Wedding Anniversary day!! Decided to spend today chilling out around Harrogate where we are staying in the Old Swan, which was the hotel Agatha Christie was discovered after her 10 day disappearance. The hotel has recently been refurbished but is still in the character and style of a previous age; a wooden revolving door, caged lift in the centre of the staircase and plaster and wooden panelled dining room. There are a number of Christie displays around the hotel, including Murder at the Vicarage stage play programmes framed in our sitting room.
After an excellent breakfast we went to the Mercer Gallery which is about 2 minutes down the road from the hotel. They are holding a special Atkinson Grimshaw (http://www.johnatkinsongrimshaw.org/) exhibition. The Leeds artist is famous for his moonlit Victorian scenes but painted a number of other types which was interesting to see. Viewing the paintings close up was very special and thoroughly enjoyable. There was an excellent guide to purchase with many paintings reproduced and essays which will become a favourite coffee table book at home.
After this we walked next door to the Royal Pump House Museum which shows the history of the spa and health resort of Harrogate. The highlight (erm, well possibly this is an overstatement) was to sample the sulphur water from the spring. Rotten egg smell with rotten egg and salt taste. Disgusting! I’m glad we weren’t on one of the Victorian health regimes which demanded 3 glasses per day (but did allow an hour for reading the morning paper!)
We felt we needed something to resurrect the taste buds so went to Betty’s Cafe to have Afternoon Tea (it was just past 12!) which was gorgeous. Beautiful ham and chicken sandwiches, scone with jam and clotted cream and three small cakes (elderflower, fruit tart and chocolate éclair) with lashings of tea. Food and service were as good as the reputation. Think we will call in tomorrow to get some goodies before going home.
We then wandered around the famous Valley Gardens and then into town before returning back to the hotel for a rest, and dinner.