How To Visit Harrogate on a Budget

The pump room museum in harrogate

Harrogate is known as a well-to-do northern town but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune whilst visiting. Yes of course you can hit the designer shops, have lunch at Bettys or visit one of the many stately homes nearby….but all that comes at a cost. If you want to experience Harrogate but without blowing the bank, I’ve put together some of my top tips to explore the town without blowing the bank.

Discover the art and culture scene of Harrogate

There are so many art galleries and antique shops in and around Harrogate town centre which are all free to enter, it only gets expensive when you fall in love with something!

Check out: The Mercer Gallery on Swan Road, Whitewall Galleries and Castle Fine Arts both on James Street and Sutcliffe Galleries in the Montpellier Quarter.

Mercer Art Gallery

Artist Rooms Martin Creed – 1 April to 2 July 2023

Harrogate is also well know for being a hub for antiques and curiosities so you should definitely head to the Montpellier Quarter. It’s quite possibly one the prettiest areas of the town as well as being home to a plethora of independent shops and an antique market. A short walk up the hill towards west park you will find 27 West Park which is a huge retail unit which hosts over 70 dealers from across the UK, offering a delightful array of fine antiques, luxury vintage items, collectables, and statement pieces.

If you prefer something a bit more modern then a visit to Space or Foxy Antiques should be on your agenda.

Where to Eat and Drink in Harrogate

Blues bar denied permission to keep tables on the Stray - The Stray Ferret

If you are in Harrogate on a weekend in the summer, promise me you will walk around the corner from Bettys and discover the Blues Bar. When the weather is nice you can get a take out drink, sit in the gardens opposite and listen through the open windows to one of their fantastic live bands. It’s something my other half and I love to do when the weather is nice, the atmosphere is so friendly, there are people from all walks of life and the music is always second to none.

The Harrogate Tea Rooms is upstairs in Westminster Arcade, half way down Parliament Street. Westminster arcade is one of my Hidden Gems of Harrogate housing amazing indie shops as well as the tea rooms. It’s the perfect place to try a cream tea or treat yourselves to a decadent afternoon tea.

My next choice for places to eat in Harrogate on a budget may not be to everyone’s taste because it’s a Wetherspoons, but hear me out….

Postcard The Winter Gardens, Harrogate 1905 | eBay

First, lets call it The Winter Gardens which sounds much nicer. Harrogate’s former Royal Baths included the Winter Gardens – built so that visitors could relax and stroll in any weather. Its name lives on in this Wetherspoon pub. During the 1920s, people could relax here, amid potted palms, listening to music from a grand piano. In the 1930s, the Municipal Orchestra played every morning throughout the year, with free admission for the patients of the baths. So this building is one of the main parts of Harrogate’s history so in my opinion it’s definitely worth a visit.

And finally how about 5 activities all under £5pp!!

I’m going to let you into a little secret; there are 4 fantastic activities to do in Harrogate all under £5 each which is just incredible, and all of them show off some of the most stunning places in Yorkshire. Just beware they are not on every day and differ depending on the seasons but it’s well worth doing some research to see if you can accommodate them into your visit.

Harrogate Street Art Trail

Newly published in May 2023 to celebrate our blog turning 1 is our Harrogate Street Art Trail. Head to the post now to download the map and follow it through the town to see the best of Harrogate’s street art.

Entry to The Pump Rooms museum is only £3.50 for adults. Izzy and I recently went and although its only small it houses all sorts of interesting artefacts and you’ll learn all about how Harrogate became a spa town and what remedies they would use to cure all ills at the height of the town’s popularity. Something not to be missed is the tale of the local farmer who declined to join Howard Carters expedition to Egypt as he was too busy with the farm…something which I’m sure he might have regret. Unfortunately they don’t have any of the spa water out for you to drink anymore but there is a tap on the outside of the building which you could take a sip from if you dare.

On certain mid-week morning, the famous Turkish Baths offer a guided tour for only £3.80 per person. I would always recommend a visit to the baths as part of a Harrogate Stay but if you don’t fancy it or haven’t got the time to fit it in then this is a perfect way to see inside the baths and learn a little of the history.

For a suggested donation of only £3 you can attend one of the Royal Hall open days. Check out the 2023 dates here.

I took the tour recently and loved it, so entertaining and informative. All the staff have such a passion for sharing information about the building and its history.

The Royal Hall is a Grade II* listed Edwardian performance hall and theatre located just on the outskirts of Harrogate Town Centre.

With its 950-seat capacity, spectacular décor and large versatile floor space, the Royal Hall provides a breath-taking setting. Over 100-years-old, the Royal Hall was re-opened by Prince Charles in 2008 following an eight million pound restoration. 

And last but not least is Harry and his Free Walking Tour of Harrogate! For around an hour and a half take a leisurely stroll around Harrogate and learn even more about it’s history including what roll it played in the Second World War. Meet Harry outside Betty’s for the start of the tour on selected dates. Click here to head to his website.

So that’s it from me for now, I hope you’ve found some of these hints and tips helpful and as always I’d love to hear about your visit and what you got up to in the comments!