What makes Harrogate the happiest town in England?

For the third year in a row, Harrogate was voted England’s happiest town in 2015. Meera Dattani finds out what about this North Yorkshire town makes it such a smiley stronghold.

“You have to go to Bettys,” everyone says. “And you have to go to the Turkish Baths.”

Champagne bubbles, three tiers of sandwiches, scones and cakes, pianist tinkling away, and views of picturesque Harrogate… Betty’s Tea Room does deserve its reputation. You might want to raise a glass to the Duchess of Bedford too, who allegedly invented afternoon tea after finding the gap between lunch and dinner too long, the poor thing.

Harrogate, in North Yorkshire, found fame as a spa town and people flocked to ‘take the waters’ after William Slingsby discovered the first natural spring back in 1571.

North Bar opened its Harrogate branch in February 2016 and serves craft beers and Prosecco on tap in the evenings. This dual identity is also something of a trend. Café/bar Hoxton North, vision of a London couple who moved to Harrogate, hosts evening films and talks in their ‘Hoxton North Presents’ programme, while Slingsby’s is experimenting with comedy and art events in its upstairs space.

“When a lot of creative people do interesting things, you feel it,” says one local. At the Spirit of Harrogate in the Montpellier Quarter, their artisan Slingsby gin is proving a hit.

Read more at RoughGuides.com

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