Charismatic Harry of Harrogate Walking Tours fame to swap Harrogate landmarks for an epic adventure to the Pyramids

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The charming young man in the dapper waistcoat who set up Harrogate’s popular Walking Tours is to take a sabbatical for a while – but only to cycle from Harrogate to Cairo for a local charity.

Since he had the idea of launching his Free Walking Tours in 2018, the charismatic Harry has become a quintessential part of Harrogate’s cultural life – and visitor economy.

For the last seven years, Harry’s tours have set off at 10.30am and noon from Friday to Sunday, plus bank holidays, from the War Memorial across from Bettys Tearooms.

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As the popularity of the expertly-delivered tours soared and their numbers expanded, the sight of the smartly-dressed Harry in Harrogate town centre in his trademark dapper blue waistcoat and rolled-up shirt sleeves has become familiar to the whole town.

Leading the way - Since he had the idea of launching his Free Walking Tours in 2018, the charismatic Harry has become a quintessential part of Harrogate’s cultural life – and visitor economy. (Picture contributed)Leading the way - Since he had the idea of launching his Free Walking Tours in 2018, the charismatic Harry has become a quintessential part of Harrogate’s cultural life – and visitor economy. (Picture contributed)
Leading the way - Since he had the idea of launching his Free Walking Tours in 2018, the charismatic Harry has become a quintessential part of Harrogate’s cultural life – and visitor economy. (Picture contributed)

But the hard-working but likably cheerful Harry is about to take a break from leading queues of people round the town’s the classic landmarks, as well as its best bars, businesses, cafes and restaurants.

Now, for once, he will be the one doing the visiting - back to a place that inspired his famous tours.

Harry said: "The first-ever bicycle club was founded in Harrogate in 1878.

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"As yet, the furthest I have travelled on a bicycle in one go is 86km.

Harrogate's Harry of Walking Tours fame in a 2023 episode of BBC TV's Escape to the Country. (Picture contributed)Harrogate's Harry of Walking Tours fame in a 2023 episode of BBC TV's Escape to the Country. (Picture contributed)
Harrogate's Harry of Walking Tours fame in a 2023 episode of BBC TV's Escape to the Country. (Picture contributed)

"On July 1 I am hoping to cycle from Harrogate to Cairo and be home in time for Christmas.

"I am doing this because when I was 14, I was lucky enough to visit Cairo for the first time.

"The Pyramids' unfathomable size and incomprehensible age are what inspired me to follow history and most likely why I set up the Free Walking Tour of Harrogate.

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"It was also the last holiday I would have with my father, and I have always dreamt of returning.”

The hard-working Harry pictured in Crescent Gardens in Harrogate showing visitors the town’s the classic landmarks, including the Royal Pump Room Museum and Mercer Art Gallery. (Picture contributed)The hard-working Harry pictured in Crescent Gardens in Harrogate showing visitors the town’s the classic landmarks, including the Royal Pump Room Museum and Mercer Art Gallery. (Picture contributed)
The hard-working Harry pictured in Crescent Gardens in Harrogate showing visitors the town’s the classic landmarks, including the Royal Pump Room Museum and Mercer Art Gallery. (Picture contributed)

As well as being a great adventure, Harry is undertaking his epic cycle ride for a Harrogate charity and cafe he cares deeply about – Artizan International.

Artizan transform the lives of differently-able people, who would otherwise be living in poverty and/or isolation, through high-quality crafts training and social enterprises in Ecuador and Peru as well as their café and social enterprise Organics project in Harrogate that provides supported training and hands-on work experience for young adults with learning disabilities.

Harry said: “People with disabilities in the UK and the developing world often are socially isolated, have reduced access to education, and are excluded from employment.

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"Both the young adults who Artizan supports and the team behind the enterprise are some of the most caring, inspirational and downright wonderful people whom I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

"As the town’s tour guide, I shouldn't pick favourites, but Aritzan's cakes are by far the most delicious in our town!

"On top of that, never before have I walked into a café and be greeted with such warmth and kindness.”

Such is Harry’s popularity and success in highlighting Harrogate’s heritage and history, he has even been featured on national TV.

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When BBC’s Escape to the Country reality show came to the area last year, that episode’s house buyers were introduced to Harry and his Walking Tours.

Harry’s commitment to the history of Harrogate means he is also a trustee of the Royal Hall Restoration Trust.

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