Stopping at Richmond was a bit of a whim.
We were on our way to the Lakes, probably about halfway through our drive, and our original plan to power through faded at the thought of exploring the northern brother of our favourite place to live in London.
I’d heard pretty good things about Richmond. Market town. Great place to visit. Lovely foliage. Wait, who am I kidding? I’d not really heard that much about it except it’s in North Yorkshire. Really that’s it. I didn’t know where in the North it was, just that it was there.
So a big “yay” escaped my brain when we turned off the A1 for the A66 and a sign lured us in to historic Richmond.
A quick check of the map shows that from the A6108 it is incredibly easy to get back up to the A66.
A quick discussion around the roundabout…
Oh go on then.
And what a town! It’s a proper medieval market town, church in the centre and a castle commanding the cobbles below. The market place (which now serves as a car park on non market days – and is probably still mostly car park even on those) may now be surrounded by more modern businesses, however I don’t think it’d take much to redress the place and shoot a full on period movie here.
I’ve gone to the liberty of having some fun with the photographs of Richmond because a) it’s grey out there and grey does tend to suit black and white, and b) it’s spitting with rain so why not add some dramatic to the drear!
Our umbrella was of little use, as the rain blew sideways at times with a chilly wind I do not care to remember. So a tour around town and a stop in the pub for lunch was just the ticket!
Rain + pub = awesome. It’s a fact.
We parked up in a small car park next to the cricket grounds and rushed up the first cobbled street we could find, the pleasantly named Rosemary Lane. And instantly I turned into MrsTourist and snapped the first butchers I came across.
As you do.
I loved the look of it. Red and grey trim. Stuart Hamilton, the family butcher. Instantly I wanted to move up to this Richmond and buy all my meat here. But not on a Sunday. He’s probably at home with his family, doing some butchery there. Or having a knees up in front of the telly with a cuppa. How Richmond does that sound??
Heading up Rosemary Lane to Finkle Street, we were kind of wingin’ it. Everything was shut which for a market town might seem odd, however the weather was enough to keep people in and this is England after all. In most places Sunday is still the day of rest.
At the corner of Finkle Street I caught this unfortunate brand name.
I am not so Superdry, thank you very much.
We decided to head down Finkle Street, if not for the promise of a pub along the way, but also with the hopes of a bit of shelter from the cold rain. We spotted a business promising a huge sale on outdoors equipment so we stopped in to give them our wet-and-out-on-a-Sunday custom. Besides, heading out on a walking holiday and one of us who shall not be named having packed up all one’s shoes to be shipped back to America… well hiking boots were purchased.
And then this little angel made herself known to us. A promise of more really cool old things to take a look at. I do adore churches.
I was slightly disapointed as the old Trinity Church is now a museum for the Green Howards, a military regiment from Yorkshire. It would open, but not for an hour’s time.
I wondered if it still looked like a church on the inside to match its majestic exterior? Alas, another time.
Instead of enjoying the hearth of a warm church, we took a quick turn onto Market Place…
Castle! I had to get a closer look.
A closer, more dramatic look!
I could tell we were heading in the right direction…
But I didn’t want to forget the beautiful medieval town along the way.
Wait – wasn’t I after a castle?
How about a fancy panorama of a castle?
Now that’s better. Doesn’t an afternoon larger in this pub’s lanai sound like pure summer? (Forgive me, I just spent a long weekend in Hawaii so every outdoor space is a lanai for the time being. I’m sitting out on the lanai right now.) We voted for something a bit more “inside” instead.
Okay, so now that I’ve done a bit more research about Richmond, I would have realized that the castle itself is perched above a river, the River Swale, in fact, in quite a dramatic fashion. And that it was open.
However on a dark drizzly day all we wanted was a Sunday Roast and a pint to help us on our way to our fancy Lake District Hotel.
So off to the pub we went.
On our next visit, and that’s not just empty promises, we are going to explore Castle Walk…
… and try and discover what that jewel is in the distance. Another castle? A rich land owner’s folly? A fancy water tower from the Victorian age? Ah, thank you Landmark Trust. Who wants a field trip to Culloden Tower?
We only had a couple of choices for warm pubs. We have a habit of never going with the first place we see. This can leave a couple quite hungry as they search a closed town for some sustenance. The Richmond Hotel wasn’t quite up our street.
Come to think of it, it might have been closed.
So back down Finkle Street to The Black Lion it was.
A warm and welcoming place, the front room was full of diners scarfing down roasts and small glasses of red wine by the fire. We blagged ourselves a table in the petite dining room and immediately ordered our Sunday lunches.
As always, the above accidental panorama would look so much cooler on black!
Warning: these roasts may not look like much, however I assure you they were hearty and delicious. Roast beef, gravy, mash and roasters both, a heap of roast winter veggies like swede and carrots and a lovely Yorkshire pudding.
I know what you are thinking. You’re in Yorkshire – don’t they just call them “puddings”?
Well, as long as I’m showing you half eaten plates of food…
And as described above, the veg:
Sunday Roasts are a massive tradition in the UK, akin to brunch here in the USA. On a Sunday in Los Angeles, eateries will be a-buzzing with all sorts sipping on mimosas and digging in to eggs… benedict and rancheros. On a Sunday in the UK, pubs are crowded with those looking to make their main meal of the day last all afternoon.
We may not be working hard in the fields all day, but after a long week of work, getting together with friends and family over a big meal is a tradition I wish we explored here in the land of so-called family values.
And now I shall get off my soap box.
Btw, best Yorkshire pudding I’ve ever had was actually in London at The Vine on Highgate Road, NW5. I don’t spend near enough time up north.
Full and happy, we headed back out on the road to discover what life just outside the Yorkshire Dales was all about. I’m so in love with it I want to give up my LA life and move there to run my own little pub. And own some sheep. Nice dream.
Last looks at the Black Lion.
Richmond has definitely captured my imagination. Castles, old churches, medieval cobbled streets and all on the doorstep of one of the country’s most beautiful national parks.
I’ll send you a postcard when I move!