Richmond is a handsome Georgian market town that forms the northern gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. It combines historical houses, beautiful scenery and an array of shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
The town has an impressive history and was originally formed around Richmond Castle. The castle was built in the 11th century on the top of a hill named Riche-Mont (this is translated as Strong Hill and gave Richmond its name).
The hilltop position of Richmond Castle means it’s a great spot to enjoy a panoramic view of the town. Take a walk up and you’ll find the well-preserved castle remains include a 100 foot keep and curtain wall.
Kids will love exploring the various nooks and crannies and there’s also an interactive display where they can learn more about the fascinating history of the place.
Just outside the castle walls is the pretty Cockpit Garden – a tranquil spot to watch the world go by with lovely views over the River Swale that runs through the town.
If you are a fan of lovely gardens (and historic houses to go with them), Kiplin Hall is an award-winning Jacobean House near Richmond that’s set in 100 acres of woodland, gardens and parkland. Children will be kept entertained too thanks to the Giant Garden games!
Other pretty places to visit include Richmond Falls waterfall and the ruins of Easby Abbey (reached by a riverside walk) which has been painted by artists including J M Turner. Both make perfect spots for a summery picnic!
The Richmond Town Trail takes in the towns places of interest such as Richmond Castle, the Georgian Theatre, the Friary Gardens and the War Memorial. You can download the trail from Richmond Online. Another popular walk to try is the Drummer Boy Walk. This circular 3-mile walk is inspired by the legend of the Richmond Drummer Boy. Legend has it that a tunnel was discovered in the 18th century between Richmond Castle and Easby Abbey and a drummer boy was lowered in to walk the passage – beating his drum as he went. The drumming ceased at Easby Wood (where a stone marks the spot) and the drummer boy was never seen again. No one knows what happened to the drummer boy but his drumming can still be occasionally be heard to this day.
Explore the Dales
You can follow in the footsteps of the 2014 Tour de France race with a cycle through Muker and stop for refreshments at the Farmer’s Arms while other good gastro pubs nearby include The Punch Bowl at Low Row, The Wensleydale Heifer at West Witton and The White Swan at Gilling West.
The Swale Trail (opened in 2018) travels across Swaledale from Keld to Reeth and is an easy-going mountain bike trail that’s an ideal choice for families.
There is also lots of great historic architecture to admire throughout the town with guided walks, town trails and even a ghost walk on offer where you can delve into Richmond’s very interesting past. You can take a tour behind the scenes at the Georgian theatre. It’s the most complete Georgian Theatre in Britain) and the fully restored Woodland Scene is Britain’s oldest surviving stage scenery.
Another fascinating building (this time Victorian) is The Station. This former railway building has a riverside position and now houses a selection of independent businesses along with an art exhibition and the Seasons Bar and Kitchen.
Eating, drinking and shopping
The lovely market square is a focal point for the town and as well as hosting regular Saturday markets you’ll find a selection of fine Georgian buildings housing tearooms, shops and restaurants – perfect for a spot of lunch, retail therapy and a drink (or two).
There are lots of hidden treasures to discover that are tucked down little alleyways so it is well worth having an amble round and exploring Richmond for yourself.
You can get a little bit of European flavour with a trip to the Parisienne styled Rustique restaurant or La Piazza is a nice family-friendly Italian (after all who doesn’t enjoy some good pizza or pasta?). If you fancy a spot of fine dining then The French House offers well-cooked locally sourced food or you can always go for some pub grub in former Georgian Coach House, The Black Lion.
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