Places to Go: Richmond, North Yorkshire

Places to Go is a regular feature from NationalRail.com’s stationmaster, Alex Nelson. Besides running the NationalRail.com train ticket sales website, Alex is also the stationmaster of two independent train stations on the East Coast Main Line: Chester-le-Street in County Durham and Eaglescliffe in the Tees Valley. His passion for the UK rail network and travelling to new locations around the UK have inspired him to write a regular piece on UK tourism.

In this instalment, Alex travels to Richmond, North Yorkshire. Hear about his trip and get some inspiration for your next train journey: 

For December’s article, I like to choose somewhere not too far away, that’s good for Christmas shopping.

As you will probably know, all railway stations in Britain have a three letter code. There is no connected railway station in Richmond, North Yorkshire, but it is possible to buy a rail ticket to RMK (Richmond MarKet Place) and use the regular Arriva express bus X26 and X27 bus from outside Darlington station’s Victoria Road exit direct to Richmond. RMD is for Richmond in Greater London which has a busy station.

Richmond is the most duplicated UK place name, with 57 occurrences worldwide, including a third Richmond outside Sheffield.

 

Using the bus service, it takes about half an hour to arrive in the cobbled market place, one of the largest in England. From the north, it is even quicker than the train via Northallerton was, before the line closed in 1968.

We stayed on the bus over the bridge of the Swale to The Station. The old railway station is now repurposed not for trains but as a food, film and art centre which admits 300,000 tourists a year. It has a restaurant, cinema, art gallery and heritage centre, as well as a bakery, cheese-maker, micro-brewery, ice-cream parlour, fudge house and honey-maker.  A great place to pick up some innovative Christmas presents at some time during your day, and some good coffee.

 

 

The walk to the town centre is a pleasant one, through the meadows and the interesting town garden at Millgate House, which brought us to the Georgian Theatre Royal.

This historic building, founded in 1788 by the actor Samuel Butler, is off the market place. A decline in the fortunes of theatre led to its closure in 1848 and it was used as a warehouse for many years. In 1963 the theatre was restored and reopened, with a theatre museum added in 1979. It is one of Britain’s oldest extant theatres and a guided tour shows you the whole of the building, including beneath the stage.

 

Image by Dylan Moore

The dominant building in the town is the Castle, completed in 1086, now in the care of English Heritage. You may have heard of the story of the Richmond Sixteen, conscientious objectors from WWI, which is told in the block they inhabited before being shipped to France. I suspect we had better food than they did in a French restaurant called Rustique in Finkle Street.

Rustique opened in 2009 offering traditional French cuisine amongst its Parisian-style murals and music. Transporting diners to the streets of Paris, with views of the Tower Eiffel and Arc de Triumph, diners can enjoy rustic French-style cuisine in amongst a busy, vibrant bistro atmosphere.

Two other museums complete the tourism offer in Richmond: the well-regarded Richmondshire museum is closed until April, but the Green Howards Regimental Museum (in the old Trinity Church) is fascinating, and close to the bus stop to return to Darlington.

To find great value train tickets, visit nationalrail.com, and explore more Christmas shopping destinations this Winter!