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The perfect family day out in Harrogate and Knaresborough

The Victorian spa town of Harrogate and the pretty market town of Knaresborough are two perfect locations to twin for a day filled with family fun that won’t break the budget. From green open spaces for little legs to explore to uncovering spa heritage secrets to picnic inspiration and boating on the River Nidd, here are our suggestions on how to spend a family day out in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

In this Itinerary

Harrogate Royal Pump Room Museum
AM – Start the day

All the info you need

Start your day with a visit to the Tourist Information Centre in Harrogate. Located within the iconic Royal Baths building, here you will find all of the information that you need to plan a fun-filled family day out in Harrogate and the surrounding area. Our friendly staff will be on hand to advise on all the best places to visit and things to see and do.

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Picnic Valley Gardens 3
AM – Late morning

Family Fun and Games

Just a short walk from the Tourist Information Centre is the Valley Gardens, which makes the perfect first stop for your day out. A trip to Harrogate wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through these glorious gardens. Alongside plenty of wide open space to stretch young legs, there are also an array of activities to keep the whole family entertained from tennis courts to pitch and putt to a children’s play area.

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Town Story Time

Before you stop for lunch, head to the Royal Pump Room Museum and discover the stories of the town’s rich spa heritage, take a sniff of the strongest sulphur wells in Europe (definitely recommended before lunch!) and learn about the weird and wacky health treatments of times gone by.

By now, tummies will be rumbling so you can head into Harrogate town centre and explore the many Harrogate cafes and eateries available to grab a bite to eat.

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Train ride

To Knaresborough

The beautiful market town of Knaresborough located on the River Nidd is a short nine-minute picturesque train ride from Harrogate Train Station with trains leaving every half an hour. Make sure you get a window seat and keep your eyes peeled as you pass over the Knaresborough viaduct for breath-taking river views. Jump off at Knaresborough train station, and you’ll see that it is an attraction in itself with a cosy cafe, pub and even an antiques store.

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PM – Early afternoon

Back in time

Let young ones run loose, in both body and mind, around the woodland trails and play area of Mother Shipton's. Whilst there, marvel at how the mineral-rich waters turn anything placed under their flow slowly to stone and hear how the mystic prophetess Mother Shipton foresaw key historical events and disasters such as the Great Fire of London.

The site runs alongside the River Nidd and as well as its many fascinating features, is the oldest tourist attraction in England.

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Knaresborough Castle Mike Hine 1901974842
PM – Late afternoon

Climbing to the Castle

Just making your way through the medieval streets of Knaresborough or marvelling at the magnificent views over the River Nidd can fill a day out in Knaresborough. Walk along the river and watch the many boats that float along the river during the summer months, you can even take one out yourself. If staying on dry land sounds more appealing you can fill up on ice cream from one of the many ice cream vendors and fuel your onward journey up the steps to Knaresborough Castle grounds.

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PM - Last stop

Picnic Time

Why not pick up some picnic essentials and end your family day out with a picnic in the Horseshoe Field at Conyngham Hall? Set up on one of the picnic benches; settle down amongst the meadow field or picnic on the sandy banks beside the river, if visiting in summer it may even be warm enough for a paddle.

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