 1720.
It is as if time has stood still when you look at its unusual façade and dated interior - which still has the original fixtures and fittings of the period, making this shop of special interest to tourists, historians and local school children for their homework! Other places of interest in an around Knaresborough include the Courthouse and museum, Conyngham Hall, Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre with nearby Plompton Rocks and Harewood House being only a short drive away.
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