Favourite Things: Tracy Morgan, Visit Harrogate
We’re home to major events on the gardening calendar.
Next up is the RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show and later, the Autumn Flower Show, as well as stunning gardens in National Trust properties, public parks and a World Heritage site. Taken as a whole, our district surely has an argument to be the UK’s leading destination for remarkable gardens.
My first pick is Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens. Beningbrough Hall recently began an extensive project to breathe new life into the gardens under the guidance of award-winning garden designer Andy Sturgeon.
With its eight acres of gardens and 18th Century mansion it’s a real treat to enjoy all year round. Explore the beautifully arranged formal gardens, several herbaceous borders, less formal areas managed for wildlife as well as sweeping lawns. There are many perfect spots for a picnic and visitors return time after time to watch the seasons changing when different plants are at their best. If it’s rainy, there’s an amazing exhibition indoors that runs till November called Making Her Mark – Celebrating Creative Women, with portraits of Judi Dench, Amy Winehouse and JK Rowling! Many will drive out to Fountain’s Abbey & Studley Royal, with its lavish water gardens and deer parks of Studley Hall and the Abbey’s majestic ruins and if you’re in that neck of the woods, make sure you swing by the Ripon Walled Garden and Newby Hall and Gardens.
Newby Hall has one of the country’s most important and beautiful 20th Century gardens. It is home to an immense herbaceous borders of 172 metres in length, which offer breath-taking colour throughout the summer months.
Now to a hidden gem – the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park in Grewelthorpe. A botanical masterpiece, the garden is set in stunning woodland and features natural springs, lakes, playground and tearoom, with striking contemporary sculptures.
Take note, it’s only open for an eight-week period in the summer and a fortnight in autumn. In the heart of Harrogate is of course Valley Gardens the 17-acre English Heritage Grade II listed garden, with its recently renovated Japanese Garden.
It’s a beautiful stroll through the Pinewoods up to the 58-acre RHS Garden Harlow Carr, where you can treat yourself at Bettys Café Tea Rooms. For a little luxury, why not combine a spa after all your gardening exertions at Rudding Park and refuel at its award winning Horto Restaurant inspired by its Kitchen Garden.
Whether you’re in Ripon’s Spa Gardens or Bebra Gardens in Knaresborough to the follies and fountain in Hackfall Wood, where the Aislabie family left their mark, it’s almost impossible to avoid the immense beauty of our district.
In Harrogate itself, a roundabout can be an attraction. Harrogate has won every major ‘In Bloom’ competition over the past 40 years, so a big shout out to all the voluntary organisations at Harrogate in Bloom.
We salute you!