Richmond was among 12 places in the North East names the best to live in a recent Sunday Times survey.
The North Yorkshire town of Richmond is a hideaway that’s more accessible than you think – just ten minutes from the A1. Noteworthy locations deemed ‘desirable’ places to live were those offering the best quality of life to the widest number of people, and combining features such as a positive community spirit, good local shops and services and attractive outdoor spaces.
You can bag a stone cottage on a cobbled street, a fine Georgian property or even a converted convent. The rural dale means there are plenty of farmhouses and country cottages in small hamlets that lead in to Richmond too.
Good schools are a pull in the market town and so estates have sprung up since the 1920s. Nowadays there are some smart and smallish new executive estates luring in the ‘quality of life’ family brigade.
As well as the excellent schools, there’s a decent leisure centre and lots of green space – no wonder crowds are flocking.
The A1 North and South is only ten minutes or so drive. At the minute the Scotch Corner snarl-up and a extension of the A1 is a bit of a chew but long-term, it’s a winner – for folks who want to get to main rail services north or south via Northallerton or Darlington.
The A66 is close by for access west or towards the Tees Valley. Airports at Durham Tees Valley and Leeds Bradford.
It’s a market town – so there’s a market on Saturdays with plenty of pulling power from local farms and producers.
The town centre is dominated by the Market Square which has its fair share of charity shops and high street staples but there are some quirky and moochy shops if you look closely.
In Finkle Street, just off the square, we spied BBandBeth Chalk Paint Workshop which is an interiors and craft store filled with nice lampshades, painted furniture, cushions and throws. The super friendly staff also do regular furniture painting workshops and courses. Nearby there’s a knitter’s delight at Knit Owl which stocks the trendy Debbie Bliss patterns, yarn and accessories.
Browse a while at J&H Meynell which is one those old-fashioned household ‘sell everything’ stores – including pets! Or in contrast buy some original art! Richmond is home to the gallery of artist McKenzie Thorpe, whose well-loved work features solid industrial scenes with a sentimental twist. This was where he used to paint in the studio upstairs.
Browse antiques and interiors at the The Emporium or seek out a bargain at the Victorian Market Hall. This is also home to a regular Chic Vintage market.
For nice looking gifts we spied Pots Place in the Market Square selling Ted Baker Portmerion china and also liked the look of the stylish Greys Interiors. Boutique, Lemon was filed with summery linens and nice jewellery.
Ottoman Traditional Turkish Barber looked interesting too!
Ken Warne Grocer was selling Coghland artisan bread and who could resist a greengrocer shop called Neeps & Tatties?
In Finkle Street, Wilfred Deli pulled you in with the smell of amazing cheese and home-made soups. We clocked Rounton Roastery coffee on the shelves and great lunch specials like sweet potato ‘mac n’ cheese’, broccoli, mint & ricotta soup with sourdough and aubergine, tomato and blue cheese frittata. There’s a couple of sit-in spaces to feast on it all.
In the town centre, Taylors, ‘The Noted Pie Shop’ was selling – you guessed it – a host of pies with playful fillings. Frenchgate Fudgemakers create the sweet treats and a couple of nice coffee shops included Penley’s Café and Mocha, selling Grumpy Mule Yorkshire coffee. Cross View restaurant and tearooms looked the business too.
The Station is just over the river and home to a brilliant arts and artisan complex. There’s a cinema, exhibitions, lovely, arty gift shop, great restaurant and coffee shop as well as micro brewery – Richmond Brewing Co. Fill your bags with artisan bread and cake treats from Angels Share Bakery – a finalist in ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery. And if all that isn’t enough to tick the ‘quality of life’ box, there’s an ice-cream parlour! Archers Ice Cream parlour is as good as it gets when it comes to the cold, sweet stuff!
Not forgetting – for a dose of culture – the recently refurbished Georgian Theatre which, as well as being a beautiful historic building, has a decent programme of performance all year round.
Richmond is made for a river walk. There are cascading falls beneath Richmond Castle, which dominates the town, and you can follow the water for miles.
The Station is a good starting point for a circular walk which takes in pretty Easby Abbey and a riverside route which is also formed of part of the old railway line. Always good to start or finish at the ice-cream parlour.
Emma Hatton paints furniture and teaches at the Chalk Paint Workshop.
Three good things about Richmond: Real community spirit. When you’re setting up in the morning, everyone has a friendly word. The surroundings – it is a dramatic town with amazing views. The market on Saturdays – a nice bit of tradition and nice to wander.
Three places to take visitors: The Coast to Coast walk passes through if they’re feeling energetic! The Station – so much going on. Easby Abbey – a beautiful place.
An ‘in the know’ secret: The whole place is a great secret!
Image credits: Welcome to Yorkshire