Happiness is a town called Harrogate – and that’s official.
The town has beaten the likes of York and Shrewsbury and, even, London to be named the happiest place to live in the entire country.
This happy bit of recognition in a survey by property website Rightmove shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, not to a town which can boast The Stray, Bettys and Valley Gardens among its crown jewels.
Anyone who lives there knows exactly how great Harrogate and its fabulous lifestyle is. But to receive the accolade for the third year running is unprecedented and truly remarkable.
Even the man behind the Grand Depart triumph at last year’s Tour de France, Sir Gary Verity, is impressed.
Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Sir Gary said for Harrogate to head the list for the third year running was fantastic: “Harrogate is such a very special place – the great people who live there, the heritage and the history alongside contemporary events too like the Harrogate International Festival and the Great Yorkshire Show. It is such an amazing place.”
As to what makes Sir Gary happy when he visits Harrogate, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The quality of the gardens and all the planting, which give residents and visitors alike so much pleasure.”
Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council said: “Harrogate is a fantastic part of the world in which to live. We are surrounded by some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery, have fantastic shopping, a wide variety of restaurants and cafes, and great entertainment and leisure opportunities - including some unique experiences such as the elegant Turkish Baths.
“As a floral town, we are also extremely lucky to have a significant number of parks and gardens in the immediate vicinity - which are a joy to discover.”
Simon Myring, director of Myrings Estate Agents in Harrogate said the area “really does have it all” - from Bettys tea rooms - famed for serving afternoon teas and Yorkshire Fat Rascal scones - to superb schools, good transport links and the chance to walk in the footsteps of figures such as Agatha Christie.
Harrogate found itself at the centre of a mystery when novelist Christie disappeared after leaving her Surrey home in 1926 and turned up several days later living in a Harrogate hotel.