Are you planning to move to Harrogate? What is it like to live in the UK?
In this Expat Interview, Cory shares her experience and practical tips for newcomers.
You’ll learn useful information to prepare for your new life in Harrogate, such as the cost of living in Harrogate, how to find apartments and jobs, and other practical tips.
What is it like to live in Harrogate?
I live in Harrogate, UK, a wonderful spa town located in North Yorkshire.
I picked this place because it’s one of the safest areas in the country and also one of the most beautiful.
We’re less than an hour away from national parks and areas of outstanding national beauty. The town itself is calm and welcoming and a fantastic place to live.
How to prepare for moving to Harrogate?
Harrogate is a desirable place to live, which makes it difficult to get a rental.
Houses are in demand here, and they are a little above the general house prices in England.
It’s very important that you try and register with as many rental agencies as possible to get help finding the perfect house.
You should also research the areas in Harrogate to see where you’d like to live. Don’t forget to check for schools and GPs and to find out how to register with a doctor.
Depending on where you’re moving from, you’d want to check the local weather and perhaps pack accordingly. Prepare for English rain and invest in good quality waterproofs.
- Moving tips: Relocating abroad? Try Sirelo for free quotes from top international movers that fit your budget. Learn more here.
- Money transfer: I use Wise for my international transfers. Quick, secure, and their fees? Way lower than most banks I’ve tried!
- Expat insurance: Life abroad has its surprises; make sure you’re covered with expat insurance.
Practical information for living in Harrogate
- Emergency numbers: 999
- Phone providers I recommend: O2 and Three. They also have great options for expats who need to use their UK number while traveling abroad.
- Internet providers: Virgin Media is a good choice but check comparethemarket.com for the best options
- amazon.co.uk is the most popular online retailer, and with Prime, most items get delivered the very next day.
- Supermarkets: Best is Waitrose, especially for Harrogate, followed by Sainsbury’s, in my opinion. More affordable supermarkets are Aldi and Lidl.
The cost of living in Harrogate
Please note that all prices below are approximations, and they can vary so much from person to person.
Many young couples live together to save money, and it’s also very normal to live in shared accommodation with flatmates.
Generally speaking, a one-bedroom apartment will vary between 600-1000 depending on the location and size.
Prices for groceries are also varied. Some people like to shop in Waitrose, which can bring their monthly shopping to around £600.
Others enjoy saving at Aldi, which can go as low as £200 a month for two people.
It’s worth noting that the electric and gas right now are a little higher because of the cost of living crisis in the UK.
Normally, the prices are a little lower. Petrol has also been more expensive than usual, so that’s worth taking into account.
I would like to point out that when you apply for a job, you will see the salary BEFORE tax.
So please make sure you calculate what your net is going to look like after paying tax and National insurance contributions.
Your national insurance goes towards your pension and medical.
Healthcare is free in this country and is funded by national insurance contributions as mentioned above.
You do pay for prescriptions, though, but it’s a nominal fee of £9.35 per item. Seeing your GP, or a specialist, or having an intervention does not incur an extra cost.
|Rental price (one-bedroom flat)
|Prepaid cell phone plan
|£200 (if you have a car)
|Average meal/ person
|£30 (for going out with a starter, main, and a drink)
|(Council tax) Approx £120
What salary do you need to live in Harrogate?
To live comfortably, you’d need at least £2000 net a month. However, many young people who share accommodation with others get around £1600 net.
Where to live in Harrogate? – The best areas to stay
The best areas are Cold Bath Road, Valley Gardens, Cornwall Road, Dutch, and Pannal. These are prime locations, and they are quite expensive. But they are safe and beautiful.
How to find apartments in Harrogate?
Ideally, you’d register with all rental agencies to receive email notifications when there’s a new property on the market.
But you’d want to see the houses in person. More often than not, houses in pictures don’t look as they do in reality.
Agents are crafty in taking pictures. They make them look roomier, wider, and brighter.
When seeing an apartment, make sure to check for signs of dampness and mold. Check how cold the floors are and if the windows close properly.
Ensure you check the water pressure and don’t rent a flat that has electric heaters as it will cost too much to heat and the house won’t be as warm.
Transportation in Harrogate
Walking and cycling. Altho there is a good network of buses as well. Most people tend to drive though.
Weather in Harrogate
It varies. But it is a rainy town, much like any other English place. Recently, the summers have been warmer than usual. Some snow is to be expected in the winter.
Good and bad things about living in Harrogate – What you love/dislike.
I love Harrogate because it’s safe and very chic. It looks beautiful and has lots of indie shops and restaurants.
I don’t love that, generally speaking, there are more aged people here than young people. I would love more high street retailers and more interesting restaurants.
What are the best things to do in Harrogate?
To walk in the Valley Gardens and to shop around the center.
I personally love going out to various restaurants and getting out for long walks. The strays are great for long walks in the evening.
Did you experience any difficulties when you first moved here? How did you deal with that?
The biggest challenge was to find the perfect house for me and my husband.
It’s a very competitive market, and you really do need to outshine the rest of the applicants if you are to win the house.
Is it easy to make new friends in Harrogate? Where to meet new people in Harrogate?
I would say it’s so so. I managed to make friends with other expats here, but as I mentioned, the average age is more like 50+, making it a little more difficult to make local friends our age.
Nevertheless, there are ways to meet enough young people and become friends.
Where are your favorite cafes in Harrogate?
There are so many good cafes here. I love Hoxton North, Cafe Lago di Como, Bean and Bud, Starling, and more.
Where are your favorite restaurants and bars in Harrogate?
I love brunch at Ivy Harrogate and really enjoy dinner at Spice Culture (Indian cuisine). Really enjoy drinks at The Badger and North Bar.
Tips for finding a job in Harrogate.
I know from what my friends have told me that it’s fairly difficult to find a job here in Harrogate. Most people find jobs in Leeds or York and commute.
What have you learned from living abroad?
Living abroad can be very rewarding, but it’s not for everyone. It sure is hard.
After a while, you start to question where you actually belong and what place you can actually call home.
No matter how much you try, you feel that you are not accepted fully.
There are great things, too, like making international friends all over the world, learning about new cultures, and learning new languages.
I’m Cory, a Romanian British travel writer and photographer who lives in Harrogate, UK.
I’ve lived in 7 different countries before settling down here in North Yorkshire.
We finally bought a house this year and we’re thrilled to call Harrogate our home. You’ll find more details about my travels and life over on youcouldtravel.com, where I talk about couple travels and mid-luxury experiences. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
The opinions expressed here by Expatolife columnists are their own, not those of Expatolife.