Whatever the season, a trip to a beautiful garden is a real tonic. Whether you visit in the spring when buds start to burst into life, summertime when the gardens are fully in bloom, or in the autumn and winter months, when winter bulbs and plants peek their heads through musky leaves and smatterings of frost, there is plenty to inspire both budding gardeners and those with truly green fingers.
Have a peek into some of the glorious gardens in and around the charming town of Harrogate just waiting for a visit.
Harrogate’s most famous garden park, this English Heritage Grade II listed garden is situated in regal Low Harrogate, minutes from the famous Betty's Tea Rooms. Next to the Pinewoods woodlands, it offers 17 acres of wondrous walking among a wide variety of shrub, flower and herbaceous beds. A number of different sections with unique garden styles as well as some beautiful historic buildings such as the Sun Pavilion and colonnades make this park a relaxing and interesting afternoon out, to be followed of course, by a scrumptious cream tea. The gardens are continually being restored and regenerated by the Friends of Valley Gardens and Harrogate Council who have also worked with Harrogate in Bloom to design and plant in public areas to increase biodiversity and create improved habitats for wildlife.
The Valley Gardens have more mineral springs than any other place, so be sure to have a look at Bogs Field where 36 wells have been discovered! A hidden gem in the park is the gothic-style Old Magnesia Well Pump Room. Dating from 1858 when it started to dispense mineral waters to cure various afflictions, it now has a rock, peat and sensory garden open to the public, particularly beautiful when surrounded by a host of golden daffodils.
Opening times: Seven days a week, last entry at dusk. The sensory garden is open from 10am-3.30pm on the first and third Sundays of the month.
Time for tea? Pop into the Magnesia Well Café which sells light refreshments in the spring and summer months.
Accessibility: Most footpaths are suitable for wheelchair users. Disabled toilets.
Are dogs welcome? Yes, this park is very dog-friendly.
Set in a valley on the western edge of Harrogate, this glorious garden is one of four public gardens run by the Royal Horticultural Society. Their most recent addition, it offers 68 acres of beautiful gardens with much to inspire both amateur and experienced gardeners. One of Yorkshire's most innovating gardens, it superbly reflects the Yorkshire landscape with a wide variety of growing landscapes ranging from woodland to wildflower meadows, as well as both still and running waters.
Discover the rhododendrons and Himalayan blue poppies, explore the kitchen garden with its raised vegetable beds and fruit and herb garden, and be thrilled at the Alpine House, a glass structure sitting at the top of the valley providing a valuable setting for many different specimens. The Winter Walk is a popular choice for families, especially when a sprinkling of frost highlights the wonderful textures and colours on offer. Children will love the book-themed trails and playgrounds and the gardens are home to a variety of fun year-round events.
Opening times: Seven days a week. Open from 9.30am-4pm on the 31st October-28th February and 9.30am-6pm on the 1st March-30th October.
Time for tea? The famous Betty's Tea Rooms is perfect for that post-walk treat.
Accessibility: Some footpaths are steep and uneven but much of the garden is suitable for wheelchair users. Disabled toilets.
Are dogs welcome? No, only assistance dogs.
The beautiful garden landscape at Harewood was created by the designer Capability Brown in the 18th century when this impressive Palladian mansion was just at the planning stage. One hundred years later, Sir Charles Barry was then commissioned to add to the design, with the beautiful Terrace Garden being one of the much-admired additions. The Lower Terrace with its herbaceous border of hardy perennials and climbing roses surrounding a magnificent bronze sculpture in a pretty water feature is one of the most glorious spots, while the restored Victorian parterre has panoramic views over acres of parkland. Take a stroll through the mature woodland where you can view the lake as you walk. There are over 100 acres of gardens at Harewood, with plants from all over the world - one day is definitely not enough to see everything on display.
Try to visit in spring, when dazzling displays of tulips flood the borders, swathes of daffodils fill the wooded slopes and colourful hyacinths accompany you down to the lakeside woodlands. Harewood also has a historic house where you can wander amongst the beautiful rooms and collections as well as an adventure playground for little ones when they start to tire. The resident boat, The Capability, sets sail for tours of the lake on weekends and bank holidays as well as certain days during school holidays - a wonderful way to see the sights!
Opening times: See website for details.
Time for tea? An on-site cafe is a perfect place to pick up some snacks and there are picnic areas and an ice cream kiosk for hot sunny days.
Accessibility: Most of the grounds are accessible by wheelchair.
Are dogs welcome? Yes, in the grounds.
If you love all things horticultural, have a read through our Harrogate Flower Show guide to find the pick of the bunch.
Just 3 miles from Harrogate on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, lies the historic Ripley Castle. Open to the public all year round, its stunning location makes it a popular spot for a day spent wandering amongst the best that nature has to offer. The clematis and wisteria-clad walled gardens are a pleasure to visit whatever the time of year, although try to visit in springtime, when the hyacinths burst into colour, bringing with them that unforgettable scent. A range of hothouses are home to an interesting variety of tropical plants, ferns and cacti and the walled kitchen garden with its herbs and rare vegetables is just the place for budding chefs looking for ideas on how to build their own kitchen garden.
If you are up for a walk, explore the grounds where collections of specimen trees from all over the world tower above blankets of daffodils, bluebells and snowdrops. The park walk takes you around the castle's large ornamental lake, across the waterfall and into the renowned deer park. The castle is open to those visitors who want to include a little history in their trip and there is a small children's play area for little ones to have fun in. Don't forget the deer park where thousand-year-old oaks hide a variety of wildlife including rabbits, squirrels, pheasants and woodpeckers behind its gnarly trunks.
Opening times: 10am-4pm winter and 9.30am-5pm summer.
Time for tea? A tea room with a gift shop is the perfect place to catch your breath and is open all year round.
Accessibility: The gardens are on fairly level ground with a good network of stone paths, but the park walks and hothouses are not recommended. Disabled toilets.
Are dogs welcome? Not in the castle grounds and parkland.
A serenely beautiful landscape garden featuring an awe-inspiring Georgian water garden, arguably one of the best in England, Studley will charm you at first sight. A World Heritage Site and managed by The National Trust, the grounds around the 900-year-old abbey are packed with footpaths and trails just waiting for new visitors to admire their beauty.
Follow the abbey down to the scenic water garden, which has been sectioned into little canals, pretty cascades and tranquil moon ponds. Walk out to the sprawling green lawn where statues are peppered around the moon ponds or commit to the climb up to the High Ride path through the Serpentine Tunnel where you will be met with pretty follies and spectacular vistas. Wind along the woodland path where in spring, the area is swathed in a carpet of wildflowers, just as beautiful with a sprinkling of frost. If you have time, walk the circular route through Seven Bridges Valley then along the lime avenue where you will be treated to a magnificent view of Ripon Cathedral.
Open: 10am-4pm - please see website for full details.
Time for tea? A tea room with lakeside views is just the place to enjoy a tasty treat and there is a restaurant that serves venison when in season. Take home some local produce and blooms from the plant centre and shop.
Accessibility: There are some gentle and steep slopes around the estate so best to check your route before.
Are dogs welcome? Yes. The abbey and water gardens are both dog-friendly!
Harrogate Holidays has an excellent portfolio self-catering apartments, townhouses and holiday cottages which offer views overlooking the Stray as well as the gorgeous Valley Gardens. Browse our collection of cottages in and around Harrogate and plan your garden tour today!