We spent the first afternoon of our short break in North Yorkshire visiting Harrogate.
A few random facts about the town:
A spa town with elegant architecture, open green spaces, parks and gardens which was once the favourite destination of European society.
It was voted "the happiest place in Great Britain".
It has areas of cobbled streets and lots of independent shops.
Charles Dickens was one of Harrogate's most famous visitors.
The Cyclists Touring Club Great Britain was founded here in 1878.
Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared for 11 days in 1926 and was found in the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate - the story of this event was made into a film called "Agatha" in 1977 and was filmed on location around Harrogate.
In 1571 William Slingsby discovered the Tewit Well and realising the medicinal powers of its waters had it paved and enclosed. Addditional springs were discovered including St John's Well, the Old Sulphur Well and the chalybeate springs. The waters were used in the treatments of ailments such as scurvy, epilepsy, ulcers and sores From the middle of the 17th century more and more people visited to "take the waters" staying in Knaresborough which was a much larger town at the time. Throughout Georgian and Victorian times accommodation and entertainment in Harrogate were developed so people could stay in the town whilst visiting the springs and baths.
The famous "Betty's" tea-room - there was a queue :(
Ulia was not impressed that we missed out on tea and cakes!
Instead we bought cakes from Thomas the Baker
St Peter's Church (1876)
The Turkish Baths and Health Spa were built in 1877 and were very popular in Victorian times - they are still open today.
The Royal Baths (1897) developed into one of the most famous hydrotherapy establishments in the world offering a variety of treatments from sulphur baths to hot mud poultices. The building now houses restaurants.
Hales Bar - Harrogate's oldest pub (18th century) and Grade II listed.
The Royal Pump Room was built in 1842 over the old Sulphur Well which was once called "The Stinking Spaw". There is a very strong smell of sulphur today as you approach the building. It was the strongest Sulphur Well in Europe and over 15,000 people used to visit every summer. D and I visited the museum which is housed in the Pump Room today with displays on Spa History, Egyptology and various temporary exhibitions such as "Men of Fashion", "Exploration and Innovation (jewellery) and "Writing Women : Tools of the Trade". Sorry, no photos of the interior as they weren't allowed.
In 1926, 1,500 glasses of sulphur water were still being served each morning. There was a glass of what I assume was sulphur water on the reception desk - and I had no intention of trying it - the smell was exceedingly offputting!.
Meanwhile B and E went for a quick walk in Valley Gardens - these cover 17 acres and date from the 18th century. They lead up to to RHS Garden Harlow Carr. The gardens contain more mineral springs than anywhere else in the world. A pity we didn't have more time as I would like to have spent some hours in the gardens but the car park ticket was running out.
Byron stayed in the 300 year old Crown Hotel in 1806.
Farrers - makers of Harrogate Toffee since 1840
The last few photos were taken by D with the Canon SX50 HS.
A Ghost sign in Harrogate
I finished knitting this bear just before we went on holiday - he has been christened "Barrington" although I think he may well end up being called "Bear" for short!
Taken from the car window on the journey to the cottage.
We were staying in a hamlet called Draughton, a few miles from Skipton which turned out to be a good location for the places we planned to visit on the holiday. Grange Farmhouse is 300 years old and has been renovated and converted into 3 holiday cottages. Lots of period features remain such as windows, oak beams, fireplaces and we even had a cellar! The cottages overlooked an orchard and I watched a Red Admiral every day feeding on the fallen fruit.
(For more information on Ulia, the Lunar moth and the Matlock Hare books please visit www.matlockthehare.com)