Happiness is a town called Harrogate

People travel for miles to take tea at Bettys

People travel for miles to take tea at Bettys

Harrogate has recently been named the happiest place in the UK in which to live - for the second consecutive year. So what makes this quintissential English town so special?

There's no denying its attractive and historic Georgian architecture. And within the mix of visual candy are castles, abbeys, beautiful countryside and natural springs which means you can enjoy the scenery without spending a penny.

What's more, in its Victorian heyday, Harrogate was quite the spa resort, and one considered to have healing mineral waters.

At that time they would actually drink the foul-smelling sulphuric water for its perceived medicinal qualities. Those days have evaporated but all is not lost.

If you visit the Royal Pump Room Museum you can still see Europe's strongest smelling sulphur well. And there is still a steamy Turkish bath that dates back to 1899 in the ornately tiled Royal baths.

It had a revamp a few years ago, thanks to lottery funding.

Today's therapy is of the retail variety with the most discerning shoppers heading to Parliament Street for its clutch of independent shops.

There are several gardens too. Such as Valley Gardens. It is an English Heritage Grade II Listed garden with 17 acres and some woodland.

To the south there is the Stray - an expanse of 200 acres of open grassland and verges that wrap around the old town - a space created specially for the townsfolk to frolic.

Teatime can be a lovely affair in the town's most famous genteel tearoom. Bettys has been serving a good cuppa for nigh on 100 years. Macaroons, lemon slices and fruity scones called fat rascals are served on a tiered silver cake stand and brought to your table by uniformed staff. This can be washed down with Assam or ginger tea, among others. Perhaps happiest of all is that Harrogate has the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and its two national parks just on the edge of town.

Every year, Harrogate hosts the popular agricultural show and the town is due to bask in the glow of international recognition this summer when Tour de France peloton passes through on both days of the Grand Depart Weekend in July. Happy days.

    Last updated: 12:27pm, June 6 2014