The Best Things to do in Richmond, Yorkshire


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A traditional market town with a stunning Norman Castle, Richmond is located on the northern fringes of the Yorkshire Dales.  The glorious town has the largest cobbled marketplace in England and is a superb place to explore tthihe Yorkshire Dales.  Richmond is famous for its fabulous Georgian architecture and buildings which reflect one of the towns more prosperous times.  There are a huge number of things to do in Richmond, from museums to walking, historic sites to cultural events.  Your only challenge will be how long it is you want to stay (and we have some great accommodation options for that too!)

Where is Richmond Yorkshire

How to get to Richmond Yorkshire

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How to get to Richmond Yorkshire by Train

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Where to Stay in Richmond Yorkshire

 

The Best Things to do in Richmond Yorkshire

Richmond is a glorious place to spend a weekend or longer and a great place as a base to explore the area around North Yorkshire.  Whether you decide to explore Richmond Castle, the museums of Richmond or use the market town as a base from where to explore North Yorkshire we hope you enjoy our guide to the things to do in Richmond North Yorkshire

Take a Guided Walk around Richmond, North Yorkshire

Guided walks of Richmond are managed by volunteers and take place from June until September on Sundays at 1415 and Wednesdays at 1100.  Richmond Walking Tours last about 90 minutes and there is no charge, although donations to the Richmondshire Museum are accepted.  The museum is run entirely by donations and volunteers.

Visit Richmond Castle

The building of Richmond Castle was started in 1071, by Alan the Red of Brittany, by William the Conqueror.  This Norman castle is still very much at the heart of the town and provides a stunning aspect.  Only two other stone built castles in England are of the same age as Richmond Castle, those in Durham and also the ancient Roman town of Colchester.

Get free entrance to Richmond Castle with an English Heritage Pass > details here cccc

While the Keep is the most impressive and best-preserved part of the Richmond Castle, is its newer, a 12th-century addition which was built over the original gatehouse to the castle.  The museum and exhibition at Richmond Castle tell the story of the castle, including some of her more famous visitors.  Kings William the Lion of Scotland and David II were both imprisoned here and Charles I also stayed here in 1647.

Explore the Georgian Marketplace in Richmond Yorkshire

The Richmond marketplace dates from the Georgian era – with a series of stunning houses around the edges of the cobbled market area, which is the largest in England.  Richmond’s Georgian marketplace is one of the best free things to do in Richmond.  Richmond was incredibly prosperous during the Georgian era, due in part to it being a central market town and Richmond’s market place is still the site for the regular Saturday market and monthly farmer’s markets.

Visit the Green Howards Museum in Richmond, North Yorkshire

The Green Howards Regimental Museum is located in the old Trinity Church in the centre of Richmond’s market place. This museum provides a superb history of the Yorkshire Regiment, known as the Green Howards and contains artefacts that go back to the Crimean War.  The museum is well known for assisting relatives of those who served in the Yorkshire Regiment to find more details about their ancestors.

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Walk to and Explore Easby Abbey

It’s a pleasant walk from Richmond to Easby Abbey – a 4 mile (6.4-kilometre circular route.  Easby is a free to enter Premonstratensian Abbey found on the Eastern bank of the River Swale, the opposite side to the castle. Easby is maintained by English Heritage and is well known for the refectory and monastic buildings that you can explore here.  The Abbey is open 7 days a week from 1000 until 1800.

See St Agatha’s Church at Easby Abbey

The Church of Agatha is found just behind Easby Abbey’s ruins and dates from the 12th and 13th centuries.  There’s little remaining in this peaceful site, but it is famous for the 13th-century wall paintings found in the chancel which depict scenes from the Creation and the Nativity.

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Visit Richmond’s Friary Gardens

The Richmond Friary Gardens are dominated by one of the town’s oldest monuments, a 15th-century bell tower built by the Greyfriars of Richmond.  The Friary here was established in 1257/8 and the bell tower survives to this day, having undergone several renovations, the most recent in 2001-2003.  The gardens are especially pretty in spring and summer.  Friary Gardens are free to enter

Visit the Richmondshire Museum

The Richmondshire Museum is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside and contains an interesting collection of items from the Stone Age until modern times.  There’s a scale model of the 1900 Richmond railway station and parts of the set used in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small, based on the Yorkshire vet James Herriot.

Visit the Georgian Theatre Royal Museum

Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal is one of the oldest surviving and working theatres in England, having opened in 1788.  The theatre originally was only open for 60 years and then closed.  It reopened, however, in 1963 and restored, being extended in 2003.  In between times, it became a warehouse and then was abandoned.   You’ll find one of the oldest known surviving pieces of theatre scenery here, the “Woodland Scene” which dates to the early 19th century.  The Georgian Theatre Royal hosts both professional and amateur dramatic productions and also hosts a small museum

Visit the Richmond Town Markets

There has been a market in Richmond since 1093 – and you can still find it on a Saturday.  It’s hosted in the cobbled market place in the centre of town.  There is also a daily market inside the 18th century Market Hall just off the Market Place.

Eat and be entertained at Richmond Train Station Yorkshire

Richmond Yorkshire Train station has been closed since 1969, but the building now houses on of the UK’s best independent cinemas as well as a café bar, micro-brewery and art gallery.   This space is now an excellent community hub and also contains artisan food shops and is located close to Richmond’s swimming pool.  In a delightful quirk, you buy tickets for the cinema (which has 3 screens) from the Victorian era train ticket office.

