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Harrogate is a handsome and historic spa town in North Yorkshire. Its delicately designed urban floral gardens attract visitors from all over the country seeking a quaint piece of merry old England. The famous Betty’s Tea Rooms are another top attraction It is no wonder that this is the town that inspired author James Herriot to write his famous ‘All creatures great and small’, series of books that reference a tranquil Yorkshire lifestyle.
Who to Book With
Harrogate is used to receiving plenty of annual visitors, so there are many places to rent from. These include the top firms of Budget and Enterprise. It is best to book online in advance if you want the widest choice of vehicles and the best deal.
Best Time to go
Harrogate receives floods of visitors to the annual Flower Show, held around April. Public holidays during the spring and summer also get busy. During the rest of the year, however, there are plenty of places to stay for a good price.
Need to Know Essentials
To pick up your rental car, you must provide the following documents:
- An EU-wide driving license or valid International Driving Permit
- A picture ID, such as your passport, alongside your licence
- Details of the credit card used to make your booking
- A printed confirmation of your booking, if possible
Harrogate is well situated in the country of North Yorkshire, bordered by a triangle of major roads: the A59 to the east (to York), the A61 to the west (to Leeds) and the A658 to the south (to Bradford). The A59 also goes past the Yorkshire Dales and then onto Blackburn. All of these roads experience bad congestion during peak times, so are best avoided during the morning and evening rush hours.
Driving around Harrogate town centre off-peak is mostly a delight, although you are bounded by a clockwise one-way system. The A61 goes past the main train station, then loops round, passing the floral gardens and the Prince of Wales Roundabout. There are several car parks in Harrogate, including one either side of the train station. Fees are about £1.30 for an hour or £13 for the maximum 24-hour period.
Harrogate is well connected to Leeds ad York, from which it is easy to reach the rest of the country. Train travel from London is cheap, if booked in advance. Local buses make short journeys around town quick and affordable, and there are also several taxi firms operating in and around the town, although these are less cost effective than self-drive options.
Harrogate has a direct rail link to Leeds and York, taking just 30 or 40 minutes, respectively. From York, there is a speedy service to London, taking two hours, 45 minutes in total. You can check the National Rail Enquiries website to plan a journey to anywhere in the country.
Harrogate has a fleet of traditional Black Cabs operating around the town. They call be hailed from the street or hired from one of several taxi ranks in the town centre. They run on a meter, but for a cheaper fare, you can arrange a fixed rate with a mini-cab. Call Central Radio Cabs on 01423 50 50 50 for a quote.
There are several useful bus routes operating in and around Harrogate, operated by Transdev. The 36 and 770 go as far as Leeds. You can plan your journey online using the Transport Direct website.
Harrogate is an extremely pretty place, with manicured flower gardens that attract swathes of visitors each year. Yet, one of the great benefits of Harrogate is that it is so close to the rest of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. From here, you can get to both of England’s finest national parks in under an hour or the historic city of York in just 40 minutes.
The Yorkshire Dales - These are one of Britain’s most scenic and largest national parks, creating an unforgettable daytrip. From Harrogate, take the A59 west and then turn north onto the B6160 at Skipton to cut right through the centre of the park. Return on the A684 and A6108 via Leyburn for a full day out.
The North York Moors - This is another visually impressive national park of the British Isles. Cross over the A1(M) to Thirsk and then head northeast, returning on the clockwise route via Pickering and Malton. You can stop off at the coastal town of Whitby to break your journey up.
York - The pretty town of York, with its historic architecture from all through the ages, is just a 40-minute drive away from Harrogate. Take the A59 east and then leave your car close to the main sights at a car park off the inner ring road.