The spa town is in the spotlight as JLife details the many goings on in Harrogate this winter.
Harrogate will light up our screens thanks to a new Channel 5 series about the spa town’s preparations for Christmas. Countdown to Christmas, which previously focused on the festivities of the intu Trafford Centre in Manchester, will centre on Harrogate’s attempts to get the region into the festive spirit, cumulating in the annual Harrogate’s Big Switch On at The Piazza in the Victoria Shopping Centre. The two-part series has been created by the Leeds-based Daisybeck Studios and will air in the run-up to Christmas.
The series mainly follows the Harrogate at Christmas Group, a small team of volunteers that raise money to improve and maintain the town’s Christmas lights and encourage residents to shop locally rather than head to Leeds or York for their yearly festive purchases. The group, chaired by Councillor John Fox – who was mayor at the time of the creation of the group in 2008 – spearheaded the yearly campaign to raise the £20,000 needed to install the Christmas lights. This year the amount raised came to £30,000, thanks in part to a match-funding agreement with Harrogate Borough Council that allocated £10,000 to the pot. And for illuminations away from the hustle and bustle of the shops, RHS Harlow Carr is inviting visitors to see how its garden glows with special lighting effects bringing a touch of magic to the Royal Horticultural Society garden on the edge of Harrogate. Until 30th December you can trek an illuminated trail around the trees and shrubs as dusk falls, with last admissions at 7pm.
One of Harrogate’s most famous shopping destinations, Montpellier Quarter is also bringing out the bunting this year as it commemorates its 25th anniversary since it was established. The shopping area saw the largely residential street be renamed from ‘Low Harrogate’ to ‘Montpellier Quarter’ to welcome new businesses, shops and restaurants to the area. Quarter of a century later and the strip now boasts a very contemporary mix of independent businesses, including exclusive ladies and gentlemen’s fashions, hair and beauty salons, gyms, male grooming specialists, interior designers, kitchen and furniture specialists and Farrah’s famous toffee emporium.
Many of the quarter’s businesses will be taking part in ‘People Meet the People’ a street party and late night shopping event on 14th December, part of town-wide campaign for shoppers and residents to support their local independent stores and food outlets. New Italian eatery, Galo’s Kitchen will be providing canapes alongside The Spirit of Harrogate’s Slingsby’s gin for a gin tasting in the Sutcliffe Contemporary Art gallery. Food hotspots such as The Palm Café, Farrah’s Olde Sweet Shop, Prego Cafe & Bar, Jenny’s Tea Rooms and Major Tom’s Social Bar will be offering deals and discounts to celebrate as well as and donating to Beat, the charitable beneficiary of the event.
Across town, Harrogate Theatre continues its glittering run of shows and productions for its winter season line-up. One such show is Magic of Motown. The live tour, which has been seen by over a million people, packed out Leeds’ Millennium Square last year and features over 40 classic songs from the Four Tops, Supremes, Temptations, Jackson 5, Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie performed by a full cast and band. Keeping with the rhythm and blues, Jools Holland and his world class orchestra will visit Harrogate Convention Centre on 21st December as part of his autumn and winter 2017 tour. This time he brings with him Grammy Award winner José Feliciano, one of the most prominent stars in Latin America and revered musicians in the world.
When the New Year comes around, The Royal Pump Room Museum is offering workshops to discover the museum’s art materials to make thank you cards, calendars and decorate your resolutions for the New Year until the 6th January. The museum will also be celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, so be on the lookout for birthday celebrations next year.
January also signals the renewal of the Harrogate International Sunday Series, which once again invites the best in classical chamber music with performances taking place every Sunday morning until the end of spring. The 2018 edition kicks off at The Old Swan Hotel with Benedict Kloeckner, a German cellist who performs regularly as a soloist with orchestras around the world alongside Momo Kodama, Japanese classical pianist.
For more information, visit Visitharrogate.co.uk.