Find some 'friluftsliv'

The Scandinavian lifestyle craze of hygge took the world by storm; but have you heard about friluftsliv?

This is the Norwegian word that is best translated as an 'outdoors lifestyle'. This concept is credited as one of the reasons why Norway is ranked as one of the world’s happiest countries.

And if you’re looking to embrace friluftsliv, (pronounced free-loofts-liv), we have lots of places where you can enjoy the fresh air and stunning scenery around Harrogate, Ripon, Knaresborough and Nidderdale.

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Visit Stunning Landmarks

Friluftsliv can be a Sunday hike with your family, a walk through Valley Gardens Harrogate in your lunch hour. It can be a weekend trip to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal to explore the expansive grounds. Or a walk around Knaresborough’s medieval streets before visiting the Castle and the beautiful Nidd Gorge.

There’s also eight acres of beautiful gardens to explore at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens. You can stretch your legs around the park or wander through the breath-taking formal gardens, walled kitchen garden, herbaceous borders and wildlife areas. There’s beauty in these gardens no matter what the season is.

Scar House winter content

Or if you want to immerse yourself in nature there are a host of stunning spots for you to choose from Scar House Reservoir is home for a host of wildlife where you’ll see ground nesting birds enjoying the moorland and the shallow banks of the lake provide feeding grounds for wading birds and waterfowl. Several birds of prey call upper Nidderdale home, so you’ll see buzzards and red kits but also the rarer merlin and hen harrier.

Washburn sunset content

For a woodland walk visit Washburn Valley, home to countless species of birds in a beautiful ancient woodland or complete the Curlew Trail at Pateley Bridge alongside the River Nidd where you can spot kingfishers, dippers and curlew.

Swinsty Reservoir is great for families with an easy-to-follow and accessible route tracing the circumference of the Swinsty Reservoir in the Washburn Valley.

Nidderdale

Long Distance Challenges

If you want something more serious, consider the Nidderdale Way – a 53 mile loop stretching from the very top to the very foot of the Nidderdale Valley. This walk takes in all of Nidderdale’s best features and landmarks, with a few hidden gems in there.

There’s also a beautiful 49 mile route Ripon Rowel Walk, which winds around the lower valley of the River Ure, from Ripon to the dales town of Masham, along quiet country lanes to Fountains Abbey.

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You can delve deep into North Yorkshire’s history with walks like Ripon’s Sanctuary Way Walking Trail, Pateley Bridge’s Prosperous Lead Mines or heritage plaque trails around Harrogate – there are 92 of them marking sites that have played an important role in Harrogate’s history.

Whatever the weather, you can go to many places to enjoy the great outdoors. While we can’t guarantee the weather, we can take some inspiration from the Norwegians. They say “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!” (In Norwegian, it rhymes.)

So even if there’s a little rain, or those crisp blue skies give way to a little grey, you can enjoy the beauty of the Harrogate area, and beyond, no matter what.

If you have suggestions for the perfect place to embrace friluftsliv, let us know by using #MyHarrogate.

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