Outdoor centres and scenic views in the Harrogate area

The natural beauty of North Yorkshire and the Harrogate area have been attracting visitors for 1000s of years. Here are a few ideas of places to visit in the Harrogate area, why not take the family or an elderly friend for a fantastic trip out.

RHS Harlow Carr Garden Centre

Owned and maintained by the Royal Horticultural Society, Harlow Carr presents you with seasonally changing sprawling gardens, suitable for all ages. First opened in 1950, the botanical gardens have since expanded to house a wide variety of rare plants suitable for the northern climate and tropical conditions. The site now offers a variety of gardens, including: a scented, sub tropicana, kitchen and rock garden, not to mention an onsite Betty’s tearoom! Every season of the year creates a colourful and scenic environment for the visitor, and there are always interesting events occurring. As well as gardens, Harlow Carr also has a library, teaching facility, plant centre store and venue hire, so there is something for everyone’s needs.

The gardens are open from Monday to Sunday from 9.30am-6pm every week. Wheelchair and mobility scooter access is possible; however, some paths use stones and pebbles, and some are sloping downhill. Harlow Carr offers wheelchair hire, and entry to carers is free. Accessible WCs and lifts (where necessary) have been installed, to attend to everyone’s personal requirements.

Parking for the site is free all year-round and is easily accessible when following the address details below.

For more information on current news, events, and prices, use the link below to access the RHS website: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr

When driving, the following address should be used to locate the main parking site: RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1QB.

Ripon Spa Gardens

Ripon contains many historical sights, one of the most beautiful being the Spa Gardens. It presents you with a Victorian bandstand, Sun Parlour café, a mini golf course, tennis courts and well-kept flower beds (which glow perfectly in the Spring sunshine). The gardens border the exquisite Grade II listed Edwardian Spa Baths building, which until recently has always been a community bath. Entry to the gardens is free, with summer being the best time to visit, to hear a local brass band, whilst enjoying tea and cake in the sun.

Parking nearby can be busy, but Church Lane is the most accessible parking location. Disabled access WCs are also available in the gardens. It is recommended to attach this visit with a longer day of visiting the famous Ripon Cathedral, local museums, and buildings, to appreciate this historic city fully.  Our Ripon clients love to visit the spa gardens because it is very accessible, and offers comfortable café seating, especially in the heart of the Spring season.

The full address can be found here, but there is no dedicated ‘onsite’ parking for the gardens: Park Street, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 2AX.

More information on the gardens facilities and events can be found on the local council website here: https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/visit-parks-woodlands/spa-gardens-ripon

National Trust – Brimham Rocks

Heading into the Yorkshire Dales, Brimham Rocks in Nidderdale offers the most panoramic and scenic views in the local area. Owned and maintained by National Trust, it is a vast space of habitats for the local wildlife. The sites unique rock formations were caused by over 320 million years of geological movement and weather, which carved the spectacles we see today. As a site of ‘special scientific interest’, it is a favourite location for walkers, researchers, and scientists, who all gaze in awe at the dominating rock formations. The Brimham Rocks team are also dedicated to moorland conservation, which sustains the local wildlife, such as birds, deer, and cattle. Special events are also offered to the public at Brimham Rocks, such as geocaching, adventure days, talks and guided walks.

Lots of parking is available on the site but there is  a daily charge . Larger vehicles, such as coaches must be booked in advance. Accessible toilets, a café and refreshment are all available at Brimham Rocks, and wheelchair/scooter hire is also an option, as most paths are pebbled and maintained regularly. Brimham Rocks is a popular location for our Care Professionals and their families (and Dogs!) to enjoy time off, especially in the glorious summer weather.

Brimham Rocks is located rather rurally, and its altitude only helps its famous panoramic views. The full address can be found here, and there is official signposting for car parking: Brimham Moor Road, Summerbridge, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 4DW. Brimham Rocks is approximately 11 miles from Harrogate off the B6165.

