Originally two hamlets, High Harrogate & Low Harrogate, following the discovery of the first mineral spring in 1571, it quickly merged into one and by 1596 was dubbed “The English Spa”.
One of the main features of the town is The Stray. Two hundred acres of protected parkland that can never be reduced in size and is under protection by Royal Charter through The Enclosure Act for the Forest of Knaresborough of 1660.
By 1830, Harrogate had many Hotels and the Spa wells were a great attraction to visitors from all over the world, including Queen Victoria and the Royal family. In 1897 The Royal Baths was opened to offer Spa and Hydrotherapy Treatments and today you can still visit the remaining Turkish Baths. To add to the attraction, the Harrogate Theatre was opened as The Grand Opera House in 1901 and the Kursaal, also called The Royal Hall, was opened in 1903 to provide entertainment and relaxation.
By 1940, Harrogate had re-invented itself as a conference town and today hosts many internationally renowned fairs, meetings exhibitions and entertainment at the Harrogate International Conference Centre.
To cater for the influx of visitors, many restaurants and coffee houses opened and today Harrogate is a hub for food and drink in the North. The Harrogate Tourist Information Centre was opened in 1982 and is a wealth of resources for where to stay, what to do, shopping and much more.