Best Free Places to Visit in Harrogate Yorkshire

Guess what? Harrogate, a lovely spa town in Yorkshire, has a ton of awesome stuff to check out and experience without spending a single penny!

There are lovely shops in Harrogate and inviting cafes to visit, as well as parks, historical landmarks, and picturesque views to discover at no cost. Get your walking shoes on and embark on a budget-friendly adventure!

Table of Contents

places to visit in harrogate yorkshire, things to do in harrogate city centre, free places to visit in harrogate yorkshire

Revealing the Hidden Historical Jewels of Harrogate

  • Valley Gardens: Discover the beauty of 17 acres of well-maintained gardens. Take a leisurely walk through the vibrant flower displays, herbaceous borders, and the impressive Sun Colonnade, showcasing Victorian architecture. The Valley Gardens are accessible round the clock, offering a perfect opportunity for a relaxing stroll at any time.
  • Knaresborough Castle and Courthouse Museum: Visit Knaresborough Castle to see the ancient ruins and enjoy panoramic views of the River Nidd. Explore the courthouse museum to learn about local history. The castle grounds are open every day, and the museum is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Art and Culture on a Budget

  • Mercer Art Gallery: In the heart of Harrogate, you’ll find the Mercer Art Gallery, home to a remarkable collection of British and European art. This collection includes masterpieces by Turner, Lowry, and Moore. The gallery welcomes visitors from Tuesday to Saturday, starting at 10:00 AM until 4:30 PM, and on Sundays from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
  • Harrogate International Centre: This convention center is known for its regular free exhibitions covering a range of subjects. It’s a good idea to check their website in advance to find out what exhibitions are currently on. The Harrogate International Centre is open daily from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Nature’s Playground in Harrogate

  • The Stray: Get away from the busy city and discover the wide open space of The Stray. Ideal for picnics, running, or just breathing in the fresh air, it’s a great place to take a break.
  • Pinewoods: Step out of your comfort zone and uncover the Pinewoods, a sanctuary for walkers and nature enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the tranquil forests as you explore the extensive network of trails.

Outside of Harrogate City Centre: Free Adventures Await

  • Brimham Rocks: Located close to Harrogate, Brimham Rocks is a National Trust site known for its impressive rock formations. Visitors can explore the rock sculptures, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the breathtaking views. The site is open every day from sunrise to sunset. There is a parking fee, unless you are a National Trust member, in which case parking is free.
  • Knaresborough Painted Windows Trail: Wander around Knaresborough on a self-guided walking tour and admire the 100+ brightly painted windows that depict local history and stories.

Family Fun on a Budget in Harrogate

  • Harrogate Library: Book lovers and families will find this delightful library in the center of town to be a true gem. Kids can have fun in their own special area filled with books, toys, and activities, while adults can explore the wide range of books or participate in the various free events and workshops offered throughout the year. The library is open Monday to Wednesday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Thursday from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and closed on Sundays.
  • Harrogate International Centre Play Factored: Although not completely free, the Play Factored events at the Harrogate International Centre are a great deal. These events happen during school holidays and include inflatables, soft play areas, and various activities to keep children happy for hours. Make sure to check their website for event schedules and pricing.

Harrogate’s Architectural Marvels

  • Harrogate Towner Art Gallery: Originally a hotel, the impressive art deco structure now serves as the Harrogate Towner Art Gallery. While certain exhibitions may have an entrance fee, the building itself is a must-see. Take in the elegant exterior and wander through the charming public spaces. Visit the gallery from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Harrogate Royal Theatre: The Harrogate Royal Theatre is a stunning piece of Edwardian architecture with a rich history. Although tickets are needed for shows, you can still appreciate the impressive exterior and glimpse the elegant foyer. Keep an eye on their website for free tour opportunities.

Dive into the Local Events

  • Harrogate International Festivals: Harrogate is a lively place all year round with many thrilling festivals. Some of these festivals even have free events. You can enjoy the famous Agatha Christie Festival, which honors the queen of crime, or visit the vibrant Harrogate Flower Show. There’s always something for everyone. To stay updated on upcoming events and free activities, visit the Harrogate International Festivals website.

Free Walking Tours

  • Harrogate FREE Walking Tour: Join a knowledgeable local guide for an enriching walking tour of Harrogate, completely free of charge. These tours offer an incredible opportunity to delve into the town’s captivating history, uncover its hidden gems, and learn fascinating facts, all while getting some exercise. The tours usually start from a central location and typically span approximately two hours.

So, come explore Harrogate! With its parks, historical sites, and easy access to nearby natural wonders, you can have a memorable and budget-friendly trip to this delightful Yorkshire town. Remember to pack comfortable shoes, a reusable water bottle, and perhaps a picnic basket for a truly cost-conscious adventure.


Harrogate offers a variety of free family-friendly activities. The Harrogate Library is a treasure trove for children, with a dedicated section filled with books, toys, and activities. Play Factored events at the Harrogate International Centre provide fun for a reasonable price. Exploring The Stray, Pinewoods, or Brimham Rocks allows children to burn off energy and enjoy the outdoors.


Yes! The Harrogate FREE Walking Tour is a fantastic way to learn about the town's history, hidden gems, and interesting facts with a knowledgeable local guide. These tours typically last around two hours and depart from a central location.


Harrogate caters to art enthusiasts! The Mercer Art Gallery offers free entry during specific times, allowing you to explore their collection of British and European art. The Harrogate International Centre frequently hosts free exhibitions on various themes. Don't forget to check their website before your visit.


While the spa treatments themselves have a fee, you can still experience Harrogate's rich spa heritage for free. Admire the impressive architecture of the Victorian Turkish Baths and the elegant Harrogate Royal Pump Room. The Pump Room allows you to sample the famous spa water for a taste of history.

Read More

The Rich History of the River Thames The River Thames, meandering through the heart of England, holds within its waters the stories of the nation’s past and present, reflecting its journey from...
Scotland’s dramatic coastlines, crashing waves, and rich maritime heritage make it a dream destination for lighthouse enthusiasts...
The Skerryvore Lighthouse, a towering structure defiantly facing the relentless ocean waves, stands as a testament to engineering prowess. For over...
Get to know Blackhead Lighthouse in Northern Ireland! History, tours, nearby attractions & unique lighthouse accommodation...
Westminster boat trips! Explore London sights from the Thames. Sightseeing cruises, speedboats, dinner cruises & more. Book your adventure!...