There’s lots of reasons to visit Harrogate this winter with Christmas markets, festive food and family-friendly events amongst the many attractions.
You’ll find twinkly Christmas lights and an array of festive window displays, making Harrogate the perfect destination for a short break or holiday to really get you in the yuletide spirit.
Here are some of our top reasons to visit Harrogate during November and December as well as a selection of cottages for Christmas.
Harrogate Christmas Market
The popular Harrogate Christmas Market comes to the town’s famous Montpellier Quarter from the 14th - 17th November 2019. The four-day festive extravaganza will be held on The Stray and there will be around 200 stalls selling a variety of artisan Yorkshire food, handmade gifts and Christmas decorations.
Visitors can stop for refreshments in a food and drink tent and there will also be a large gift marquee with an assortment of locally made crafts.
Children will love the selection of funfair rides and can also visit Santa in his grotto. There’s also live musical entertainment provided by local buskers.
When: 14th to 17th November
Harrogate Christmas shopping
Harrogate and shopping go hand in hand. It's a great place to find some perfect Christmas treats as you’ll find lots of independent shops, particularly around the Montpellier Quarter and Cold Bath Road so you can pick up some presents that are a little bit different.
There are also big names like Jo Malone and The White Company plus designer department store, Hoopers, so you can shop ‘til you drop.
Other festive shopping options in and around Harrogate include:
Country Living Christmas Fair
The Country Living Christmas Fair takes place at the Harrogate Convention Centre and includes shopping stalls, craft workshops and expert speakers live on stage covering everything from how to make the perfect macaron to how to effortlessly decorate your home for Christmas.
When: 5th - 8th December
Knaresborough Christmas Market
Less than 5 miles from Harrogate is the charming market town of Knaresborough which plays host to a Christmas market during the first weekend of December. You can stock up on festive goodies and locally sourced produce while enjoying some live entertainment.
When: 7th - 8th December
Ripley Christmas Fair
The pretty village of Ripley lies around 4 miles west of Harrogate in the beautiful Nidderdale countryside. The annual Christmas fair takes place in the historic Ripley Castle and Gardens and it’s a great chance to purchase some presents in a stunning setting with more than 150 stalls to choose from.
When: 21st November
Family-friendly Christmas events
Keep the kids entertained with this range of family-friendly Christmas events taking place in and around Harrogate.
The Christmas Adventure Stockeld Park
The magical Stockeld Park is just a short drive from Harrogate and the popular Enchanted Forest at this family-friendly attraction is transformed into a winter wonderland with animated installations, special music and thousands of twinkling lights.
When: 14th November - 6th January
Mother Shipton’s Cave
Children can enter a magical grotto at Mother Shipton’s Cave, write a letter to Santa and help make some traditional wooden toys at this Knaresborough attraction.
When: 30th November - 24th December
Glow at RHS Harlow Carr
Harrogate’s RHS gardens are specially illuminated for Christmas with a light trail around the trees and shrubs that takes in the Winter Walk, Streamside, Alpine House and the lake.
When: Glow takes place from 4.30pm - 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from the 21st November - 28th December.
Christmas food and drink
Christmas is a time to indulge with sweet treats, fine food, festive cocktails and a few (hundred...or thousand) extra calories. After all, isn’t working it off what January is all about? Here are some of the top food and drink choices to seek out in Harrogate!
A visit to Harrogate isn’t complete without calling in at the ubiquitous Betty's for some tasty treats. You’ll find delicious Christmas cakes, puddings and biscuits and you can try a special festive afternoon tea in the iconic Harrogate tea room.
For a Christmas cocktail, it’s hard to beat Slingsby Gin which is distilled using Harrogate spring water and locally grown plants and botanicals. Their Spirit of Harrogate shop is based in the Montpellier Quarter where you can sample their different gin varieties including Old Tom, Yorkshire Rhubarb and Yorkshire Gooseberry.
Weetons is a Harrogate deli, butcher and purveyor of fine food that looks out over The Stray - the ideal spot to stock up on festive food from a range of local suppliers. Weetons also produces a range of Christmas hampers with a selection of goodies to make your festive feast extra special.
Clock Tower at Rudding Park
Harrogate is filled with great restaurants covering all cuisine types and budgets but we think for a Christmas treat, it’s hard to beat Clock Tower at Rudding Park. This 2 AA Rosette restaurant is set under a dramatic pink chandelier and offers festive lunch and dinner menus throughout December.
Where to stay for Christmas in Harrogate
If all this has whetted your appetite for a festive break to Harrogate, take a look at this selection of holiday cottages and town centre apartments that are just right for a Christmas getaway.
St Marys Apartment, sleeps 2 people
A first-floor apartment that’s close to Harrogate’s popular Cold Bath Road with the town centre attractions just a short walk away.
Forest View at Moorside Farmhouse, sleeps 2 people and 1 dog
This rural retreat has a stunning countryside setting that’s just a short drive from Harrogate. The best of both worlds!
Number Nine Regent Parade, sleeps 4 people and 2 dogs
A dog-friendly ground-floor apartment with 200 acres of the Stray parkland on the doorstep. One of the two bedrooms can be made up as a twin which is ideal for families.
Nidd Apartment, sleeps 4 people
Located in Nidd’s former village hall, this two-bedroom split level apartment is just 5 miles from Harrogate and has a spacious shared garden with children’s play area.
For larger groups:
The Copse, sleeps 8 people
A contemporary and stylish property that’s set in the grounds of a historic manor house near Harrogate with two living rooms, a large sociable kitchen space and four en-suite bedrooms.
Chapel of Rock, sleeps 10 people and 2 dogs
This impressive holiday home has been converted from a former chapel, with a rock and roll theme throughout the grand rooms. It’s a one-of-a-kind holiday home for a memorable getaway.