Explore the Millgate House Gardens in Richmond

Described by the Royal Horticultural Society as a model for town gardens, this hidden treasures is often missed by visitors to Richmond.  It’s close to the Richmond Market Place, overlooking the River Swale and is open from April until October.  There’s a huge variety of inter-planting, shrubs and rose bushes, hidden corners and meandering paths.  Check here for opening times and prices.

Visit during Richmond’s Walking and Book Festival

We can think of no better festival than one that combines walking and books – well maybe add wine in there and we’re completely sold! – But the Richmond Walking and Book Festival is held in September each year and combines books and walking!  This week-long event combines a series of literary events and talks by well-known authors as well as 3 walks per day of a variety of length and difficulties.  The walks are a combination of those in the town and some through both Wensleydale and Swaledale.  The festival is cancelled for 2020, but please follow them on Facebook for updates on 2021.

Take one of Richmond’s Treasure Trails

Richmond Treasure Trails let you combine learning about Richmond’s historic past with a problem-solving game to try and figure out where the treasures are buried or to solve a mystery.  You can pick up a treasure trail for Richmond here (it’s an instant download, or you can choose to have a printed one sent to you) and also check out their other locations.  Locally you’ll find ones to Easby Abbey and even a Tees Valley Driving Trail.

There’s no time limit on the Richmond Treasure trail, do it at your own pace and find the clues on the monuments and buildings around the town.  Submit your answers online and get entered into a draw to win £100!

Have Tea and Scones in Richmond’s Georgian Market place

While there are many cafes and restaurants in Richmond, two favourites spring to mind.  First for a very local experience head to the covered market hall, where you can sit amongst the stalls in here and have a cup of tea and refreshments.  Alternatively, in the Market place, next to the Green Howards Museum is the Cross View Tea Room.  This traditional Georgian tea room looks the part and serves amazing scones for a mid-morning treat or afternoon tea.

Walks to Take Around Richmond North Yorkshire

The area around Richmond is excellent walking country.  Whether you decide to take a walk around the town, further afield to perhaps Easy Abbey or further out into Wensleydale and Swaledale, this is great walking country.  Here are some of our favourite walks around Richmond.

As always we use Ordnance Survey maps when hiking in the UK.  There’s no need to buy paper maps anymore, just get hold of the app cccc and pay a low annual fee to get access to the Leisure Series Maps on your mobile device.

Guided Walks in Richmond

As we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, there are “by donation to the Richmondshire Museum” walks around the town.  These take place during the months from June to September on Wednesdays and Sundays at 1100 and 1415 respectively.  Each walk is about 90 minutes and this service is run entirely by volunteers.

Treasure Trails in Richmond

The company “Treasure Trails” have set 2 treasure hunt trails around Richmond, there’s one where you search for the hidden treasure and another where you attempt to solve the mystery of Tim Panny.  Head slightly further afield and out to Easby Abbey.  There’s a charge for each treasure trail, which can be posted in hard copy or which you can download immediately.  Complete the answers to the treasure questions online and go into a monthly draw to win money.  More information here from Treasure Trails.

Walk the Richmond Town Trail

The Richmond Town Trail is a wheelchair accessible route around the highlights of the market town.  It is easy to follow and the trail is free.  You can add on specific extensions to go to scenic points of interest.  This is a 1.5-mile route and it includes several steep hills.  There are details and maps along with notes on historic points of interest here.

Take the Richmond Blue Plaque Walk

The Richmond plaque tour takes a 1.5-mile route around the market town and explores locations connected with famous people of the town.  You’ll find historians, connections to India and the Fenwicks store in Newcastle upon Tyne and the site of the old Richmond jail.  Maps and full descriptions of the 32 plaques that you’ll walk past can be found here.  These are one of the easy walks in Richmond Yorkshire that don’t cost a penny and also let you learn about some of the history of the town.

Take the Richmond Drummer Boy Legend Walk

The legend of the Richmond Drummer Boy kept me awake as a child.  This route traces the history of the drummer boy legend as well as the supposed route of the ill-fated boy.  The legend and map of the Drummer Boy Walk Richmond is here.

Take a Richmond Ghost Walk

Want to learn more about the ghosts and legends of Richmond?  These evening walks led by a local take you through some of the historic events of Richmond and some of the folks who have hung around long after they died. Book a Ghost Walk in Richmond here.  This is one of the great walks around Richmond North Yorkshire that give you a little understanding of the history and legends of the area.

Walk to Easby Abbey near Richmond

This 6.4 kilometres (4 miles) round trip Easby Abbey walk follows the route of the River Swale to the site of Easby Abbey and St Agatha’s Church.  Both the church and the abbey are free to enter.  This is one of the easiest walks around Richmond North Yorkshire.

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Best Things to do Near Richmond Yorkshire

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Final Words on the Best Things to Do in Richmond North Yorkshire

As a local, I’ve visited Richmond for as long as I can remember and the town basically remains the same since I was small – as I hail from the nearby Barnard Castle.  I hope that this guide on what to do in Richmond Yorkshire does give you a good start on what to do here.  The stunning Georgian market place and the quite beautiful Castle standing high over the River Swale.  This North Yorkshire Market Town is a fantastic place for a visit and to base yourself for further forays into Yorkshire, Wensleydale and Swaledale.  There’s a great sense of history here and a whole lot of outdoor activities to immerse yourself in to explore the area. Visitors who come just once are few and far between, Richmond tends to bring you back time after time to explore more of her delights.

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About Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter is an avid reader, writer and traveller. She loves hiking, sailing, skiing and exploring the world through food. She left a successful career in IT security and compliance in both the UK and US to travel the world with husband and partner in adventure, Nigel.

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