Is Harrogate the new society hotspot?
Hooray for Harrogate! Town branded ‘chic capital of the North’ by Tatler is fast becoming a society hotspot thanks to its Michelin-starred eateries, party venues and local aristocrats with VERY scandalous family histories
- North Yorkshire town Harrogate was dubbed best place to work from home in UK
- Society magazine Tatler has revealed it’s guide to the best hotspots in the region
- Includes Harrogate millinery loved by guests at Ellie Goulding’s lavish wedding
- Reveals how residents can hire Marquess of Downshire’s daughter for catering
Well-heeled city dwellers are escaping to the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, in search of more space in which to enjoy the freedom of working from home.
But it is not just the Cotswolds, Home Counties or the South West that are attractive to urbanites from London, Manchester and Birmingham seeking to relocate.
Yorkshire is second only to Cornwall in the list of dream destinations, The Times noted today, while Tatler this week declared the town of Harrogate ‘the new chic capital of the North’ – a sure sign that it is fast becoming a society hotspot.
In its guide to the region, Tatler revealed how residents can hire the Marquess of Downshire’s daughter to cater for their dinner parties, host their own themed bash at Ripley Castle and have a hat made by celebrity approved milliner Jenny Roberts.
There are also plenty of well-heeled neighbours to bump into, with David Lascelles, the 8th Earl of Harewood, living just outside the town.
Here, just a few of the things that make Harrogate worth a visit…
RUB SHOULDERS WITH ARISTOCRATS WITH STORIES TO TELL
If you’re looking for dinner companions with plenty of stories to share then look no forward than Simon Howard and his wife Rebecca, who were ousted from the family seat of Castle Howard (pictured), an hour’s drive from Harrogate, in 2014 by Simon’s brother, Nicholas
If you’re looking for dinner companions with plenty of stories to share then look no forward than Simon Howard and his wife Rebecca, who were ousted from the family seat of Castle Howard, an hour’s drive from Harrogate, in 2014 by Simon’s brother, Nicholas.
Shortly before Christmas that year, Simon, who had run the 10,000-acre estate for 30 years and was suffering from throat cancer, received an eviction order from the legal team acting for his older brother Nicholas.
The eviction notice led to him moving out of the historic building, which has been home to 10 generations of the Howard family, with his wife and two daughters in June 2016.
However Simon and Rebecca didn’t go far and can now be found at Welham Hall, located 10 miles from the Castle Howard estate.
Invite them for dinner and you might just find out what happened behind-the-scenes that led to the dramatic move, something that has never been aired in public.
Closer to Harrogate is another Yorkshire aristocrat with a scandalous family history: David Lascelles, pictured, 8th Earl of Harewood and a cousin of the Queen
Closer to Harrogate is another Yorkshire aristocrat with a scandalous family history: David Lascelles, 8th Earl of Harewood and a cousin of the Queen.
A great-grandson of King George V, the Earl, who is 60th-in-line to the throne, was brought up in a rather racy household. His father, the 7th Earl of Hare-wood, had a scandalous affair with a model, which led to an illegitimate son, Mark.
There was a huge outcry and David’s mother, Marion, divorced his father in 1967. This very public adultery meant he was an outcast in royal circles for years.
Out of the frying pan into the fire. Marion then went on to marry Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe.
Little did she know that Thorpe, a closet homosexual, had had an affair with former model Norman Scott before they had wed. Thorpe was later acquitted of conspiracy to murder Scott. Marion never divorced him, standing by him throughout the ensuing scandal and trial.
David, who lives in Harewood House, the magnificent family pile in West Yorkshire, went on to repeat the pattern set by his father, having two illegitimate children, Emily and Ben, before having two legitimate sons with his first wife, Margaret Messenger.
PARTY IN STYLE WITH BLUE-BLOODED CATERERS
Just a ten minute drive from Harrogate lies Ripley Castle, (pictured) a 14th-century country house on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
The Marquess of Downshire’s daughter and Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Lady Georgina Anderson (pictured left) is available to cater for dinner parties
Now that you’ve got the guest list, you need to plan a big bash.
