Why RHS Garden Harlow Carr is the perfect family day trip

Visitors enjoying the late spring colour. Children’s Gardening Weekend. RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Visitors enjoying the late spring colour during Children’s Gardening Weekend at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. - Credit: Sirastudio/RHS

Spring has arrived and the Royal Horticultural Society's Garden Harlow Carr is the ideal setting to enjoy sunnier days ahead. Garden curator Paul Cook tells us why Harlow Carr in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, is the perfect family day out.


Q: What makes RHS Garden Harlow Carr so special? 

The variety of growing landscapes and designs we've created here is what makes Harlow Carr special. You can explore areas of still and running water, surrounding both woodland and wildflower meadows. Whether you're looking for open fields with charming backdrops like the Queen Mother's Lake, or a more intimate experience strolling through gardens hidden amongst the greenery, we offer different landscapes to suit everyone, both garden-enthusiasts and day-trippers alike. 

Rhododendrons, primulas, narcissi and hellebores flowering at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Rhododendrons, primulas, narcissi and hellebores flowering at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. - Credit: Sirastudio/RHS

Q: What can guests expect when visiting the garden in Spring? 

The Woodland terraces are truly spectacular at this time of year. Set behind the Old Bath House, you'll find the rock-garden area, providing the perfect backdrop for an array of colour and shapes in the form of stunning dwarf rhododendrons, pompom flowers of primulas, alongside hellebores and trilliums. 

Venturing further into the woodland, you'll be greeted by a delightful display of spring flowers that brighten the base of our old oak trees. Trilliums and corydalis are playfully scattered across the ground, whilst overlooked by our mature rhododendrons. The tree leaves reach full fruition in the spring, and, accompanied by a timeless springtime glow from the daffodils, it’s the perfect time to take a woodland stroll. 

Yellows and golds truly mark the beginning of spring here at Harlow Carr. Hundreds of daffodils hug the Kitchen Garden, circling the Queen Mother's Lake and adding bursts of bright yellow to the Arboretum. Fritillaries and forsythia also appear alongside marsh marigolds at Streamside. 

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The heather beds create blankets of bright and enchanting colours, with those not in flower creating a stark yet dazzling contrast of dark green tones against the pinks and purples of those that have bloomed.

A child climbing the steps through the Woodland Terraces on a spring day at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate, Yorkshire.

A child climbing the steps through the Woodland Terraces at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. - Credit: RHS/Georgi Mabee

Q: Why choose Harlow Carr for a family day out? 

Harlow Carr includes a purpose-built teaching garden created in conjunction with Bramall Learning Centre to promote education and exploration of gardening for both children and adult learners. It offers guided and self-guided learning, with various planting zones for a hands-on experience. 

There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained, and you can finish your spring adventure day with a sunny afternoon picnic in the grounds by the Queen Mother’s Lake.


Q: Is there anything people should know before coming to visit? 

We open 9:30am-6pm daily, with the last garden entries at 4:30pm. Due to Covid-19, confirmation of booking is required upon arrival. You may stay as long as you like once you've entered the gardens, but we do ask that wear a mask in all buildings and enclosed spaces, as well as using the designated entrances and exits for the gardens.

Betty's Shop is open daily for takeaway refreshments from 9am-5pm, and Betty's Tea House is also open for takeaway from 9:30am-5pm. Unfortunately, however, the Cafe Tea Rooms will remain closed until further notice.

Primulas at The Peat Terraces at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England.

'Primula denticulata' at The Peat Terraces at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. - Credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

Q: What are the benefits of an RHS membership? 

The membership grants unlimited visits to any RHS gardens with an adult or two children, and any of our 200 partner gardens for free. You can save money on tickets for RHS shows and 25 per cent off the first-year price when you sign up with direct debit. 

The RHS membership offers its members gardening advice all year round both in person and online. We'll send regular emails with useful tips and expert advice, as well as exclusive content including a monthly subscription to The Garden magazine to inspire you to get growing at home. You can also sign up to My Garden, our online gardening coach for more horticultural tips. 


For more information, visit the RHS website: rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr. You can also email harlowcarr@rhs.org.uk or call 01423 565418.