It’s a habit, I know, and I should probably pick somewhere new* to go for a week getaway – especially since the cost of going is probably the same as leaving the country… but that didn’t stop me and my boyfriend from going to Harrogate again for a winter break.
One of my fave things when we go is the train journey there – it takes about 3 hours on 3 trains but it’s such a fun little routine that I don’t mind that it takes a little bit of time to navigate our way there. The countryside we travel through from Cheshire to Manchester, Manchester to Leeds and then Leeds to Harrogate is wonderful. Such a nice splice of country and city views that despite taking books with me to read on the train, I never end up doing it; I’m always far too absorbed in the scenery.
We ended up staying in the same place we’ve stayed in the last few times we’ve been – a great building with a few fancy apartments set up for holiday rentals. This time we were on the TOP floor, which was great but god damned it the stairs to get up there were difficult and had we gone the week previous I would actually not have been able to get up there because of my asthma! (I couldn’t even climb one flight of stairs without almost collapsing recently, let alone six flights).
Our itinerary was quite chilled this year, with the decision made early on that we weren’t going to do any Christmas shopping whilst we were there. Without having that pressure I think I enjoyed myself more than ever and that’s saying something.
Of course, with it being December and with winter hitting its stride, we were lucky that we picked our first full day there to go for an epic walk through the park and around the surrounding area because the next few days were drizzly and overcast, perfect for wandering through the town and popping into coffee shops and book shops!
The dreary days meant I didn’t feel too guilty about staying in for lazy mornings spent reading and watching Christmas movies… I watched quite a lot of them. No regrets. I’ve been trying to get more into the Christmas Spirit this year and, so far, so good.
Food is always a fave thing to focus on when we’re away from home, naturally. I spent the week eating all the sourdough and, whilst I feel like I’ve put on a million pounds, I don’t mind the fact that I just let myself not worry about it so much. I also ate all the noodles, pasta and sushi so I can confirm I won at life.
No stay in Harrogate is complete without a visit to the cinema – they have one of the last remaining Odeon cinemas and it’s as cute and as quaint as you’d ever want it to be. My boyfriend actually lived in Harrogate when he was younger so it’s really nice that he gets to relive his childhood when we go and watch a film. This year I waited so that I could watch the new Fantastic Beasts film there, which was a hard thing to do when the trailers and spoilers are non-stop in your face but I actually managed to avoid them all – go me – and the movie was good. I think once I get a chance to rewatch it I might enjoy it better… but it was good enough to have me wanting to re-read all the Harry Potter books again because I love that world so much!
In the end me and my boyfriend re-committed ourselves to our life plan of working out how to ever afford to move there. We know it will take a while to save up to buy a house in the area we want to live but we both also know that it’s what we want for our future – it’s kind of a strange feeling to plan that far ahead but when you know, you know.
Do you every feel like you know you’re going to live somewhere in particular? Even if it’s your home town? I don’t know, lord knows I love a goal!! 😛
Here are my fave places to go in Harrogate:
Hoxton North – A fantastic local, independent, coffee shop who have both great coffee and great food. A must!
Betty’s Tea Rooms – Another must visit, but it gets pretty busy and queues go out the door at peak times. They’ve recently started doing vegan things, finally!
Wagamamas – Yeah, it’s not original, but I never don’t go to Wagamamas on my first night in town. It’s a great size and the staff are great!
Filmore and Union – Another nice little coffee shop/ healthy food haunt. They do great overnight oats and their coffee is A+!
Lush – I love this little Lush because it’s small which means you get pampered by the staff!
Waterstones – One of the only Waterstones stores I’ve been to where it feels like a local bookstore. Locals hang out here in the cafe upstairs and it’s always full of people wandering. I never leave without a book…
Gather & Stow – A quaint little vintage/antiques store just 15 minutes walk from the town center. I’m so happy I got to go because I’ve followed them on Insta for a while and got a little peak in this time around.
*I’m actually going somewhere VERY new next year… exciting times!