Just a ten minute drive from Harrogate lies Ripley Castle, a 14th-century country house on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park which has been home to the Ingilby family for 700 years.
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
If you’re looking for the perfect accessory to attend your next lavish party, fine jewellery and luxury watches retailer Ogdens is a favourite of Tatler.
The family run business has been trading since 1890, and in 2006 presented His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales with a Breguet watch when he visited the town.
Jenny Roberts’ ‘Original British Millinery’ can be found on Cold Bath Road in Harrogate
The designer was in huge demand ahead of the wedding of pop star Ellie Gouldin who was watched by royalty as she tied the knot with Old Etonian Caspar Jopling.
Jenny Roberts Millinery can be found on Cold Bath Road in Harrogate
For a hefty fee the castle can be yours for the night, to hire out for weddings and parties, with the Ingilby family even hosting themed nights including Moulin Rouge and Game of Thrones inspired bashes.
The region is also home to the Yorkshire Party Company who provided vegan catering for the lavish event held at the Grade I- listed stately home Castle Howard in North Yorkshire.
If that isn’t appealing enough, the daughter of the Marquess of Downshire’s daughter and Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Lady Georgina Anderson is available to cater for dinner parties.
Lady G, who grew up in Yorkshire, is specialise in outside catering for weddings, dinner parties, special events, shoot lunches, holiday let catering and retreats and offers three course private dining experiences from £55 per head.
And for the end of the meal, there is nothing better than Taylors of Harrogate tea. Established in 1886, Taylors of Harrogate is a Yorkshire family business dedicated to the craft of tea blending and coffee roasting.
Today it holds the royal warrant as a beverage supplier to Prince Charles.
STAY IN FIVE-STAR LUXURY
For those visiting the region, luxury Rudding Park is a must, with the likes of Crown Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco among the hotel’s former guests.
The five star hotel occupies a Georgian manor on 300 acres of parkland within three miles of both the 14th-century Knaresborough Castle and the wall at Mother Shipton’s Cave.
Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior have also been guests at the five star hotel, which in 2019 was awarded ‘Spa of the year’.
A newcomer to the Yorkshire hotel scene is the very grand Grantley Hall, which has been attracting the rich and famous since it opened its doors last July.
Grantley Hall has been attracting the rich and famous since it opened its doors last July
The 18th-century Palladian pile has been transformed from a dilapidated adult education college into a glittering spa hotel by Valeria Sykes — ex-wife of property billionaire Paul Sykes — who pummelled £70 million into the project after spotting the ‘for sale’ sign in 2015 while driving past.
The charming staff wear thick, woven waistcoats and are on hand to help with essentials like welly boots when the rain comes down.
The hotel also boasts a beautiful spa that’s perfect for a little R&R.
Charming: Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in Harrogate, which celebrated its centenary last year
In the heart of Harrogate is Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, where pinafored waitresses with plaits have been serving cream teas since 1919.
Bettys, now a Yorkshire institution, has somehow managed not only to survive the deluge of coffee shops that now dominate our high streets, but celebrate its centenary last year in prosperous health (it turned over £208 million in 2018, with a group operating profit of £11.2 million).
North Yorkshire as a whole boasts three restaurants with Michelin stars, all of which are worth a visit.
Deep within the Yorkshire Dales National Park sits The Angel, a stunning stone-built inn with 15 century origins, which now boasts a modern style complete with concrete floors.
The Michelin guide says: ‘The exuberant serving team explain every dish as it’s served and the kitchen are proud to use Yorkshire produce, although also aren’t afraid to go further afield on their hunt for the country’s finest ingredients.’
Less than an hour’s drive from Harrogate is the Black Swan, owned by the Banks family, who’ve farmed the area for generations.
It is described by the Michelin Guide as being ‘centred around a characterful little pub with exposed beams, flagged floors and an open fire.’
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