Harrogate's Christmas set to be like no other as town lines up biggest ever festive events bonanza

Harrogate’s leaders say the town’s retail sector is still in a strong position to enjoy a festive bonanza despite problems in the labour market and supply chain.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 4:17 pm
Winter Illuminations at RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate.

As Harrogate town centre gears up for the critical run-up to Christmas known as the “golden quarter” in the trade, James White, Centre Manager at Victoria Shopping Centre, said the town remained in a “leading position” to capitalise on a festive spending spree.

“Like every Christmas the Golden Quarter is of great important to retailers and this year is no different,” Mr White said.

"Things that are proving hard work this year is the labour market and also supply chain and it remains to be seen what affect this will have on Christmas trading and even Black Friday.

“We are still in a pandemic and whilst restrictions have eased up with more people getting their jabs, there is still evidence that people are shopping less but buying more.

“What we do know is people are expecting more than shopping from towns and cities and those that offer additionality like food and beverage are coming out winners and Harrogate puts itself in a leading position there due to many varied food outlets and offers we have in our great town.”

With Harrogate set for the biggest splurge of festive events for many years, the whole town is pushing to attract shoppers and visitors.

Harrogate Borough Council Leader Richard Cooper said: “It’s going to be a Christmas like no other after nearly two years which have been difficult for us all.

“ I am proud of what we look set to achieve this Christmas; proud of what we have done as a united Harrogate team with a shared purpose.”

From Harrogate Borough Council to Harrogate Business Improvement District, Visit Harrogate to Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, Harrogate Rotary Club to independent promoters, much time and money is being devoted give the town centre economy the support it needs in the festive season.

Among the events aimed at driving footfall from late November are:

The Father Christmas Experience at the Crown Hotel in Harrogate

A Christmas Market Weekend at Crimple on Leeds Road near Pannal

A new Harrogate Christmas Fayre in the heart of Harrogate’s main shopping streets

A festive artisan market in the Valley Gardens

Harrogate Christmas Shop Window competition

A festive mini-train and Ferris Wheel

Festive concerts and events at Harrogate Convention Centre and the Royal Hall

Harrogate Theatre’s annual magical family panto at Harrogate Theatre

Winter Illuminations at RHS Garden Harlow Carr

Coun Cooper said nearly 40 coach-loads of visitors had already booked for Harrogate’s new Christmas Fayre in the Cambridge Street which set to run for ten daysin December delivered by the council in partnership with Market Place Europe event organisers.

In addition, the council has been working with LNER to bring overnight visitors to Harrogate district on board a special Christmas Express service from London on December 10.

With so much going on and with the long-standing Harrogate Christmas Market on Montpellier Hill being postpined this year, the council is working via Visit Harrogate to avoid any risk of public confusion.

The latter’s Destination Harrogate campaign will focus on promoting the feast of festive events coming up.

Gemma Rio, head of Harrogate Council’s destination management team, which encompasses Visit Harrogate, Harrogate Convention Centre’s marketing team and the district’ tourist information centres, said: “We are launching the biggest Christmas marketing campaign in Visit Harrogate’s history to ensure businesses enjoy the benefits the additional footfall brings.

“Christmas is well and truly set to return to Harrogate town centre and I’m really excited about what is on offer.”