RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate Review
Harlow Carr!!! It’s been on my list of places to visit for as long as I can remember. Though being in Harrogate it was just like little bit too far for a day trip for us, especially without a car. And sooo… we had a little break in Harrogate, stayed over the night and finally made it to RHS Garden Harlow Carr. I LOVED it!!
RHS Garden Harlow Carr is one of four public gardens run by the Royal Horticultural Society. Harlow Carr is the newest of the RHS gardens on the western edge of Harrogate. Quite simply, Harlow Carr is a spectacular garden and a delight in every season. The gardens are accessible with lots to see and explore, plus it’s very family friendly. There is a Betty’s tea room cafe, toilets, parking and a local bus stop from Harrogate. A garden library and gift shop is open daily.
I love outdoorsy days out and gardens are my favourite type… yes, Harlow Carr did live up to my expectations, it was quite simply beautiful and amazing and fun, better than I expected. It was so cold though, I can’t wait to go back in warmer weather. But seriously, look at these beautiful autumnal colours… just, wow. It’s hard to believe it’s real, but it honestly is! I didn’t edit these photos.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr is open daily apart from Christmas Day, 9.30am – 6pm (4pm November – February).
RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate Review
There’s always something going on at Harlow Carr. It had just been October half term with a room on the broom inspired trail when we went. Sad we missed it, but glad we avoided half-term as the gardens were so quiet! Even though it was term time we still got a little spotters trail for Eric, but there was so much to see we didn’t end up completing it.
I wasn’t sure how good it would be for children. Of course, outdoor type of days out are always suitable for little ones because they can just explore and roam free, but what I wasn’t expecting was how deliberately child friendly and attractive Harlow Carr was. RHS have made an effort to make it a really fun day out with lots of play areas, we just loved it.
It was really exciting to get a map on arrival, the staff were very friendly telling us where the best parts were for kids and the best play areas to check out. The map of Harlow Carr was much bigger than I expected and I was worried if we would fit it all in! Turns out we didn’t!
To start with we headed for the woods along a variety of little paths, passing bridges and really pretty landscaped garden areas. The colours of autumn here were amazing and to see the falling leaves it was pretty spectacular. We stumbled across as BFG sculpture here, too, huge thing and really funny to have photos with!
I didn’t expect, at all, to explore so much woodland at Harlow Carr. I expected more landscape gardens with pretty flowers everywhere, and yes there is lots of that but the woodlands are amazing, too!! And it is just the right balance of landscaped gardens, plants, flowers, exotic areas and these fantastic woodlands which just go on and on and on.
The childrens play areas are nestled in the woodlands amongst the trees. The first one we found had a monster head with a slide as a tongue, Eric loved it, and here we sat on picnic benches for a snack.
A little further up in the trees we explored and found a big spider sculpture and kitchen gardens. Things to see and do just went on and on, it really felt as if we could have seen new things all day before turning back to carry on the actual path!
Another play area in the woods had the most fantastic wooden tree house and wobbly bridges. It was so quiet and we were the only ones around… very atmospheric!
Eric absolutely loved all the exploring. Just near the wooden tree house play area we found yet another playground, with more picnic benches, a little boat, sculptures and a slide.
By this time I really thought “wow” at the place… so much to do and discover. Our time was really running out, we had been there all day and all getting quite cold but yet there was a lot more to see.
The prices were £11.50 adult and under 5’s free. I thought the price was very reasonable but even better was the offer of an RHS membership. Membership was on offer at the time we visited, something like £30 for a year for individual membership, with the price of our entry taken off. An individual membership for RHS gardens is usually £45 individual, that includes family guest or 2 children free (and under 5’s free), plus entry into 200 RHS gardens. If I drove, I would definitely have considered it. Definitely see if there’s any offers on arrival if you’re interested in a membership as it was cheaper than the prices on their website.
Betty’s Tea Room is incredibly popular and yes, we did pop in for a coffee, but I can’t say much more than that. Tea rooms aren’t really our thing, we were all a bit tired and cold, plus they didn’t have 1 vegan option. I didn’t have high expectations so I wasn’t disappointed; we took our own drinks and snacks, and had dinner back in Harrogate that evening.
I would really love to go back when the flower show is on. 21-23rd June, and it’s my birthday on the 25th so maybe we should have another trip there!
In Harrogate itself, we didn’t get up to much; it’s a very small town with a focus on shopping (not a fan of!) but enjoyed a wander around. There are so many nice places to eat and drink. The best thing about the ‘centre of Harrogate’ has to be Valley Gardens….
“The Valley Gardens Harrogate are English Heritage Grade II Listed gardens situated in regal Low Harrogate, which along with woodland, are known as The Pinewoods cover 17 acres.”. Valley Gardens are free to visit and has a fantastic playground, highly recommend it!
All in all a fantastic trip and I definitely have Harlow Carr on my list of places to visit in 2019.
Have you been? Did you love it as much as I did?!