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Enjoy a long weekend fit for a king around Harrogate

With no fewer than three Bank Holiday weekends taking place in May 2023, you’ll want to make the most of all that extra time off. If you’re planning on enjoying the long weekend between 5 and 8 May with a flavour of pomp and pageantry, but hoping to escape the big city crowds, then look no further. Head to the Harrogate area of North Yorkshire for a relaxing bank holiday getaway that comes complete with plenty of royal connections and Coronation-themed excitement.

There’s a sublime series of events taking place here to mark the coronation of King Charles III, alongside a host of royal connections to uncover. So you can follow the royal heritage trail around our beautiful landmarks and cultural sites, following in the footsteps of our Royal Family throughout history, whilst soaking up the ceremonial atmosphere of this auspicious and unique occasion.

Supreme Beef VH

In recent years King Charles has been a frequent visitor to the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, but the town and wider area have long-standing royal connections that stretch back throughout the centuries. It was after the personal physician of Queen Elizabeth I declared the spa waters here to have healing properties that wealthy visitors were drawn to Harrogate in a bid to boost their health and wellbeing.

Since then, the town has grown to boast an incredible wealth of historical buildings and outdoor spaces, including the Royal Pump Room (now a museum); the Royal Hall (which hosts theatrical performances and musical productions) and the one-time Promenade Rooms (now the Mercer Art Gallery, currently hosting an ARTIST ROOMS exhibition in collaboration with Tate and National Galleries of Scotland).

During the 19th century development of the spa town, Harrogate’s Valley Gardens were designed and created to offer pleasant outdoor parkland for visitors to stroll around and take the air, before or after ‘taking the waters’. Whilst the heritage of this beautiful parkland has been perfectly preserved with historical features and traditional public garden elements for everyone to enjoy, it also provides a picturesque and practical place to hold contemporary events.

Valley Gardens Stage event

This May, Valley Gardens play host to a three-day party in the park to welcome King Charles to the throne with The Big Coronation Celebration. With family-friendly entertainment, free fairground rides and an artisan market taking place over the Coronation weekend – plus a big screen broadcast of the Coronation ceremony and fun films to entertain youngsters – it’s an ideal event to drop into while you’re here.

The Stray in blossom

Also in Harrogate, early in May you might still catch the famous cherry blossoms of The Stray, renowned as one of the best places in the UK to snatch a breath-taking spring blossom fix. The cherry trees celebrate their 70th birthday this year, having been planted in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ripon Market Square CREDIT National Trust Images Chris Lacey

North of Harrogate, small but perfectly formed Ripon has strong connections to royalty throughout history. It was King James I who granted Ripon a Royal Charter and created Ripon’s first Mayor in 1604. Four hundred years later, in 2004, the late Queen Elizabeth II visited Ripon to commemorate the anniversary of the Royal Charter.

Ripon cathedral

Ripon Cathedral, which has just celebrated its 1350th anniversary, will screen the Coronation of King Charles III on 6 May, whilst on 8 May it hosts a Beer Festival on the Cathedral grounds. The festival is a favourite on the annual events calendar of this North Yorkshire destination, one of England’s oldest cities.

Knaresborough Castle Mike Hine 1901974842

Knaresborough, which together with Harrogate was originally part of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough where kings and nobility would go hunting, has plenty of its own royal connections. Knaresborough Castle was a royal castle, with work first carried out there by Henry I before it became a royal residence in 1331. Explore the remains of the keep and discover a perfect picnic spot in the castle grounds.

Charlotte Gale Knaresborough Fullsize 6114

The view over the River Nidd and Knaresborough Viaduct is undoubtedly one of the most Instagrammable in the country and is a lovely place to pause before wandering down to Waterside for home-made ice cream that’s worthy of royal approval. Royal flagmakers Flying Colours are also based in the North Yorkshire town.

Goldsborough Hotel Content 23

Just outside Knaresborough, Goldsborough Hall is hosting a Coronation Afternoon Tea on Saturday 6 May. This Jacobean stately home has its own connections to the Crown, having been home to HRH Princess Mary, the only daughter of George V and great aunt to King Charles III, until she married Henry Lascelles, the heir to Harewood House near Leeds.

The Terrace credit Harewood House Trust and Lee Beel 41 Medium

Harewood House is hosting a wealth of royal and Coronation-themed events and activities throughout May, with special menus in the cafés and a street party atmosphere. Discover the story of Harewood’s relationship to the historic Coronation ceremony throughout the years, with the Lascelles family coronation robes and other precious items from its historic collection on display in the Servant’s Hall.

Discover all the great events taking place in Harrogate and the wider area to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III on our dedicated Coronation weekend pages.

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