More information about Brimham Rocks can be found on the official National Trust website here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brimham-rocks

Newby Hall & Gardens

Constructed in the 1690s, Newby Hall has expanded and adapted to tastes throughout the centuries and is currently decorated in the finest 18th century interiors. The Hall contains exquisite, detailed rooms, such as a tapestry room, library, billiards room, and statue gallery, all of which can be viewed on a guided tour. The early 1920s saw the creation of most of the Hall’s spectacular gardens, and it represents a ‘garden for all seasons’ with a variety of herbaceous plants and flowers, as well as delightful water features. Newby Hall grounds incorporates a blend of eras and cultures, such as Victorian and Italian stonework into its beautiful grounds, which is appreciated by around 140,000 people annually.

As well as the hall and gardens, a restaurant, miniature railway, adventure playground and shops are present on site. Our Care Professionals and their families love to visit, and indeed take more local (Thirsk) clients to the Hall for a leisurely day out, and delicious lunch. Newby Hall’s boat trips, tractor festival, dolls exhibition and bear house are always popular with children and their families.

Pre-booked tickets are available  to book online. The season starts on the 1st April and is open from 11.00am to 5.30pm. The Hall is very accommodating for our clients and disabled persons, where mobility scooters can be hired for free, and accessible WCs are available throughout the site. Plenty of parking space is available, with closer dedicated blue badge holders’ spaces.

The full address for Newby Hall and Gardens can be found here and is easily accessible from the A1: Newby Hall & Gardens, Estate Office, Newby Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5AE (If following SAT NAV please use HG4 5AJ).

More information about the Hall can be found on their helpful and informative website: https://www.newbyhall.com/

Thorpe Perrow – Arboretum & Bird of Prey Centre

Located in Bedale, Thorpe Perrow is a favourite amongst dog walkers, bird watchers and local families. Its vast acres of woodland take on magnificent colour changes and is especially stunning at the height of Autumn. The arboretum flourished in the 1930s and is now considered one of the best historic arboreta in the UK. The grounds host a delightful café, bird of prey and mammal centre, and a variety of national plant collections (including 48 ‘champion’ trees). Wild foraging, afternoon teas, yoga and beekeeping events occur frequently, and the Arboretum loves to adapt its events to fit all four seasons. Their Bird of Prey centre carry out flight displays daily and are a great chance to learn about rare but magnificent species.

Online tickets are cheaper than on the day admission (other prices for groups and families are also available on their website). The Thorpe Perrow site is open daily from 10am to 4pm, and onsite parking is available.

Thorpe Perrow is a rural site but can be easily accessed from the Kings Keld Bank Road. More information can be found here: sat nav postcode DL8 2PS. From Bedale: follow signposts towards Masham (B6268), ignore signs for Thorp Perrow along Firby Road (also signposted Leisure Centre), and continue for approx. 1 mile. Turn left following signs for Snape and the entrance to the Arboretum is approx. 1/4 mile on the left.

Further information can be found on Thorpe Perrow’s website here: https://www.thorpperrow.com/

Pateley Bridge Village

When visiting Brimham Rocks, be sure to venture into the heart of Nidderdale, to the quaint unchanged village of Pateley Bridge. It offers a historic high street with original store fronts and is the picturesque definition of the traditional Yorkshire Dales. Our clients love to visit this thriving village to purchase a local Weatherhead’s sausage roll, pub lunch or ice cream in the summer heat. The spacious local gardens have a playground, bandstand and café which are free to use all day. The river Nidd flows through this village from the neighbouring Gouthwaite reservoir and begins many scenic walks within the Dales.

Pateley Bridge is also home to ‘the oldest sweet shop in the world’ (est. 1827) where every sweet tooth can be satisfied. The Nidderdale Museum in the village is open from 1.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday weekly, where fascinating local history can be learnt. Pateley Bridge also offers a wide range of pubs, tearooms, takeaways, and bakeries that support the local economy by using locally farmed produce. Pateley Bridge can act as a base before venturing  into the magnificent Yorkshire Dales.

Pateley Bridge can be found through the postcode HG3 5PJ, and the village has two main parking locations, one in the high street, and a larger site next to the river Nidd, both are pay and display.

More information for the history and events at Pateley Bridge can be found on this website: https://www.yorkshire.com/places/yorkshire-dales/pateley-bridge