The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is thrilled to announce the launch of The Harrogate Arms Café, a brand-new venture bringing together Harrogate history, the beautiful landscapes of RHS Garden Harlow Carr and freshly-picked ingredients for a unique plot-to-plate experience.

Originally built in 1844 by then-owner of the estate Henry Wright, the Harrogate Arms and the nearby Bath House were set in pleasure gardens which are now part of RHS Garden Harlow Carr.

From its beginnings as a hotel, The Harrogate Arms has gone through many changes over the years and is remembered fondly by many local residents and RHS staff. From its popular party nights in ‘The Crag Bar’ in the 70’s and even a special concert from local band ‘Terrorvision’ at the height of their fame in the 90’s, to its most recent guise as a Thai Restaurant, The Harrogate Arms has had a varied history.

Now the RHS are excited to be breathing new life into this once much-loved venue, ensuring the Grade II listed building will be brought back into use for the first time in nearly a decade. Since acquiring the site several years ago, the RHS has been working hard to restore the premises and transform it into a new café with indoor and outdoor seating on the terrace serving a fantastic menu focused on fresh seasonal ingredients with a range of delicious options for breakfasts, lunch, and all-day fayre with artisan coffee. 

 Each day will feature a special menu utilising produce directly from our Kitchen Garden to champion the use of fresh ingredients. It will also showcase some fantastic ways for preserving foods from the garden from the summer so they can be used in the colder and less productive months. Think anything from pickled cucumber to chilli oils and Kimchi!

With the opening of the new Harrogate Arms Café, the garden will also expand to encompass the new site. The landscaping works have opened up views across the garden of the stunning historic building with meadow and mature tree planting planned to link the Harrogate Arms with the Bath House. Swales have been designed in the landscape forming contours that will manage seasonal peaks in rainfall.

Around the Courtyard area, espalier trained Hornbeams have been planted to allow herbs and edible plants to be grown around the feet of the trees and the stone walls in this area will provide shelter and warmth to grow fig trees and other heat loving plants.

Liz Thwaite, Head of RHS Garden Harlow Carr, said: “We can’t wait to re-open this building which holds so many memories for members of the local community and really look forward to welcoming them back to the brand new Harrogate Arms Café. This project has been a long time in the making, as we wanted to create something fresh and exciting for our visitors that celebrates our rich heritage. 

The restoration of the former Harrogate Arms into the new café is the latest stage in RHS Garden Harlow Carr’s vision for the site. Reconnecting the landscape to the buildings represents an important link with the garden’s past and the local heritage of Harrogate as a spa town. The Bath House now serves as an exhibition and event space within the garden.

While it is an opportunity to showcase some of the excellent food produced in the Kitchen Garden, the RHS is also pleased that the cafe will provide new jobs in the area and support local businesses with as much sourced locally as possible.

An official opening event will be held at The Harrogate Arms Café at 9am on Thursday 25th April, including a ribbon cutting ceremony by Liz Thwaite, Head of Site, Mayor, Councillor Michael Harrison and special guests.

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