Harrogate – is it really the best place to live in the UK?

I have been financially compensated for this post.

Over recent years Harrogate has consistently held its place in the top rankings as one of the best places to live in the UK. More recently it also scored highly in a big survey of the happiest places to live in the UK.

yorkshire dales
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Best Place to Live

A few years ago Harrogate secured first place in a Sunday Times supplement survey of best places to live. The newspaper declared the historic town was the winner in both the Yorkshire and the North East of England categories. Harrogate’s overall top ranking was decided by a range of factors including house prices, local school performance and community safety statistics. The data was then looked at in combination with residents’ reported experience of living in the town. Quality of life measures included things like easy access to great shopping, parks and countryside and leisure facilities.

Outdoors in Harrogate
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One of the Happiest Places to Live

Only last year, the popular property site Rightmove surveyed over 22,000 people. They asked residents to rate where they lived across twelve different ‘happiness’ measures. The measures included local services, amenities and cultural pursuits, community spirit and safety, green spaces, sports and leisure opportunities. Harrogate came second of all the towns in the poll. Being known as one of the happiest and best places to live in the UK is quite the accolade.

What Does Harrogate Offer Residents?

Set on the outskirts of the beautiful North Yorkshire Dales, Harrogate is a picturesque town. It sprang up around the discovery of its famous spa waters. Although the first mineral water spa was identified as far back as 1571, many more springs were subsequently discovered. As a result, the town became popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras. This is reflected in its wonderful Georgian and Victorian architecture. Impressive buildings can be visited today from the Royal Pump Room to the Royal Hall Theatre and the impressive shopping district. The area known as the Montpellier Quarter is home to such iconic Yorkshire institutions as Bettys Café Tea Rooms and Taylors of Harrogate. Simply known as Bettys, the tea room was established in 1919 and is famous the world over for its traditional afternoon teas. The atmospheric Montepellier Quarter is also home to a vibrant nightlife scene.

Harrogate lights
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How Much Will a Home Cost?

Prices for an average semi-detached family home is £330,231. Terraced properties sell on the market at a slightly reduced average price of around £279,000. There are some very upmarket properties available as well, the sales of which push up the overall average house price to just under £350,000.

Commuter Connectivity

Harrogate is well linked to neighbouring cities and to London, which is 3 hours away by train. It’s located near to the upgraded A1 motorway and is only 17 miles north of Leeds, with easy access to the regional hub of Leeds Bradford airport. Both Leeds and York can be accessed by regular train services that take half an hour. The range of travel options makes Harrogate a great residential choice for a range of commuters.

car travelling on the road
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Leisure Facilities

With its history as a spa town, it’s good to know that spa lovers can still visit the Turkish baths in Harrogate. The baths experience offers different spa rooms, a steam room as well as a cold plunge pool and a relaxation zone. Harrogate boasts the Valley Gardens which are Grade II Listed gardens and woodland. The Valley Gardens are open all year round and are home to 36 different mineral wells. Visitors can enjoy open-air concerts on Sundays in the summer. There are also tennis courts, pitch and putt, children’s play area, boating and paddling pools. The town is also home to two cinemas and a theatre.

Surrounding Areas

The scenic Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are within an easy distance of Harrogate. The towns of Ripon with its cathedral and racecourse is a short drive away. The town of Knaresborough is even closer, perched on cliffs overlooking the River Nidd. Its medieval streets and stone staircases cling to the hillside sloping down to a riverside promenade. Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well are reputed to be England’s oldest tourist attraction and, as well as Knaresborough Castle, make a great place to take family visitors.

With so many positive attributes it’s not hard to see why Harrogate is frequently rated so highly in the various best place to live surveys.

2 thoughts on “Harrogate – is it really the best place to live in the UK?”

  1. As usual (with surveys of this kind) you omit mentioning Hospitals ( unless I missed it). My impression is that this aspect of Harrogate leaves room for substantial improvement.

  2. Having fairly recently retired and returned to the UK from a long stint in America I was unfortunate to be struck with a painful and debilitating form of Rheumatoid Athritis. And so began my association with the Rheumatology Department at Harrogate General Hospital. My heroes. The treatment and care from the doctors and staff have been second to none. Any of my American friends would be expecting bills of tens of thousand of dollars for the same treatment. Cost to me? Zero. Thank you National Health Service. Especially more so in the middle of a pandemic.


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