Harrogate originated in the 17th century, with High Harrogate and Low Harrogate as two separate settlements. It lies adjacent to Knaresborough, with which it forms a single urban area, and is in the Nidd valley.
Harrogate spa water contains iron, sulphur and common salt. The town became known as 'The English Spa' in the Georgian Era, after its waters were first discovered in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries especially, these 'chalybeate' waters were a popular health treatment, and the influx of wealthy but sickly visitors contributed significantly to the wealth of the town.
Harrogate railway station and Harrogate bus station in the town centre provide transport connections. Leeds Bradford International Airport is 10 miles (16 km) south west of Harrogate. The main road through the town is the A61, connecting Harrogate to Leeds and Ripon. Harrogate is also connected to Wetherby and the A1, by the A661.