Richmond is a pleasant hillside market town on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales. This ancient settlement sits above the Swale with a large cobbled market place, steep winding streets and fine views along the valley. The market place, one of the largest open squares in Britain, is surrounded by antiques, arts & crafts and delicatessen shops, and is centred by an obelisk type market cross, constructed in 1771.

Richmond Market Place © habiloid (CC2)

Holy Trinity Church, an unusual ecclesiastical structure in the market place, contains shops and offices and also the Green Howards' Regimental Museum. Other buildings of Interest include the covered Market Hall, the Town Hall (1756) and the King's Head hotel.

The old town area has a fine mix of Georgian and Victorian sandstone buildings, including many grand establishments built by prosperous 18th and 19th-century wool merchants. Frenchgate, Richmond's earliest suburb, took its name from the 'Street of the Franks' from French masons brought in by Norman overlords to help build the castle. Newbiggin Street dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was located outside the town wall and served as the town's cattle market. It was redeveloped in the 18th-c as a fashionable residence for rich wool merchants and mine owners. At one end of Newbiggin Street is the tiny former town gaol. The building later became a police station and is now the local headquarters of the WRVS. The restored 12th-c parish church of St Mary was built over the site of a much earlier Saxon church.

Under the shadow of the castle stands Richmond Bridge, spanning the Swale, renowned as the fastest flowing river in England. It has overflowed its banks has many times, sweeping away several bridges in its wake. The present structure was designed in 1789 by John Carr of York.

The town's Norman castle was built in the 12th-c to defend the original river crossing. It has a massive sandstone keep, main tower and three smaller towers, spaced out along the curtain wall. Quiet cobbled ways or wynds lead off from the castle down into the market place. The history of the area is explained in the Richmondshire Museum, in Ryders Wynd to the north.

Richmond has beautiful riverside and woodland walks. One of the most delightful paths is the route to the ruins of Easby Abbey on the river bank. The town is also an excellent base for exploring the surrounding dales and countryside.

Place of Interest to Visit in Richmond

Culloden Tower

An ornate octagon tower with some history. Converted to a Georgian folly by the landowner to commemorate the Hanoverian victory over the Jacobites at Culloden in 1746. Not open to public.

Green Howards' Regimental Museum

Located in the crypt of the 12th-c Church of the Holy Trinity (in the market place). The museum covers the history of the famous North Riding regiment since their formation in 1688. One of the oldest and most distinguished regiments in the British army. Early uniforms, medals, campaign relics, military documents and details of battles illustrate its history.

Greyfriars Bell Tower

The 15th-c bell tower is all that remains of a Franciscan monastery established in the mid-13th century. The sandstone ruins dominate in a small public park, known as Friary Gardens, at the end of Victoria Road.

Georgian Theatre Royal

The only unspoiled Georgian theatre in England. Samuel Butler founded the original theatre here in 1788. It fell into disrepair and was reconditioned and reopened in 1963. It is currently played by small visiting companies and local groups.

Richmond Castle

Set high above the River Swale, Richmond Castle is one of the most imposing stone fortresses in Britain. Superbly situated on a defensive rise above the fast flowing Swale, it was built by Alan Rufus, the first Earl of Richmond. Its massive square Keep still stands at over 100ft (30m) high. Far reaching views of the town and surrounding countryside can be seen from its walls. The castle was held for most of the Middle Ages by the Crown or by the holder of the Honour of Richmond.

Two kings of Scotland were held prisoner in the castle. Charles I also stayed here on his way south, after the Scots handed him over to the English Parliamentary forces in 1646.

The Richmondshire Museum

Covers Richmond's local history, with displays on the region's development, including a large-scale model of the town's former railway station. One section of the museum is devoted to the BBC television series 'All Creatures Great and Small', of which feature film was made in the area.

Map of Richmond


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