If you’re visiting Harrogate for the first time with your family, firstly, a big friendly Harrogate Mumbler welcome – and secondly – good choice!
Harrogate is such a lovely town and it’s totally geared up for families! If doesn’t matter if you’re looking for something to do in Harrogate with a toddler or your baby, or if you’re looking for activities in Harrogate for older children or your whole family, there is plenty to do in this beautiful town.
So for a first time visitor to Harrogate with children, here are our top 5 family friendly things to do.
Play equipment at RHS Garden Harlow Carr
1. Harlow Carr
A great choice for all the family is a trip to RHS Garden Harlow Carr. It covers over 68 acres with a wide variety of different landscapes – from woodlands to wildflower meadows. A particular favourite for my own family is the Hedgehog friendly garden! There are plenty of play areas for children of all ages – and lots of open spaces to let the little ones run off some of that endless energy!
Harlow Carr has an extensive list of family friendly events going on throughout the year – this summer (2018) families can embark of a Jurassic journey around the gardens – with the opportunity for children to dress up as explorers and take part in a fossil dig. Every school holidays RHS Garden Harlow Carr has a theme, with new activities and events to keep the kids entertained.
If you get hungry – fear not – Bettys have it covered! With Bettys Café, Tea Room and shop all and a kiosk & ice cream hut on site you’re spoilt for choice, whether it’s a full sit down meal, a light lunch or an ice cream.
I’ve written about this place in pretty much every blog I’ve done so far – it’s probably my favourite place in Harrogate! And rightly so – it’s beautiful, has the best play area I’ve ever been to and we are guaranteed to see my daughters two favourite things – dogs and ducks!
It’s pretty central so a must if visiting Harrogate with your family. For the children you have the award winning play area – its seriously amazing – tiny slides for the really Mini-Mumblers and for the bigger ones there’s zip slide and huge climbing frames. There’s also a paddling pool open all summer, as well as a pitch & putt crazy golf course, skate park and tennis courts.
Food wise – if the weather is on your side, take a picnic – there’s plenty of picnic tables or lush gardens to lay your picnic blanket down and of course there’s plenty of ducks to feed those crusts to! There’s also Magnesia Well Tea Rooms in the Valley Gardens – ideal for hot drinks & snacks. The Mumblers’ favourite ice-cream shop (Vanillis) is actually just outside the park (about 100m from the kids playpark) on Cold Bath Road. You can read about our review of the delicious homemade gelato here
The very best food locally can be found on the neighbouring Cold Bath Road. The road runs parallel to the Valley Gardens and is an absolute treasure trove of shops, cafes, restaurants & bars. It’s Mumblers favourite neighbourhood in Harrogate and you can read more about it in our blog here “The 5 wonders of Cold Bath Road”
For music lovers, band concerts take place in the bandstand in the Valley Gardens on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. Valley Gardens is a great place for families to visit – all year round!
Valley Gardens, Valley Drive, Harrogate HG1 2SZ
The famous Bettys Tearooms on Parliament Street Harrogate
3. Bettys Tea Rooms
Bettys is a Harrogate institution and a must for visitors! As already mentioned – there’s a Bettys at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, but the main tearooms are located in the centre of town on Parliament Street. Be warned – it’s so popular you’ll probably have to queue for a table. But it’s so worth the wait!
There’s an excellent children’s menu for your little rascals, and for the adults there’s Bettys signature Fat Rascals to enjoy! (The Fat Rascal is kind of a cross between a scone & a rock cake. Utterly delicious!) If you’re really wanting the full experience, then an afternoon tea is the only way to go.
Bettys is great place for all the family for breakfast, lunch, or a mid afternoon cake stop. If you don’t fancy queueing for a table, head for the right hand side through the door and you can choose from a huge selection of delicious sweet and savoury snacks and drinks to take away. There are also lots of treats & biscuits that make an ideal gift for your friends and family at home. Nothing quite says “I’ve been to Harrogate” like a gift from Bettys!
Mumbler highly recommends the Fat Rascal, the chocolate/ orange version of the Fat Rascal for the kids and also the fondant fancies. Oh and we also love the Florentines. And pretty much everything else in there!
Take your takeaway goodies and if the sun is shining, get yourself a spot on Montpellier Hill just outside Bettys. It’s a lovely location and perfect for watching the world go by.
Hanging out at Goose!
Goose is an innovative play space that focuses on exploratory and imaginative play. It’s located on Hornbeam Park (about 200m from Hornbeam Railway Station) Goose’s reading pods, big blue blocks, nets and slides are all a big hit with kids of all ages. I go here regularly with my 1 year old daughter and 8-year-old nephew – and both of them have a ball!
The Goose dining room is located in the middle of all the play areas, so you’re little ones are never out of sight! The food here is delicious, with a huge selection of yummy cakes! I’ve also heard this is the place to go if you want to make slime – with plenty slime making classes going on throughout the summer holidays!
Goose, The Lenz, Hornbeam Park, HG2 8RE
Make sure you visit Mother Shipton’s Cave if you’re in Knaresborough
5. Mother Shipton’s Cave
Mother Shipton’s is located in nearby Knaresborough and is England’s oldest tourist attraction. Mother Shipton was England’s most famous Prophetess, predicting amongst other things The Great Fire of London in 1666.
She was born in 1488, in a cave next to the river Nidd – now affectionately known as Mother Shipton’s Cave. There’s the cave itself to look round and the eerie Petrifying Well. There’s also a brilliant adventure playground. The museum and shop are also pretty impressive. Whilst you’re in Knaresborough, why not hire a rowing boat! The picturesque river runs along side Mother Shipton’s and the view of the railway bridge from the river is spectacular.
Mother Shipton, High Bridge, Knaresborough, HG5 8DD