Culture Harrogate

Destination Harrogate operates three historic and cultural sites in the district and provides the cultural hub for our visitor offer, as well as operating our Tourist Information Centres.  The team also look after Harrogate’s collection, made up of 30,000 objects of artistic and historical importance, cared for on behalf of the district.

The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate

The Mercer Art Gallery opened in 1991 in the 200 year old Harrogate Promenade Rooms, one of Harrogate’s first purpose built spa buildings.

The Mercer replaced the first Harrogate Art Gallery that had opened in 1930 in a single room of a first-floor extension to Harrogate Library. As early as the 1950s there was talk of relocating the expanding art collection. A crisis point for the District’s art collection was reached in 1984 when several paintings from the collection were found lying in the flooded basement of the Royal Baths, so in 1985 work began on plans for a splendid new art gallery.

The Gallery displays exhibitions featuring selected items from the Harrogate collection and guest pieces throughout the year and is free to visits for thousands of visitors every year.

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The Royal Pump Room Museum, Harrogate

The Royal Pump Room was built by Isaac Shutt in 1842 to provide shelter for the town’s affluent visitors as they took the famous waters.   At its peak, each summer the Pump Room attracted 15,000 people.

Among its most famous visitors was Tsarina Alexandra of Russia in 1911.  The annexe was added in 1913 to cater for the expanding visitor numbers, and now houses the permanent exhibition and the museum shop.

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Knaresborough Castle and the Courthouse Museum, Knaresborough

A stronghold of medieval kings, Knaresborough Castle is beautifully set overlooking the River Nidd.  Visitors to the site can explore Knaresborough Castle independently or join a tour to discover the history of the King’s Chamber, visit the dungeon and scurry through the secret underground exit (sallyport).  Further history of the castle and the town is told through the castle museum on the same site


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