"Gateway to Swaledale" Top 5 Page for this destination Richmond by Sjalen

Richmond Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 108 photos

...although I actually approached the town the other way around - from Swaledale - the first time around. I had been on a tour of the Dales and this was a coffee break for the pensioners in the coach. While they had coffee in the nice Georgian Market Place, I decided to explore the famous castle which dominates the town high on a plateau above a bend in the river Swale. I liked it so much here that I returned just over ten years later with the family to discover Swaledale more in depth and this meant that I learned a lot about Richmond itself too. Now it certainly won't take ten further years for me to return as this is one of my favourite English towns.

Most people have heard of Richmond, the London "suburb", but few know that this nice little town is the reason for its name too, since the title Earl of Richmond also included lands in the London area and elsewhere. The town owes its existance to the castle since it needed provisions and thus, people settled outside its walls and finally market rights were granted. Today, the Market Place just outside the castle gates is the hub of the town and Prince Charles even equalled it to Siena which I think is maybe going a bit too far. To me, it is far to Yorkshire to resemble anything Italian even if I can see where he gets his ideas from when you look at the Market Place from the castle keep. The town is also very well kept and when it was used as the setting for the Taylor-Bradford TV series "A Woman of Substance" (where Liam Neeson had a bit of a breakthrough) all that was needed was to take down a sign for a Chinese restaurant. Everything else still looked old. The more upmarket 18th and 19th century houses which may surprise you for a town of this size are a result of money coming in from the Dales mining and textile manufacturing.

Below the castle flows the river Swale. Outside the national park boundaries, it still manages to impress with its waterfalls, even if it had been an exceptionally dry summer all over Europe when we visited last.

All in all, it is surprising that only 163 people have looked at my Richmond page since I first started on it long ago. But then again, this only goes to show what a hidden gem of a town this is! Many local tourists stop here but other than that, a few Dutch cars - always pining for the hills those Dutch :) - was all I saw in 2006. Most people just drive through the Dales on daytrips from the big cities south of it and since it no longer has a train connection, people dependent on public transport are probably scared off. The only people coming in real crowds are the hikers and walkers doing the Coast to Coast walk as Richmond is a stop along the way and many hotels cater for them with luggage pickup services and such.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:picturesque, historic
  • Cons:quiet in winter
  • In a nutshell:A walk through history
  • Last visit to Richmond: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Sep 8, 2006
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Reviews (15)

Comments (2)

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2007 at 7:48 AM

    Great page. We've just returned from a brief visit to Richmond and only had time to "do" the castle and lunch. We shall return.....

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2005 at 2:32 AM

    Wonderful little treasure of a page. Thank you for sharing.


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