With the British weather finally serving up a spell of brilliant sunshine, what better way to spend a day than roaming around an RHS garden in Harrogate Yorkshire. Enjoying a picnic from Betty’s and getting ‘back to nature’ with Inntravel and Swiss Tourism for the Great Swiss Picnic?
I was jolly excited to be invited along to the Great Swiss Picnic with Inntravel and Swiss tourism to learn a little about the natural beauty of Switzerland. Joyfully accepting the invitation Mother dearest and I hopped on a train over to Harrogate, Yorkshire to enjoy a simply marvellous day.
Harrogate is a pretty spa town in North Yorkshire, England surrounded by natural beauty. Harrogate boasts an impressive array of shops and tearooms including a few personal favorites like Jo Malone, Hotter Shoes, Laura Ashley and Farrow & Ball.
One of Harrogate’s most popular spots for a bite to eat and cup of tea is the legendary Betty’s. We popped into Betty’s for a light bite before being collected and taken the RHS Harlow Carr for The Great Swiss Picnic.
Upon arrival to RHS Harlow Carr we were kitted out with a backpack packed with a picnic from Betty’s, a blanket and some of Switzerland’s most famous exports- chocolate and cheese. We headed off with our backpack to explore the spectacular gardens of RHS Harlow Carr.
RHS Harlow Carr is one of four public gardens run by the Royal Horticultural Society, we were very fortunate to experience the stunning gardens in full bloom. Our walk around the gardens would lead us to discover the wide, vibrant range of planting and carefully landscaped areas.
RHS Harlow Carr is a rich tapestry of contradictions where winding streams and natural planting are woven elegantly with formal lawns and hedgerows. The juxtaposition between the wild flower meadows, ramblings woodlands and the neat ornamental grass borders and pretty floral beds has been so cleverly considered, resulting in a surprise at every turn.
Hosting the Great Swiss Picnic in Harrogate in conjunction with Betty’s tearooms was very apt. Betty’s was founded by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss baker and confectioner who came to England in search of opportunities to develop his craft skills. He opened his first Café Tea Rooms in Harrogate in 1919 and named it ‘Bettys’. The reason why remains a mystery to this day. Following our walk around the gardens we sat down to enjoy our picnic.
Suitably stuffed we headed to the lake to meet up with the team from Inntravel, Swiss Tourism and Engadin St. Moritz. Inntravel are a leading tour operator based in North Yorkshire specializing in slow holidays. Inntravel pride themselves on offering holidays that let you discover the lesser-taken path with an array of walking, cycling and snow holidays to choose from. Inntravel use almost exclusively family-run hotels and suppliers ensuring they support the local economy of the regions that feature in their programs. If you like the sound of ‘slow holidays’ take a peek at the Inntravel website.
We heard all about Switzerland, nature and holidays, which quite frankly- could not have sounded much more appealing. We heard all about Engadin St. Moritz about the natural beauty, where the breathtaking mountains meet the lakes and cattle graze. We heard about the mountain railways, the national parks and the opportunities to grace the snowcapped mountains for skiing and winter sporting holidays and how skiing wasn’t actually considered a sport until the British capitalized it. What a fabulous setting to learn of such wonderful places!
Our afternoon progressed with a wander around the kitchen gardens (part of any garden I’m always fascinated by) there were artichokes, green beans, strawberries, carrots, root veg of most varieties and all more herbs than you could shake a stick at.
RHS Harlow Carr boasts not one but two Betty’s with a small al fresco tearoom serving refreshments and a rather delightful much larger tearooms in the conservatory of the main building with outside decking providing a full food and drinks menu. You’ll also find a rather impressive garden centre, where I’m certain we would have picked up a few bits had we been in the car.
We ended a truly fabulous day with strawberries and cream at Betty’s and a prize draw (we didn’t win) before hitting the road with big smiles and a little more colour in our cheeks than when we first set out on our journey back to nature. Special thank you for Swiss tourism, Betty’s and Inntravel for such a lovely day.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” ― Sylvia Plath