What you need to know before you move to Harrogate
07 Jan 2022
An article by Alexandra Goss in The Times which appeared Friday 7th January - Bricks & Mortar
The posh spa town in North Yorkshire.
Harrogate has beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture, plenty of greenery and good schools (four secondaries, two state and two private, are in The Sunday Times Parent Power guide to the country’s highest achievers). All of this makes for very content locals: the town is the third happiest place to live in Britain, according to Rightmove. The rapid rate of housebuilding in the area causes some consternation, however – there are more than 20 new developments, as well as many other small brownfield developments and conversions.
Is it well connected?
There are recently upgraded trains in Leeds (from 30 minutes) and York (from 34 minutes), as well as six direct services each day to London King’s Cross (from 2 hours 59 minutes), otherwise changes at Leeds or York. Buses run every ten minutes from Leeds to Ripon via Harrogate, although most locals have a car – traffic permitting, you can be at the Yorkshire Dales in 25 minutes and Leeds Bradford airport in 30 minutes. There are plans to improve the walking and cycling links to the bus and railway stations and the town centre to reduce the dominance of cars.
What are the shops like?
Many have closed because of the pandemic – residents have bemoaned the boarded-up frontages – but the town still has plenty of places to flex your plastic, including upmarket chains the White Company and Space NK, as well as independents such as clothing shop porters and the Imagined Things bookshop. Culture-wise, there are two cinemas and an active festival scene, with the Literature Festival, the Crime Writing Festival and Berwins Salon North, which features digital TED-style talks about science, art and psychology.
Where can I eat?
Although it is best known for Bettys, England’s most famous, and overhyped, tearoom, these days Harrogate’s dining scene is more hipster than hip surgery. There’s an outpost of the Ivy, the coffee shop Hoxton North, and Cold Bath Road, a hub of artisan coffee shops, bars and restaurants. “It’s Harrogate’s answer to Notting Hill,” says Stuart Bleasdale, the branch manager of Beadnall Copley estate agency.
Solicitor Nicola Wilson, thinks the independent cafes are one of the best things about her hometown; she rates Baltzersen’s, a Scandinavian-inspired place that uses Yorkshire ingredients. “Harrogate is also popular with cyclists and has several large, welcoming clubs for those who prefer not to cycle alone,” she says.
What about green space?
There’s a lot of it – from the Stray, 200 acres of parkland beloved by dog walkers and Sunday footballers, to the Valley Gardens and RHS Harlow Carr. There’s stunning countryside all around, with the Sales to the west and the North Yorkshire Moors and the Howardian Hills to the east.
Is it expensive?
Not half. The average property sells for £386,416 – up to 9 per cent in the past year, according to Rightmove, and on several streets the average house costs more than £1 million. The town’s heartland comprises Victorian terraces, converted apartments and pre-war semis and detached houses, often with good-sized gardens.
Many homes – especially those near the Stray and within walking distance of the centre – go to sealed bids or sell off-market. Four or five bedroom homes in these areas cost up to £1.5 million, whereas two bedroom terraces on the fringes of the town cost from about £180,000.
What’s the downside?
The traffic. The housebuilding and the council’s drive for more car-free zones leave the town gridlocked several times a day. However, as well as the plans for more pedestrian and cycle routes, investments are being made into electric buses.
Move here if …
You can WFH. In 2020 the comparison website Uswitch named Harrogate the best place I the UK for remote working because of its superfast 60Mbps broadband.
Those Zoom calls are set to get even sharper when CityFibre has installed its full-fibre network, enabling speeds of up to 1Gbps. The work is due to be mostly complete by the end of 2023.
Don’t move here if …
You don’t like football. As almost any local will tell you, the England manager Garth Southgate lives nearby and is Harrogate’s favourite adopted son.
Grove Road, Harrogate: This Victorian terraced house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an electric car charging point. It’s on the market for £395,000 with Beadnall Copley.
Leadhall View, Harrogate: A ten minute walk from two of Harrogate’s top secondary schools, this five bedroom detached house has a garden with a summerhouse. It’s on sale with Beadnall Copley for overs more than £1 million.
Edited from an original article by Alexandra Goss, The Times, 07.01.2022.
And Beadnall Copley’s opinion: We opened our first Beadnall Copley office in Harrogate having identified it as being a very much sought-after location for home owners and as such we were confident of being able to grow a successful business from here. It worked and we’ve now grown to a branch network of three – with the market town branches of Wetherby and Ripon strengthening the business further.
As The Times article demonstrates Harrogate is one of the country’s top property hotspots and the town continues to prosper. And our favourite tearoom Betty’s – overhyped?!? - it’s worth all the hype and remains a firm favourite with residents, visitors and Beadnall Copley!
P.S. you don’t need to love football to move here… but it helps.