Resort and spa town in North Yorkshire, northern England, about 24 km/15 mi north of Leeds; population (2001) town, with Knaresborough 85,100; Harrogate Non-Metropolitan District 151,300. Employment is mainly in the service sector, particularly related to conference business, tourism, and finance. A US communications station is located at Menwith Hill.
The town developed as a spa after the discovery of Tewit Well in 1571. It became a fashionable resort and the leading spa in the north of England in Victorian and Edwardian times. The town formerly had over 80 springs (sulphurous, saline, and chalybeate) used for drinking and bathing, and in the treatment of rheumatic, skin, heart, and allied complaints.
Victorian spa facilities include the Royal Baths (1897) and Assembly Rooms; and the Royal Pump Room (1841-42), designed by Isaac Thomas Shutt, and now housing a museum of local history. Turkish baths, sauna, and massage treatments are still available at the Royal Baths. Parks and open spaces include the Stray, a 81-ha/200-acre common to the south of the town centre; and the Harlow Car Gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society to the west of the town. The resort contains many hotels, a large exhibition hall (a centre for trade fairs), and the new Victoria Shopping Centre.
These include the Great Yorkshire Agricultural Show held in July and an International Festival of Music and Arts in July/August. The North of England Horticultural Society organizes annual flower shows.
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