OPINION: It’s a great time to savour the great outdoors - Emma Beaumont, Visit Harrogate
As the days are starting to feel a little cooler we notice the evenings becoming darker and the leaves changing colour.
This is when we start to look forward to the comforts of the new season; children playing in the fallen leaves, long walks to country pubs with roaring fires, roast dinners, cosy jumpers and hot drinks.
Across the Harrogate district there are opportunities to enjoy our wealth of stunning outdoor spaces this autumn from walking routes like the Nidderdale Way and the paths around the Thruscross Reservoir to mountain biking, road biking and bird watching. We have stunning natural scenery for all interests. If you are feeling more adventurous, head up to How Stean Gorge Activity Centre for some canoeing, abseiling, gorge walking and more adrenaline fuelled fun in a beautiful natural environment. Try as many of the activities as you dare in a day.
Near Masham, on the peaceful Swinton Estate, the Bivouac offers a range of relaxed, cosy accommodation for a break in the countryside with easy access to a range of walks and cycle routes for as much or as little exertion as you fancy. The Bivouac’s passion for sustainability promotes a feeling of harmony with the natural environment during your stay.
Fountains Abbey, which we love to visit at any time of year, looks especially stunning against a backdrop of autumnal red and gold trees. Walks extend through the deer park and across the estate. A particular favourite is the Seven Bridges route along a charming winding valley crossing the river at regular intervals and with frequent points of interest to keep younger family members engaged.
If you do have children to entertain this half term Stockeld Park is the place to go for a family friendly Halloween experience suitable for younger children with pumpkins galore to buy and take home. Spooky activities on offer include a skeleton trail and graveyard mini golf. Alternatively, if you have children who enjoy dressing up they may wish to visit Mother Shipton’s in their costumes this half term to enter the competition to win petrified prizes.
It’s never too early to get excited about Christmas and we definitely can’t wait for this one. The Harrogate Christmas Fayre will be bringing traditional market stalls and fairground rides to the centre of town allowing shoppers to access the festive goods and entertainment in close proximity to our main retailers and food and drink offerings. For the safety and enjoyment of traders, townspeople and visitors alike, the Christmas Fayre has a wider, covid-safe footprint, with over fifty stalls spaced apart and running over ten days to allow you to enjoy it at your leisure – hopefully taking multiple opportunities to enjoy the festivities.
An artisan market in Valley Gardens, on the first weekend in December, will be a welcome addition to the Christmas programme this year. Traditional markets will also be held in Ripon, Masham and Knaresborough along with a full programme of festive events such as the Christmas Tree Festival in Knaresborough and late night shopping across all the towns in the Harrogate District. We can’t wait for the trees to go up and the lights to go on. Plan your festive activities at www.visitharrogate.co.uk/Christmas
Visit Harrogate will continue to bring you up to date information, provide travel inspiration and share the interesting stories which make the Harrogate District a must visit destination for all for anyone planning a staycation or day trip. Make sure you keep up to date by subscribing to our newsletter, follow us on our social media channels and visit our website www.visitharrogate.co.uk