Lucy Playford Harrogate Mama

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Harrogate Mama, Lucy Playford shares her love of her home town Harrogate and the sweet things she enjoys there with her family.

My family and I are so lucky to live in Harrogate! I’ve lived here all my life and this is where my husband and I chose to stay and bring up our family. I work for a living raising our twin girls, nine and the small boy, three. I blog at Harrogate Mama and share what’s great about Harrogate for parents and their families, champion local independent businesses and relate to what life is really like with small children.

Harrogate is a perfect town for families and grown-ups alike, there is so much green space to enjoy, fantastic shopping to partake of and loads of beautiful architecture to soak up.

Here are some of our favourite places to enjoy in the town;


We all love the Valley Gardens

We love to spend time at Harrogate’s most famous park, the Valley Gardens. It’s a Victorian Park and hasn’t changed much in features or layouts over the decades.There is a perfect children’s play area which is suitable for babies right through to teens, and in the summer the paddling pool is filled too, I love to hear my kids laughter as they splash around in it! It’s also a lovely park to walk through – with little paths and trails to follow, a fountain, colonnade, band stand, sun pavilion and wide stepped grass that my kids always love to run up and down! You can feed the ducks, enjoy the tea house at Magnesia Well, watch the motor boats on the boating pond or enjoy tennis or crazy golf!

I was fortunate enough to hold my wedding reception in the Valley Gardens, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

RHS HarlowCarr is our perfect Day Out.

RHS Harlow Carr is a beautiful garden filled with so much to see and do. My children love to run around and enjoy their freedom without restriction, climbing over stone bridges, running over grassed banks and amazing at the floral displays.

There’s a Betty’s at the site too – great if you’re treating yourself to lunch or a Betty’s tea house in the garden if you just fancy a take-out tea or sandwich. The RHS shop sells some lovely gifts which is also perfect for a browse if the weather’s not great.

Look out for extra events too – such as outdoor theatre shows, workshops or festivals. There’s generally something going on. There is a charge to enter the gardens, but membership works out as great value if you’re local enough.

You can read more about Harlow Carr on my blog post Harlow Carr; A Parenting Life Saver.


Betty’s will always be a part of me.

This wouldn’t be a post about Harrogate without a mention of Bettys. The iconic cafe tea rooms will celebrate their centenary in Harrogate in 2019. As a family we love to go to Bettys whether it’s for a family breakfast treat, a cup of tea and cake or to get some treats from the shop.

I worked in Bettys for a brief spell after graduating from university. I have enormous respect for the business and all the staff there, it’s a busy day’s work and their standards are rightly so professionally high! It remains one of my favourite lunch, breakfast, tea, coffee spots in town! You can read more about my Bettys breakfast, with photos on my blog post; Announcing Bettys Breakfast for a Bargain;

Our local independents like Baltzersens are so important.

We’re lucky to have so many independents in Harrogate – I love to champion local independent businesses on my blog, they’re the life blood of our town.

Baltzersen’s is a café that offers the best Yorkshire sourced ingredients prepared with Scandinavian inspiration.

Places like Baltzersens are trail blazing in their field so brightly that they are leaving some of the better known chains stalling in the wings!


My children love to go to Baltzersens for their huge, hand-made waffles, they devour them served with Nutella and fresh cream! A perfect post school scrumptious treat!


Getting a sugarfix from Churros at LaFeria always makes our day

La Feria is another amazing independent restaurant in Harrogate. Their speciality is free-range rotisserie chicken infused with the flavours of Spain and a selection of authentic tapas.

While I adore the ambience, and the decor, it’s their Churros that get the majority of my love at the moment! Their freshly cooked, sugary delight served with the side of hot chocolate, for dipping, makes for a tasty treat whatever time of the day. Fridays and Saturdays they open at 9am so you can get your early morning coffee and churros fix at a time to suit you! Perfect!

Lucy Playford blogs at

Words by Lucy Playford, photos by Catherine Gibbin and Lucy Playford

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