Spotlight on Harrogate and Scarborough

There are two fascinating towns in North Yorkshire that are embedded in the British culture of seaside and fashionable spa holidays from days gone past.  Today, they are just as vibrant and fascinating as they were then and we thought it would be fun to put our spotlight on them and the Trails there.


Spotlight on Harrogate and Scarborough - Scarborough

The Scarborough Fair Murder Mystery -  is two miles long and suitable for both wheelchairs and pushchairs. The route takes you past two firsts - the Rotunda Museum which was opened in 1829. This unique circular building is one of the world's first purpose-built museums. It was designed by William Smith, known as the father of geology. Talking of round, the Stephen Joseph Theatre was the first theatre in the round in Britain. Great claims to fame. To round off your day, pick up tickets for the play that is on currently which sounds very engaging. Called The National Joke, the synopsis states that home truths emerge as three generations of women gather in the family garden to watch a total solar eclipse.

If you are into art, you will have a couple of treats along the way as the route will take you past the Scarborough Art Gallery which was built in the late 1840s by the Uppleby family and has had a fascinating history. This Italianate villa is one of the finest buildings situated in Scarborough’s beautiful Crescent gardens. Also on route is Woodend which supports a diverse range of local artists and craftspeople. Located in the foyer and main Gallery space, the collections offer a range of original art works and comprise a unique assortment of hand made products including fine art, craft, jewellery, ceramics and textiles. All items are for sale too. 

And if all that isn’t enough, then you can indulge in a spot of retail therapy as the Trail starts and finishes outside the Brunswick Shopping Centre in the town centre and winds around the intriguing side streets either side of the main pedestrianised shopping area. The route also leads you across Valley Bridge for some fantastic sea views.  Ice-cream any one?

Of course, whilst you are in Scarborough, you may fancy doing one or two of the other Trails around the town - in total there are five different Trails heading past different things to do in Scarborough. Just pop Scarborough into the ‘Where Would You Like To Explore’ box on our home page and all will be revealed!


Spotlight on Harrogate and Scarborough - Harrogate

The Harrogate Murder Mystery is also two miles long and suitable for both pushchairs and wheelchair users

This Trail heads past The Royal Baths, first opened in 1896. The original Turkish Baths was only one of a vast number of facilities available, including medicinal waters’ dispensary, hydrotherapy departments, mud baths and steam rooms. There was a full complement of consulting doctors and popular treatments often involved water and electricity and had intriguing names like ‘Plombiere’ douche, Harrogate Hot Water and Galvanism. Sounds a bit scary to us, we’ll stick with just a facial today thanks!

To find out more about England’s premier spa town, head into The Royal Pump Room Museum, when the Trail goes past to visit the strongest sulphur well in Europe. See the old spa treatments for yourself, and find out about peat baths, nasal douches and electric therapies. Take a trip down memory lane and stroll down the display of old-fashioned shops and find out about Harrogate's connection to Russian royalty!

The Mercer Art Gallery is home to Harrogate district's fine art collection which consists of some 2000 works of art, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection includes works by William Powell Frith, Atkinson Grimshaw, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Dame Laura Knight, Alan Davie and many more. The collection is not on permanent display but there is a changing exhibition programme in each of the two gallery spaces which ranges from national touring exhibitions of painting, photography, sculpture and crafts to exhibitions from the permanent collections to displays by local artists. We are excited by an exhibition on Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape opening on 24th June.

As an added bonus, the Trail goes through Valley Gardens - an English Heritage Grade II Listed Garden situated in regal Low Harrogate, adjacent to a popular woodland known as The Pinewoods, and covers 17 acres. It includes beautiful historical buildings such as the Sun Pavilion and Colonnades which sit alongside a wide variety of shrub, flower and herbaceous beds. The gardens also include outdoor games facilities, a children's play area for all ages, a skate park and the Magnesia Well Cafe. Something for everyone!

If you have been to Scarborough or Harrogate on a Treasure Trail recently, let us know if you got diverted into any of these interesting places and things to do. We'd love to hear from you.