Harrogate. The poshos of Yorkshire. We like sensible afternoon teas, walks in the park and making money. Home of millionaires and millionairesses, designer shops and probably the last place in the country to get a Primark. It's frequently named the happiest place in Britain (must be all that healing mineral water). But what does it REALLY mean to come from Harrogate?
1. We’re secretly not that posh. In fact, most of us rarely venture to the ‘posh end’, and born and bred Harrogate residents never set foot in the Duchy estate.
2. McDonald’s is the local hangout if you’re a teenager. Or the Odeon. (See, really not posh).
3. Bettys. Yes, of course we love it too – we’re super proud to be the afternoon tea capital of Britain. But visit the one in the centre of town? Are you crazy? It’s rammed full of tourists nuts enough about tea and cake to queue round the block.
4. Light Water Valley! Growing up we all thought this was the best theme park in the country. Who needs Alton Towers when you’ve got The Ultimate, The Rat, and those awesome skateboards?! Deep in the valley, Light Water Valley…
5. We have a love/hate relationship with The Valley Gardens. It’s great in summer, ‘chav’/squaddie-central at night.
6. Although we call ‘chavs’ ‘scallies’.
7. And getting drunk in The Valley Gardens in your teens is a rite of passage.
8. So is snogging a squaddie outside Maccy-D’s.
9. School rivalry. We have it in buckets. Even as adults we harbour a deep and fierce sense of loyalty to the school we went to.
10. We LOVE pork pies. Or growlers to us Yorkshire folk.
11. The ‘bussy’.
12. Jimmy’s was the worst and best nightclub ever. We all secretly miss its sticky floors – 1, 2 and 3!
13. We also love bitter.
14. In fact we like a drink in general. Figures have shown Harrogatonians drink more than anywhere else in the UK.
15. Pinocchio’s did the best pizza. Fact. It was also THE place to go with your mates, or on big school outings. (When you weren’t outside Maccy D’s). And you could usually get served from the age of 15.
16. Ripley is the best place to get ice cream – definitely in the UK, probably the World. Mr Whippy who?!
17. NEVER try drinking the eggy spa water in the tap outside the Royal Pump Rooms. Even if it is super healthy. Yuck.
18. The Great Yorkshire Show. Sheep. Mud. Cows. Pigs. Gridlock. For three days. And visitors thinking it’s OK to park outside, or sometimes IN, our driveways. ARGH!
19. The annual Harrogate panto is the best and cheesiest thing since sliced bread (topped with Wensleydale)! And we always know someone who’s in it! Look – even the Queen visited!
20. Our mums and dads all went to the Eurovision Song Contest when it was held in the Harrogate International Centre in 1982. They still bang on about it every time Eurovision is on.
21. Conferences. There are loads of ’em, held at the Harrogate International Centre. All the time. They’re annoying.
22. Brimham Rocks! Playing blocky at Brimham Rocks is bloomin’ awesome. As kids we enjoyed scaring our mums jumping from rock to rock.
23. The Great Knaresborough Bed Race. No-one has the foggiest what this is all about except us lot. But it’s one of the most fun days of the year, and always ends in a pub crawl!
24. The infernal, eternal Harrogate one-way system. Enough said.
25. The Stray – it wraps around the centre of Harrogate like a big warm hug! And the minute the sun comes out we all head to The Stray for a picnic and a game of rounders.
26. And twice a year we all get excited by the Harrogate funfair – then moan about how it muddies up the grass.
27. When it snows we all grab a bin bag and go sledging down the nearest hill. Who needs real sledges?
28. And last, but by no means least – Rudy! The local legend who worships the sun and can stop the rain.