Famed for its Turkish Baths and the expansive green Stray that wraps around the town, Harrogate has garnered the tagline, the Knightsbridge of the North, thanks to its elegant spa heritage.

Walking around its Montpellier quarter with its cobbled streets, antique shops, and tearooms, it’s a gentle stroll to the English Heritage Grade II listed gardens in regal low Harrogate -the glorious Valley Gardens.

For Christmas shoppers, it’s easy to see the allure. A walkable town, with plenty of pit stops to refuel, with its dozens of bars, cafes, restaurants, and hotels.

This year, the town is putting extra tinsel on the tree, with fairground attractions, a street train, ice rink, and Christmas markets.

The whole shebang is anchored by the four-day Country Living Christmas Fair, a festive event that celebrates the best of British craft, food and drink, and countryside living.

Great British Life: Be inspired at the Country Living Christmas Fair. (c) Country LivingBe inspired at the Country Living Christmas Fair. (c) Country Living

It’s not surprising it has called Harrogate home for over a decade, a town where wellies and heels both works, with its down to earth Yorkshire charm and cosmopolitan vibe.

Each year, the Country Living Christmas Fair takes over the halls of Harrogate’s Convention Centre for four colourful days, as hundreds of artisans, crafters, designers, and independent producers showcase their latest wares.

Shoppers who want to make a mini-break out of it, can also explore world-class attractions on the town’s doorstep.

Great British Life: Visitors enjoy the Glow illuminations at RHS Harlow Carr. (c) RHSVisitors enjoy the Glow illuminations at RHS Harlow Carr. (c) RHS

RHS Harlow Carr Gardens on the edge of the town offers a ‘Glow’ trail for the winter evenings. The world heritage site, Fountains Abbey, in neighbouring Ripon has a Christmas music and lights show, and in the heart of the countryside in Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the natural wonder, How Stean Gorge, an adventure playground of gorge walks, high wires, abseiling and canoeing. This year, they’re offering wreath making workshops.

This year’s Country Living Christmas Fair features a food and drink emporium, skilled tutors who host craft workshops to create your own festive decor, and an interactive Christmas Table with expert chefs, where you can learn how to make cocktails and canapes.

But the ultimate allure is over a hundred stalls of unique Christmas gifts, from artisans across the UK. This year, there’s a strong Yorkshire flavour on offer too.

Some of the Yorkshire producers on show include Lást Maps and Prints. Lást is a small design studio run by couple, Thomas Moore and Angel Jones, based out of York. Lást is old English for ‘footprint or track,’ and the duo specialise in maps and custom artwork that celebrates adventure and the natural world. Everything is hand drawn.


Continuing the adventure, literally, Yorkshire Trails is also exhibiting at the Fair. They offer easy-to-follow trails which take in fascinating sights along the way, with a twist - each trail has a treasure hunt, murder mystery or spy mission to complete. Perfect for families or groups of friends, trails focus on the Yorkshire Coast, Yorkshire Dales National Park, Herriot Country, Bronte Country, the Yorkshire Wolds and more; it offers over 60 Trails in Yorkshire.

If that makes you feel hungry (and thirsty) food lovers can indulge in gifts and hampers straight from the Yorkshire Wolds from Charlie & Ivy’s, an award-winning brand, using its own cold pressed Yorkshire rapeseed oil in all of its products, which secured them a Great Taste Award. They produce seriously, tasty dippers, dressing, and mayo crafted at the family-run farm. And the award-winning Yorkshire beer and gin, Isaac Poad, is also exhibiting at the fair. The brand uses original recipes and traditional methods for a unique, crafted drinking experience.

Country Living Christmas Fair, 30 November-3 December, Harrogate Convention Centre. countrylivingfair.com/harrogate/