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PA Life Club members enjoyed a warm Yorkshire welcome and fantastic hospitality at Pavilions of Harrogate and Yorkshire Event Centre on our overnight FAM Trip on June 7th and 8th. The two large event venues are owned by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society charity who support the local farming community and local schools too…

This was PA Life Club’s first event in the North of England and there couldn’t have been a lovelier location than the pretty and vibrant town of Harrogate to introduce our members to the best venues in the area.

Harrogate is referred to as the most elegant town in Yorkshire, built on its position as a fashionable spa resort during the Victorian era. Its heritage continues in the Montpellier Quarter with the Royal Pump Room Museum. You can still enjoy the benefits of the local mineral waters in the Moorish-style Turkish Baths & Health Spa. Another must-visit institution in Harrogate is the famous Bettys tea room dating back to 1919. A great place for lunches and afternoon teas, and their shop stocks gorgeous gifts with corporate gifting options available online. Bettys owns Taylors of Harrogate and Yorkshire Tea and have five tea rooms in Yorkshire, refusing to open any outside the county.

First stop The Cedar Court Hotel

We stayed at a fantastic hotel – the grand Cedar Court Hotel – which is located close to the town centre, only a mile away from the showground. We were welcomed by Joelle Mountain, Director of Sales, the over a glass of bubbly and a show round of entertaining spaces, including the new Ambers Restaurant. The stunning 19th century rooms had recently been renovated with bold colours and fabrics, and the results were truly striking. The bedrooms are being given an overhaul too and are planned for completion early next year.

Time to explore the Yorkshire Event Centre

We arrived after a short taxi ride from the hotel at the award winning event venues at the Great Yorkshire Showground to be firstly treated to a fun surprise. It was time to experience a golf buggy ride across the green lawns of this vast showground to first have a look around the Yorkshire Event Centre. We were greeted and show around this huge 6,270m2 exhibition venue by Fiona Stilborn, Group Head of Sales. It offers flexible space across two purpose-built halls with access to the 200 acres of the Great Yorkshire Showground should you want to entertain your guests in the open air. When you are looking for scale then this is perfect for larger events from 500 delegates to dinners for 2,000.

Dinner at Pavilions of Harrogate was a feast of delicious Yorkshire produce

It was then time to get back in the buggies for a rather windy ride back to Pavilions of Harrogate where our hosts Ben Chatburn and Lucy Wilde welcomed us at the stylish ‘royal’ suite. That’s where VIP guests and royalty are entertained during the Great Yorkshire Show. The venue has over 2,300 square meters of event space covering 14 rooms all of which have access to or views over the 250 acres of the showground. Complimentary car parking for 500 cars is available on site.

Wine and food was very much the focus throughout the evening as you would expect from an agricultural venue. We started with a lovely English sparkling wine, Roebuck, supplied for House of Townend who also treated us to the perfectly paired wines throughout our dinner.

Our discovery of local and seasonal food started with gorgeous canapes. All the food was prepared superbly by Kings Catering, using local produce and supplied through Fodders – a Yorkshire institution where foodies and lovers of fresh sustainable food do their shopping.Ben Chatburn and Lucy Wilde, Pavilions of Harrogate.

Five-course Great Yorkshire Tasting Menu

We really were in for a wonderful treat with an impressive five-course Great Yorkshire Tasting Dinner which started with a lovely appetiser of pea veloute, with spearmint infused olive oil and paired with Kuki Marlborough Riesling from New Zealand. Our starter was a succulent local pulled ham pressing with Reet Yorkshire piccalilli and watercress, paired with Les Deux Grieves Marsanne Viognier, from France. Any vegetarian and pescatarians amongst us were equally pleased with their options I must add.

The main course of Spilman’s asparagus risotto with Pennine roast chicken and pea shoots made a wonderful summer dish and was cooked beautifully. Pairing with French Big Beltie Sauvigon Blanc. The chosen wines where all white which suited the summery theme of the dinner perfectly.

We were pleased to see the a classic Eton Mess, with famous local Annabel’s strawberries, arrive as our sweet pudding. And it went down very nicely with an Italian version of Kir Royal – Pure Prosecco with raspberry puree. It was a lovely sweet dish and prepared us well for the awesome cheese platter to come.

The selection of Yorkshire cheeses was presented on a slate platter and looked irresistible, and tasted even better. We had Leeds Blue Pecorino, Kit Calvert Wensleydale, Smoked Wensleydale, Fen Farm Brie and Harrogate Blue paired with 10-year old chilled tawny port, from Portugal naturally. A great way to enjoy port – we all agreed with that as we topped up our glasses.

More about Pavilions of Harrogate and Yorkshire Event Centre

The Yorkshire Event Centre and Pavilions of Harrogate are set to welcome thousands of visitors over the coming year, helping to contribute millions of pounds to the local economy. Independent economic research found that businesses and events held on the Great Yorkshire Showground contributed £73.7 million to the economy. (latest stats: 2019)

All profits raised from events and business on the Showground, fund the work of the charity owners Yorkshire Agricultural Society which organises free farmer health checks, teacher training days and Countryside Days for thousands of primary school children and so much more.

Richard Moorhouse, Event Director, said: “It’s a strong forecast for our venues in 2024, off the back of solid foundations laid last year. The team has done a terrific job in delivering successful events while attracting new business and we are thrilled to be heading into 2024 with some large-scale national events, guaranteed to attract thousands of visitors into the region and we are proud to host them here.”

To benefit from great FAM Trips to amazing venues please join PA Life Club – it’s free for Assistants. See more of our events for PAs and EAs on our Upcoming Events page.


Marja-Leena Toseland

All stories by: Marja-Leena Toseland