Visit Harrogate column: Time to explore our beautiful gardens

North of England Horticultural Society Harrogate Spring Flower Show. Pictured Vicky Fox, from Plantagogo, based in Crewe, who won a Premier Gold Award, with her display of Heucherella and Tiarella, in garden setting
North of England Horticultural Society Harrogate Spring Flower Show. Pictured Vicky Fox, from Plantagogo, based in Crewe, who won a Premier Gold Award, with her display of Heucherella and Tiarella, in garden setting

The Tour de Yorkshire – what a fabulous weekend and what a fantastic event. The eyes of the world were on Yorkshire and the Harrogate District was the star of Saturday’s racing. There can be no doubt we didn’t disappoint, we did ourselves proud!

The Visit Harrogate team were out among the crowds along the route each day and enjoying the fun on The Stray at the Harrogate Cycling Festival. Our website saw record-breaking numbers of visitors and the 20,000 copies of our Tour de Yorkshire guide could be seen in the hands of visitors and locals alike.

May half term holiday ideas

It feels like the kids have only just gone back to school after the Easter holidays and already we are starting to think about the May half term at the end of this month.

It’s important to keep the young ones active and energised when they are off school.

For those of us with young families in the Visit Harrogate team it’s time to start making plans for the half term holiday. But don’t worry, as always there’s plenty to keep them busy in the Harrogate District and here are just a few ideas.

We are really fortunate to have three beautiful National Trust properties in the area - Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Brimham Rocks and Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, all of which are worth a visit at any time of year and appeal to kids of all ages. So pack a picnic, enjoy the fresh air and join in with some of special activities that they have planned for half term.

If “Bugs and Slugs” are what your kids are interested in, then the perfect place for them is RHS Garden Harlow Carr at half term. Here they can find out everything they need to know with real life bugs and slugs, crafts, stories, outdoor workshops and a garden trail.

Stockeld Park opens up for The Spring Adventure on May 27 and this time the “Robots in disguise” are coming. Yes, the Transformers - Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee will be there on June 3 and 4 for your own little super heroes to meet up close.

2017 Gardens Guide

The 2017 Visit Harrogate Gardens Guide was launched at the annual Harrogate Spring Flower Show and the Visit Harrogate team were there to enjoy the floral extravaganza. This year’s show was the most successful to date as it saw a three per cent rise in overall visitor numbers and it achieved international press coverage with the beautiful and most striking HortCouture Flower costumes from New Zealand.

If you didn’t make it to the Harrogate Spring Flower Show, make a note in your diary to get tickets for the Autumn Flower Show, September 15-17 and also call into your local tourist information office to pick up a copy of our Visit Harrogate Gardens Guide.

With the gardens in the district in full colour it’s a great time to visit and there are several opportunities to take some plants home with you. This weekend sees the annual spring plant sale at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens with many of the plants on sale being propagated from around the gardens. Returning for its second year is the fabulous RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show on the weekend of June 23-25.

Another date for the diary is the 1940s Day on June 18 set in the beautiful Valley Gardens, Harrogate. So get dressed up in vintage clothing, dance to the bands or just bring a picnic and enjoy the entertainment – the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.