An accessible guide to Harlow Carr, Harrogate

Jasmine, who is based in Yorkshire, writes about her experience of Harlow Carr gardens with her DogAID-trained assistance dog Max. Despite her health issues which make daily life much more difficult to contend with, the duo love to explore! Together they discover the 58 acres of garden, woodland, pasture and arable land behind the entry gates.

Harlow Carr is an extensive, beautifully maintained garden nestled into the countryside in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The site holds its secrets well, and at first glance it isn’t at all obvious that there are 58 acres of garden, woodland, pasture and arable land behind the entry gates. Maintained by the RHS and Northern Horticultural Society, the grounds stretch over what were previously ancient hunting grounds, natural springs and a spa.

The venue works hard to ensure the grounds are accessible. Most of the gardens are, however there are a few paths with slopes or gravel covering, which can be difficult for wheelchair users. That being said, the majority of the gardens are accessible. It’s also possible to hire a wheelchair or scooter for your visit, allowing you further access if your mobility is restricted.

Harlow Carr is easy to navigate around. There are plenty of parking spaces, and blue badge spaces are generous and as close to the doors as possible. The site is well sign posted, and further information can be obtained from staff in the entry kiosk. There are multiple toilet facilities throughout the site, and assistance dogs are more than welcome. There’s space in the car park outside to allow your assistance dog to ‘spend’ before entering, as well as water bowls, and taps in the garden to fill up your doggie water bottle if needed. One essential companion – your assistance dog – is allowed admittance to the gardens for free, and this has been hugely beneficial to me when I’ve visited! The staff are also very friendly and willing to help wherever needed.

There’s a Betty’s Tearoom conveniently located at the entrance, a perfect place to purchase sandwiches to enjoy in the garden. There are plenty of seats dotted throughout to stop and enjoy the gardens and your sandwich (approximately 200 seats!) There’s also a Betty’s Hut within the gardens, again with plenty of seating provided to enjoy an ice cream or two.

Alongside the extensive gardens, Harlow Carr houses a hedgehog-friendly garden, library and learning centre, children’s play area, large shop, bird hide, olde bath house gallery, and stunning alpine house. There is plenty to see.

Harlow Carr also hosts a number of events throughout the year, from yoga classes to Christmas events. I highly recommend the GLOW event! During the event, the gardens are open past usual opening times, and are lit up to create a stunning night-time display. The gardens are beautiful during the day, but they really come alive during the GLOW event, it’s well worth a visit! One to get in the diary early.

All in all, Harlow Carr has proven time and time again to be a fabulous day out. As the seasons change, the garden changes too. No matter what time of year you go, there is always something new to see. It’s lovely to have somewhere that’s really thought about accessibility, and has clearly worked hard to make their premises accessible to all. Staff are always on hand to help, and happy to answer any queries. They are always happy to see my assistance dog in training, Max; but they also respect his space and the fact he is training, and do not disturb him. I highly recommend Harlow Carr for an accessible day out.

For more inspiration on days out around the UK, see other Days Out blogs

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About the Motability Scheme

The Motability Scheme exists to give customers, their families and carers greater freedom to get out and do the day-to-day things they need and want to do, by enabling them to exchange all or part of their mobility allowance for leasing a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.

If you’d like us to send you more information about the Motability Scheme, request an information pack below or find out how to join.

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