Linda Harrison discovers the joys of park life with a weekend stay at The Windsor serviced apartment in Harrogate
Valley Gardens in the centre of Harrogate is one of my favourite parks in the UK.
The Grade II listed 17 acres of leafy park and woodland is glorious at any time of year, with its spa wells and Pump House, Sun Pavilion and colonnades.
You can still imagine the genteel Victorian ladies promenading along its winding paths after ‘taking the waters’ in the famous Yorkshire spa town.
More recently, it got the seal of approval from TV royalty when Alan Titchmarsh apparently declared it his favourite UK public park.
We only live about an hour’s drive from Harrogate, so I’m lucky to be able to visit regularly. And this usually ends up with us sprinting around the flowerbeds and fountains after our four-year-old son, Harry.
So it was a real treat to discover that the main entrance to Valley Gardens would be right on our doorstep during our stay at the Windsor serviced apartment, a luxury self-catering holiday apartment from Harrogate Serviced Apartments.
Situated in the centre of Harrogate, The Windsor is all about location; it’s the perfect bolthole for a mini break to explore all the town has to offer.
It’s a real contrast to what you might expect of historic Harrogate – not least because it’s a new build. But this two-bed spacious ground floor flat is a fantastic find.
With a high spec kitchen, open plan living area and contemporary decor, it’s light, stylish and relaxing. And it’s only a five-minute walk from all the shops, theatres, restaurants and cafes.
The lounge and kitchen open out onto a private patio and garden while there’s private parking for one car via the secure gated entrance.
The Windsor is the latest addition to Harrogate Serviced Apartments, which offers individually designed luxury self-catering apartments in the town.
Arriving late on Friday, we decamped to our gorgeous bedrooms – a kingsize bed with en-suite for us and a double for Harry, both with Egyptian cotton sheets, plenty of wardrobe space and a TV.
The next morning while making breakfast, we got some unexpected visitors – the squirrels who live in Valley Gardens popped over to say hello through the patio doors.
It was such a beautiful, crisp November morning we decided to head straight out and follow them back to the park. Armed with Harry’s balance bike and a makeshift squirrel picnic, we walked over the road and down the steps.
The park was busy with well-heeled dog walkers, families and early morning joggers. Making our way up the path, we walked to the tall trees of The Pinewoods and along the track (this path eventually leads on to the fabulous gardens of RHS Harlow Carr). With a couple of hours of fresh air helping us to build up an appetite, we headed back to town.
After a fab brunch at trendy coffee shop Hoxton North, two minutes walk from the apartment, it was a short walk up the hill for a nosey around the indie shops, galleries and cafes in the Montpelier Quarter and back to Valley Gardens to try out the swings. There was just time for a pot of tea and buttered Fat Rascal (a plump Yorkshire scone) at Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms before carrying a very tired Harry back to the apartment. After dinner and a soak in the large tub, we settled down for the evening on the comfy sofas with a glass of wine.
The beauty of The Windsor is that it’s so peaceful – once you close the door, you can forget you’re right in the centre of Harrogate. Yet you have everything within walking distance.
The Windsor is a brilliant place to stay for exploring Harrogate and this gorgeous part of North Yorkshire. You get to experience the town like a local but with plenty of luxury thrown in. Just perfect.
Getting to The Windsor serviced apartment without flying:
From the A1, exit onto the A661 to Harrogate if travelling from the South, or the A61 signed for Ripon and Thirsk if travelling from the North.
Follow the signs to Harrogate town centre (detailed directions to The Windsor are provided on booking).
The Windsor is within easy walking distance of Harrogate station. Harrogate is about three hours from London by train via York or Leeds.
To book your stay at The Windsor, visit www.harrogateservicedapartments.co.uk. You can book online, or call 07860 142965 to discuss in more detail.
Words: Linda Harrison
Pictires: The Windsor serviced apartment / Linda Harrison