Springtime colours in the Harrogate and beyond

The lambs are in the fields, the sun is in the sky and the buds have risen from their winter sleep and spring is here. Longer days are the perfect excuse to get out in the fresh air and see the great outdoors come alive. The Harrogate area is synonymous with flora, gardens and its incredible Flower Shows. Here is a list of our top spots to get your spring floral fix:

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Head out to the magnificent heritage site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden where spring blooms among the ruins of the Abbey and the statues and follies of the water garden. Make sure that you have time to explore the expanse of the deer park and the walks beyond.

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden
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Albert Laighton described flowers as autographs of angels, penned in Nature’s green-leaved book, and with a trip to RHS Garden Harlow Carr , it is easy to see why! Over 70,000 daffodils trumpet the arrival of spring, part of a joyous riot of colour from hyacinths, scillas, chinodoxa and trilliums. Seasoned gardeners will love the breadth of colour and seasonal varieties, but there’s plenty to intrigue new gardeners too.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr

Harrogate is known for springtime purple and white crocuses on The Stray in late February and early March, and the end of April brings the annual spectacular display of cherry blossoms, but colour can be found every day of the year in Valley Gardens in the centre of Harrogate. This beautifully restored English Heritage Grade II listed space is the perfect spot for an early-morning jog, dog walk or exploring outdoors with little ones.

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Seek out the flowers and plants and be at one with nature in the restored Japanese Garden. Spot snowdrops in the Pinewoods or take a seat on one of the benches by the colourful flowerbeds. Not only are the gardens a welcome spot of green in an urban centre, you’re also never far away from a relaxing brew and a tasty snack from one of Harrogate’s many independent cafes.

Valley Gardens, Harrogate
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With over eight acres of formal gardens to explore, you are spoilt for choice at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens. Relax among the flowers or see the fruit collection in the two-acre walled garden, It’s a magical place to catch the changing of the seasons with a carpet of 300,000 bluebells and magnolia blooms in the spring as well as wildflower planting which provides a haven for insects.

Beningbrough - National Trust

Newby Hall and Gardens located between Ripon and Boroughbridge is the perfect place to meet family and friends. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the award-winning gardens throughout spring, summer and autumn. Stroll around the many gardens including Sylvia's Garden with it's soft colour palette of whites, pinks, purples and blues interspersed with touches of vivid yellows and magentas.

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In springtime, the magnolias that line the pathway of the Tropical Garden are in bloom. Make a note to return in late summer to see the spectacular double herbaceous borders in full bloom. At 172 metres, it is one of the longest in the country. Newby Hall also houses the National Collection of Cornus that bloom in late spring.

The house and gardens re-open 1 April.

Newby Hall & Gardens

The Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park north of Ripon is one of North Yorkshire's hidden gems and home to the Himalayan Blue Poppy (meconopsis) which grows in abundance here in the fertile soil of this micro-climate.

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With 45 acres to explore you can wander around the woodland gardens, lakes and arboretum where the mass planting of spring bulbs create a carpet of colourful flowers. With large collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias, plus a beautiful primula meadow, you will certainly enjoy the springtime colours here.

The garden re-opens to the public 4 April.

The Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park

Knaresborough is one of our most photographed towns for a reason - it is simply stunning. At this time of year, a walk along the River Nidd near the market town will reward you with an array of wild spring flowers including snowdrops, bluebells and wild garlic. This ancient woodland has an abundance of wonderful wildlife such as kingfishers, roe deer, herons and woodpeckers.

These are our highlights, however, you are never far away from a glorious garden, a wonderful walk or stunning outdoor scenery.  Spring is the ideal time to brush away the cobwebs and savour every moment of the great outdoors. You can find more inspiration on our gardens page. 

We love seeing all your photos so remember to tag #MyHarrogate so we can see where you have been visiting and, new for 2023, we are launching Crocus Watch. Now the beautiful little flowers are starting to emerge, make sure to tag your photos #Crocuswatch so we can see them in all their colourful glory.

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