TRAVEL: Turkish baths, Royal Chinese and afternoon tea in Harrogate

Famed for its boutique shops, stylish restaurants and world famous Turkish Baths, there’s no wonder the North Yorkshire market town has held the title of ‘The happiest place in Britain’ for two  years running; and has been voted the third most romantic destination in the world, beating Paris, Vienna and Rome.

HOW TO RELAX? VISIT HARROGATE TURKISH BATHS

Harrogate Turkish Baths, Credit Visit Harrogate

Get ready to switch off from the real world for at least two hours! The Turkish Baths at Harrogate offer a morning (or afternoon) of pure relaxation and indulgence.

Turkish baths were common in Victorian times, but now only seven remain that date back to the 19th century — and Harrogate has one of them.

A Turkish Baths ritual is a journey of heating, cooling and cleansing the body — promoting a sense of relaxation and a clear mind.

Mixed or single sex sessions take place at two and a half hour intervals throughout the day from 9am-9pm.

  • Your journey begins in the steam room — this hot room with high levels of humidity, combined with eucalyptus infused steam, allows your body to relax, melts away tension in the muscles and opens pores helping to eliminate toxins.
  • You then take a cold shower before entering the heated chambers — first the Tepidarium (warm room), which prepares your body for the hotter chambers; then the Calidarium (hot Room) — an intermediate heated room allowing the warmth to continue its therapeutic effect on the usculature; and finally the Laconium (hottest room), A more relaxing, less intense environment than a modern sauna, the Laconium purifies and detoxifies the body by opening the pores and stimulating the circulation.
  • Between each hot room, you take a dip in the plunge pool. Brace yourself when you immerse your body in the freezing cold invigorating pool. The change in temperature on the body improves circulation, flushes out toxins in the muscles and provides a toning effect.
  • To complete the session, enter the relaxation room — spend 30 minutes cooling down in the elegant Frigidarium to round off the Turkish experience. The bath’s moorish designs with Islamic arches and screens, walls of vibrant glazed brickwork, arabesque painted ceilings and terrazzo floors add to the venue’s historical fantasy qualities.

Sessions cost between £15- £20.50 per person, plus there are a range of complementary and therapeutic sessions available — from reflexology to Turkish aromatic massage —for an additional cost.

 Royal Baths, Parliament Street, Harrogate HG1 2WH // 01423 556746

WHERE TO EAT? ROYAL CHINESE BATHS

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Guests gaze in amazement as they walk through the doors of this breath-taking venue. The former health hospital – part of the Harrogate Turkish Baths – is what you call a venue with the wow factor. One man with a big dream spent in excess of 1.5 million pounds to transform the venue seven years ago – yet the restaurant maintains many of its stunning traditional features.

Everything from the hand painted wash bowls in the toilets to the imported finest quality furniture has be meticulously hand-picked to make The Royal Baths the very best restaurant it can be. Chefs have come from the very best restaurants from around the world to bring you the delights of the East to Yorkshire. Royal Chines Baths serve traditional food as well as cuisine you may not have seen before. The Royal Baths will astound both your eyes and your taste buds – only a visit in person will enable you to really appreciate the impressive venue.

Our recommendations – What to order:

Appetiser:

Malaysian chicken satay skewers (4) – £6.90

Second course:

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Aromatic crispy duck served with pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and dressings) – quarter £12.50 / quarter £23.50.

Main course:

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Stir Fried dancing udon noodles in supreme soya sauce – £7.80 (you’ll be guaranteed never to have seen or tasted a dish like it before! Even Heston Bloomenthal – who dined at the Chinese Royal Baths recently – was baffled as to how the dish was made but the recipe remains a secret.

Beef with green peppers and black bean sauce – £10.50 / egg fried rice – £3.50

Dessert:

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If you leave room for a sweet treat then be sure to check out the dessert menu featuring battered banana with chocolate sauce, sorbet or waffles.

Drinks:

CHAMPAGNE

The venue has an impressive range of drinks on offer from house wines to champagnes reaching into the thousands. Be sure to head to the private bar for a tipple or two after dining.

View the menu here: http://www.royalbathschineserestaurant.co.uk/Menus/Royal-Baths-Food-Menu.pdf

Central Hall, Crescent Road, Harrogate, HG1 2WJ // 01423 536 888

WHERE TO STAY? BEST WESTERN CEDAR COURT HOTEL

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Overlooking the famous 200 acre Stray parkland, the historic Grade II listed BEST WESTERN PLUS Cedar Court Hotel Harrogate dates back to 1671 and sits on the site of the town’s first ever hotel.
Today it is one of Harrogate’s finest four star hotels, combining the building’s grand original features with a stylish modern twist, creating the perfect setting for a break, celebration or business event.
The drive to the venue takes around one hour from Sheffield and free parking is available at the hotel for all guests. On arrival to the venue, drive in to a grand entrance showcasing the beautiful building at its best and park right out front the hotel.

Cedar Court is less than a five minute drive to the town centre and around 20 minutes walking. The rooms are contemporary and boast all of the facilities needed for a weekend break – tea and coffee, chocolates and biscuits, shampoos and lotions were a luxurious touch!

Hungry? The Brasserie Restaurant offers guests the option of many dishes made using locally sourced produce while the lounge bar offers light bites through to afternoon tea and is open to residents and non-residents alike. For breakfast, a hot and cold self-service buffet is served.

Park Parade, off Knaresborough Road, Harrogate, HG1 5AH // 01423 858 585

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