With Easter on the horizon, we’ve been thinking about the way it’s celebrated and how we can make more use of local independent businesses – and eat a bit more chocolate in the process, of course.
To give you some inspiration for the Easter weekend and beyond, here’s our Locals’ Guide to Easter in Harrogate.
One of Harrogate’s oldest businesses, Farrah’s has been serving up delicious sweets and chocolate for more than 100 years – and its toffee-making roots go back even further than that. Despite now being exported around the world, the famous Harrogate Toffee is still made at the factory in Starbeck, along with its wide range of confectionery, preserves and more. As this is the Locals’ Guide, we’re focusing on the shop in Harrogate town centre.
Based at the bottom of Montpellier Hill, Farrah’s Food Hall is an Aladdin’s cave of treats. Packs of traditional hand-made sweets line the shelves and, naturally, there is a full selection of toffee, including gift tins and more. Easter is a perfect time to visit and try their mini chocolate eggs and other seasonal goodies.
As the weather warms up, you’ll also find an ice cream counter by the till, selling a range of flavours made by Brymor, based just up the road at Jervaulx near Masham. You’ll find happy customers eating them on the nearby Montpellier Hill on a warm Easter weekend in Harrogate, or wandering through the Valley Gardens.
If you’re hoping to avoid chocolate or look for alternative Easter gifts instead, you’ll find lots of ideas at this quirky independent shop on Parliament Street. Exit’s Easter-themed shop window was unveiled this week, showing off some bright, fun products – and as well as making great gifts, they’ll bring a bit of colour to your own kitchen or dining room for lunch on Easter Sunday.
There’s a wide assortment of egg cups, as well as napkin rings in the shape of rabbits. And if you’re worried about your children’s teeth after the onslaught of Easter eggs, there are some bright lizard-shaped toothbrush holders which are bound to make dental hygiene a bit more fun.
Exit Interiors opened in November 2004, and its current owner Rags Davenport took over three years ago. Its aim is to offer its customers fabulous, unusual homeware gifts and accessories. It offers exactly what an independent shop should: lots of fun things for the home that you wouldn’t find in a high street chain. The shop sources items from across Europe, and is the UK web partner for the German homeware firm Koziol.
Rags says most of Exit’s customers are tourists shopping in Harrogate, but there are lots of colourful and alternative homeware items in the shop to keep local people happy too. And if you can’t make it down to the Exit shop, you can buy from them online.
After you’ve finished all those Easter eggs and eaten a big meal, your thoughts might turn to something a little healthier. If you’re looking for ways to burn off chocolate, Fit Harrogate on Cold Bath Road is a great place to start. It hasn’t even been open a year yet, but is already becoming one of Harrogate’s go-to destinations for fitness and gym wear. Inside, you’ll find some brands you can’t get anywhere else in the North of England, and there’s a range of technical and comfortable yet stylish clothing.
Owners Lyndsay and Jon are working with local fitness providers on a series of #fitupnorth events aimed at inspiring, motivating and educating people to be the best they can. They both have sport and fitness backgrounds, so their advice comes with a lot of knowledge and experience. They recommend buying chocolate from an independent shop or specialist, so you know it’s good quality – and of course, darker chocolate with higher cocoa solids will be less bad for you. If you just can’t resist a sweet treat, eating straight after a work-out will mean your body can use up more of the sugar. Similarly, if you want a big Easter Day lunch, work it off in the gym before you eat. It will raise your metabolism, and can use the roast potatoes to replenish your carbohydrate levels afterwards.
Above all, Lyndsay and Jon say you shouldn’t feel bad if you overindulge – just get back on track afterwards. With the weather slowly improving and the days getting longer, it’s a good time to get out and about and enjoy the gardens and parks in Harrogate.
Finally, if you want to embrace the feeling of spring at home (even if it’s still not very spring-like outside), look no further than Helen James Flowers. With 30 years’ experience in floristry, Helen has a real talent for putting together perfect bouquets and displays, whether it’s a gift for a friend, a centrepiece for a wedding or just something for your own dining table. Her talents haven’t gone unnoticed – she has won multiple awards over the years, including two first prizes and the title of Best In Show at the Spring Flower Show in Harrogate last year.
Helen works with many local businesses to create beautiful displays for their premises, and we’ve been really impressed with her gorgeous creations for Norse, our sister restaurant. She also has a few clients who are lucky enough to have her visit their homes, delivering a new creation every week. And of course, she’s in high demand with brides-to-be who love her striking designs and use of shape, texture and colour in bouquets and flower displays.
At this time of year, the spring blooms are of course in high demand. Tulips, hyacinths, lilies and irises are flying off the shelf, but even in March, Helen has a selection of hydrangeas, gerbera and other summer flowers ready to brighten up any room. Along with greetings cards, potted plants and elegant home decorations, her shop is a perfect place to visit if you’re looking to treat someone else or yourself. If you can’t get there in person, stop by her website to order for delivery.
We hope we’ve inspired you to use some great independent shops in Harrogate for Easter, whether you’re into food, fitness or flowers. If you have a favourite independent business to visit this spring, we’d love to hear about it – just leave us a comment below.
Meanwhile, try our Locals’ Guide to Things to do in Harrogate in the Easter Holidays – perfect for families looking for ways to fill their days in the two-week break. Watch this space!
If you own an amazing independent business and would like to be featured in one of our guides then don’t hesitate to get in touch with Helen (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll try to include you in a future Locals’ Guide.