Tourism agency Visit Harrogate celebrates National Gardening Week (30 April – 6 May) with the launch of its annual Gardens Guide. It revealed the new guide at Harrogate Spring Flower Show (26 – 29 April) - the biggest exhibition of flower arranging and floristry in Britain which dates back to 1934 and attracts up to 60,000 visitors each year as a major event in the national gardening calendar.
The town features RHS Harlow Carr Gardens - 68 acres of stunning gardens, its famous 17-acre English Heritage Grade II listed Valley Gardens with its recently completed Japanese Garden, and a 220-acre Stray protected by Royal decree. The Stray has had seven million crocus planted for an eye-popping floral treat in spring, alongside its famed avenue of blossom trees, officially the most photographed spot in Harrogate.
Harrogate has entered regional, national and international in Bloom awards since they began over 40 years ago and are multi-gold award winners. It picked up the coveted gold award in the elite Champion of Champions category of the RHS Britain in Bloom competition for 2017. The town has twice won Europe in Bloom.
Richard Spencer, CEO of Visit Harrogate, said: “You’ll be pushed to find a roundabout that isn’t decked out in flowers. I think it’s time Harrogate was recognised as the district with the most Flower Power. We have a long and distinguished history of success in horticultural awards, alongside Britain’s biggest Flower Show, and some of the best quality gardens and public realms in the UK.”
Harrogate’s floral displays are well known for being stunning throughout the year, but the new guide aims take visitors to all the great gardens that exist across the district, from RHS Gardens of excellence to a hidden Himalayan gem, from the World Heritage site Water Gardens of Studley Royal to the pioneering kitchen garden which supplies Rudding Park Hotel’s Horto Restaurant.
Along the way visitors are encouraged to see the often missed gardens of Goldsborough Hall, Ripon Walled Garden and of Beningbrough Hall Gallery and Gardens, who have just begun an extensive project to breathe new life into the gardens under the guidance of award winning garden designer Andy Sturgeon. Newby Hall, is home to immense herbaceous borders of 172 metres in length, which offer breath-taking colour throughout the summer months and as if that wasn’t enough Ripon and Knaresborough are home to floral parks in their heart that visitors and families can enjoy throughout the year.
Richard added: “When you combine the town of Harrogate with the district-wide offer, it’s really unbeatable in its diversity of flowers and gardens.”
The Gardens Guide is available in attractions across the district and in Harrogate’s Tourism Information Centre.