Justifiably proud of being "England's Floral District", the Harrogate District overflows with beautiful parks, floral displays and gardens, both public and those belonging to historic houses, castles and abbeys. This strong floral reputation has been verified over and over again with towns and villages throughout the District gaining accolades in national and international competitions, including 'Britain in Bloom' and 'Entente Florale' - the latest award being Harrogate judged the winner of the large town category of Britain in Bloom 1992 Competition and was runner-up in 1997.
The population of Harrogate doubled in the last 15 years of the 19th century, the greater part of the town centre dating from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Its heyday as a spa came in the years before 1914, when European royalty were frequent visitors to the town. The spa recovered some of its vitality in the 1920's and 1930's, but the practice of "taking the waters" fell into decline and Harrogate never recovered its pre-war eminence. In World War II, Harrogate's large hotels provided accommodation for Government offices evacuated from London which pointed the way to a more balanced post-war prosperity from tourism and as a commercial, conference and exhibition centre.
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