There are at least 50 other towns called Richmond worldwide, but this one’s the original. Voted UK Town Of The Year in 2009, the North Yorkshire hub certainly has its fans. The Rough Guide To Britain referred to Richmond as “the Dales’ most tempting historical town… an absolute gem.”
Why go there?
On the northernmost fringes of the Yorkshire Dales, Richmond is traditionally a market town built around an imposing Norman fortress on the banks of the River Swale. The 30-metre high keep was near-enough abandoned during the 14th century and fell into a state of ruin until restoration took place during the 1800s. Today, the castle is open to the general public, complete with a climb to the roof of the keep for some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, and gardens which contain a wealth of wildlife.
A classic view of the Yorkshire Dales hills
During the Georgian period, Richmond underwent a significant change with large-scale construction, leading to the town’s layout that is still present today. The market place acts as a ‘courtyard’, flanked by various townhouses which now hold inns, restaurants and shops – primarily camping supplies and outdoor gear, although there are some more ‘alternative’ shops for unusual gifts.
Richmond is also a prime location for a tour of the Yorkshire Dales, whether you are cycling, hiking or simply out for a stroll. The beautiful scenery, combined with wildlife, can make for a very pleasant day trip. Head to the Yorkshire Wolds or take a ramble through Swaledale. Go deep underground, exploring the Dales’ extensive cave network, or take to your bike along one of the national park’s long and lively trails. Tree species in the area include ash, rowan and bird cherry as well as yew, sycamore and pine in smaller numbers.
Richmond also hosts one of the oldest working theatres in the country, The Georgian Theatre Royal, opened in 1788. After centuries of misuse – it initially closed and became a warehouse before being abandoned altogether – restoration work during the 1960s and the early 2000s brought the theatre back into use. It also makes use of the oldest known surviving piece of theatre scenery, ‘Woodland Scene’, which dates from the early 19th century.
Where to stay?
There are numerous B&Bs within the town. The Buck Hotel boasts prime location as well as three diamonds from the European Travel Commission. Williance House, one of the oldest buildings in Richmond, is also very popular. Further afield, many cottages are available to use, as well as guesthouses in the villages nearby.
Making hay on the Yorkshire Wolds near Richmond
Where to eat?
If you are after traditional pub fare, you could do worse than trying The Talbot Hotel, located within the Market Place. The food here is all locally sourced and boasts a very good range.Away from meals, the Cross View Tea Room is a traditional Georgian tea room and looks like it may have come from the set of All Creatures Great And Small (parts of which were filmed nearby).