Why Harrogate needs to be on your radar for a pampering weekend

Despite the temptation to dive headfirst into the crisp, white sheets on my bed during my mini-break, I resisted.

No amount of child-related tiredness could save either me, or my equally knackered sister Gemma, from fully sampling the Harrogate high life.

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Our accommodation for the weekend in this glorious spa town was the newly opened Country Living St George Hotel, where even checking in comes complete with homemade lemonade and biscuits.

Combining charming period features with modern luxury (including designer bathroom tiles by Ted Baker), the hotel echoes Harrogate itself – a traditional spa town with a jaw-dropping 88 springs and wells sitting comfortably aside modern gastropubs and funky bars.

Following a pep-me-up coffee from our in-room machine (life with twin babies and a four-year-old takes its toll), it was time to go out.

Lovely St George Hotel

We began with pre-dinner cocktails at the Foundry Project on The Ginnel in the Montpellier Quarter.

I was in my element, and when handed a menu I plumped for the lamb and aubergine pizza with halloumi fries. Strictly to mop up the Pineapple Tini, you understand.

The service was excellent and we got some hints as to where we should head next.

And so to Mojo, where we enjoyed a couple of drinks and complimentary chilli popcorn, before strolling back to the hotel, buoyed by the lure of that comfy bed.

After a restorative night’s sleep and a lie-in (worth the trip for that alone), breakfast at the St George was tasty and relaxed, with homemade jams from Masham in the Yorkshire Dales.

I had the full English, perfect for a slightly sore head.

Harrogate’s Valley Gardens

It was a beautiful sunny day, so we walked to Harrogate’s famous Valley Gardens, home to 36 of those wells, and Bog’s Field, described as “a wonder of the natural world where a greater number of mineral springs come to the surface than at any other known place on Earth”.

Water from these wells led to the town’s emergence as Britain’s premier health resort for travellers in the 1900s.

Betty’s, the original Art Deco cafe

Of course, no trip to Harrogate is complete without visiting the original Art Deco café Bettys, where we rewarded ourselves with a Lady Betty Afternoon Tea in the Imperial Room.

A pianist tickled the ivories as we devoured savoury and sweet treats, including cocktails in a dinky little glass, and my favourite, a rose scone with jam and clotted cream.

Kathryn and Gemma indulge

Cream teas at Betty’s

After a meander through the Montpellier Quarter and the antiques market, we went to the Royal Pump Room Museum, built in 1842.

Guests would visit to drink its sulphur water as the “Harrogate cure”, to alleviate gout and lumbago.

Dinner at the hotel was a sumptuous feast – I chose a light and crisp crab salad to go with a Sauvignon Blanc, and then melt-in-the-mouth lamb with mustard mash and seasonal greens.

I left on the Monday feeling relaxed and refreshed for, ooh, about an hour after I got back to the chaos at home – but it was totally worth it.

Wildlife & Safari Travel Show

Harrogate is hosting the inaugural Wildlife & Safari Travel Show at the Convention Centre on September 29-30. It will put visitors in contact with travel companies offering inspiring ideas for bucket-list trips to discover the wonders of the natural world. Advance daily tickets cost £8 at wildlifesafarishow.com.

The Sunday Mirror is a media partner and readers can get advance day tickets for £6. Use code TMG at checkout. Advance weekend tickets £10; use code Mirror at checkout.

Book a break in Harrogate

WHERE TO STAY: B&B at the Country Living St George Hotel from £129. For visits during the Safari Show there is a deal for 15% off. See countrylivinghotels.com and use the offer code CLCONEX for September 28/29/30. B&B from £94.

TOP TIP: Book to avoid the queues at Bettys.

TOURIST INFO: For more information head to visitharrogate.co.uk


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