Hotel brings Dales scenery to Harrogate to create world's greatest beer garden

A Harrogate hotel and restaurant is creating what is being hailed as the most ambitious beer garden transformation in the UK in time for next Monday's easing of lockdown rules and the arrival of outdoors eating and drinking.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 11:15 am
'Ales in the Dales' at the Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate - An artist's illustration by David Griffin of how the site will look on Monday.

The team at the Pickled Sprout at the Yorkshire Hotel has spent ten days recreating the beautiful scenery of the Dales into the heart of Harrogate, including hills, trees and a dry stone wall, ready to welcome customers as the UK sets to open its beer gardens from 12th April when stage two of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown begins.

This spectacular 'Ales in the Dales' project, which will allows food and drink fans to tuck in a rural outdoors setting outside the hotel om Prospect Place facing West Park, has involved a huge amount of work and materials, not to forget organisation and sheer manpower.

'Ales in the Dales' project: Bringing the Dales - and a dry stone wall - to the heart of Harrogate at The Pickled Sprout restaurant for the reopening of the hospitality sector.

The 'ingredients' include:

120 tonnes of topsoil

100 tonnes of Yorkshire Stone

350 plants, shrubs and trees

300sq metres of grass

One bar ready for alfresco dining and drinking

When the roadmap to opening was unveiled by the Government, the team at The Yorkshire Hotel and The Pickled Sprout in Harrogate knew they had to create something spectacular to entice customers to eat and drink outside for the next five weeks before people are allowed indoors as part of stage three on May 17.

With a botanical inspired décor following its £1million refurbishment last year, the team decided to conjur up an incredibly realistic pastiche to the Yorkshire Dales with local landscape designer Nicholas Edwards.

The end result of all that vision and hard work will be officially unveiled by the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate Coun Stuart and April Martin next Monday morning.

Simon Cotton, managing director of the HRH Group which runs the Yorkshire Hotel, said: “When Boris Johnson announced the roadmap out of lockdown, we knew we had to create some excitement about drinking and dining outside in April, especially after the success of our beach last year.

"We always try to step up the creativity each time we open up, offering something new and exciting to our customers, but I think this is one of the most ambitious projects we have done to date, and quite possibly the most ambitious beer garden creative in Yorkshire if not the UK."

The team have worked with local Harrogate charity, Horticap, who provide adults with learning and other disabilities training in horticulture, allied crafts and rural skills; and during its five weeks of opening the team are raising money for this local charity, as well as the Welcome to Yorkshire’s chosen charity of the year, Yorkshire Cancer Research.

The team are hoping to raise as much money as possible for these local charities hit hard by the pandemic.

Once the garden is removed and the space returns to a car park mid-May, the plants, trees and shrubs will be used by Horticap in their work with local disabled people.

Simon Cotton, Managing Director, HRH Group said: “We are extremely lucky to have the space and prime location to be able to create this beer garden for The Pickled Sprout and we’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the creation.

"It really has been a community project. We hope that our beer garden creation can generate some money for our chosen charities Horticap and Yorkshire Cancer Research.”

First to start the build and creating quite a mystery for locals, was husband and wife dry stone wall team, Jason and Tracey Potter. The duo from Living Stone carefully crafted a dry stone wall outside the property using 10 tonnes of stone to create an iconic feature fitting for any Dales scene. The wall created a stir in the town when it appeared one morning in the middle of The Yorkshire Hotel car park with passers by increasingly bemused at the new feature.

On Tuesday, April 6 amid a mixture of weathers, HACS Group delivered 120 tonnes of top soil, 100 tonnes of Yorkshire stone and plant hire to maneuverer large Yorkshire stone boulders into place to create the hills scene across the car park.

Talking about the start of the scene transformation Mark Smith of HACS Group said: “On the first day of the build we experienced four seasons in one day, but the team worked tirelessly to make sure we kept on track to deliver the ‘Ales in the Dales’.

"It was quite the sight to see Christmas style trees being planted within a car park in the snow in April, but it certainly put a smile on everyone’s faces. We are delighted with the results and so pleased to be part of such a community project.”

With a hilly foundation in place, it was then down to Nicholas Edward Gardens to bring the Dales to life in central Harrogate. Chelsea Flower Show Gold winner, Nick Fryer, and his team of gardeners carefully crafted a scene fitting of a rural Yorkshire Dales in the car park.

More than 350 plants trees and shrubs were donated to the community project by Johnsons of Whixley, which have adorned the garden landscape bringing the botanical features of The Pickled Sprout and The Yorkshire Dales together.

Ellie Richardson, Marketing Manager, Johnsons of Whixley said: “We are excited to be involved with the prestigious Yorkshire Hotel’s ‘Ale in The Dales’ as it marks the end of another lockdown.

“The garden will see our plants used to beautify the area; the plants will be loaned to the hotel for the duration of the project. We look forward to seeing the metamorphosis of the hotels outside space and have no doubt that it will entice people back to the pub and hotel after a difficult 13 months for the hospitality industry.”

The furniture and seating for the garden has been generously donated by Akula Living with some key iconic pieces being supplied by Welcome to Yorkshire.

The final touch of fun is the installation of a miniature real life steam train that will run over 30 metres through the Yorkshire Dales scene, operated by SSD Miniature Railway.

Phil Airey, Assistant Manager at Horticap commented; “We are delighted to be working with the team at The Pickled Sprout and The Yorkshire Hotel to raise money and awareness of Horticap.

"The idea of the Yorkshire Dales garden is an ambitious project that the team have really enjoyed being a part of and we look forward to seeing the reuse of the plants, trees and shrubs after the event in our charity work.”

To book a table at the Ales in the Dales or to take a look at the new Spring menu and extensive wine and cocktails list take a look at the website www.thepickledsprout.co.uk

The Pickled Sprout is owned by the HRH Group, who purchased the property in 2018 along with The Yorkshire Hotel. The Yorkshire Hotel, including The Pickled Sprout is the 6th property in the HRH Groups growing portfolio in North Yorkshire.

Other properties in the group are; The White Hart, and The Fat Badger Harrogate, Marmadukes Town House, The Lamb and Lion Inn and The Guy Fawkes Inn, York and The Black Horse Inn, Kirkby Fleetham.

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