Towns and Cities
Yorkshire is steeped in history; churches, castles and coasts. Within in a five minute drive is the former childhood home of King Richard lll at Middleham Castle. The National Trust’s World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens are within an hour’s drive. If you fancy discovering Yorkshire’s Jurassic Park, head east toward the coves and caves of the Yorkshire Coast.
Masham is an original Dales market town with a fine marketplace, just 7 miles drive from the Blue Lion. Well known for its annual, two-day September sheep fair, where in the past as many as 70,000 animals were bought and sold, the town is also home to the Theakstons and Black Sheep Breweries, both of which offer brewery tours.
Leyburn is but 9 minutes’ drive from the Blue Lion - may be a wee bit longer, should you come across a shepherd moving sheep across the road. Alongside its quirky independent shops, Leyburn has one of the north’s best auction houses and quaint tea rooms.
We recommend that you park in the market square and explore the town on foot. If you’d like to extend your day, pop to the nearby Forbidden Corner - four acres of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises.
The cathedral city of Ripon, one of the smallest cities in the country, is just 30 minutes’ drive away. The present cathedral church was the 4th, built between the 13thand 16thcenturies, however, its origins can be traced back to the 660s, when Scottish monks founded a monastery in Ripon. Along with a range of shopping outlets and a busy Thursday market, Ripon also offers the chance of a ‘flutter on the horses’, with its flat racing course, known as Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse, just outside the town – did you know that the first recorded horse races took place in Ripon in 1664!
Harrogate’s Tewit Well was discovered in the 16thcentury and from it Harrogate grew into a Spa town, with people believing their sickness would be cured. The Pump Room is now a museum, with exhibitions and displays. Harrogate is also the home of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Harlow Carr gardens, one of four public gardens run by the RHS.
The first Betty’s Café Tea Room was opened in Harrogate in 1919, by Swiss confectioner and baker, Frederick Belmont. The Harrogate Tea Rooms, which can be found on Parliament Street, are world famous for their afternoon teas, extensive range of delicious treats and warm welcome. Or, if you visit Harlow Carr, there is also a Betty’s Tea Room to be found there.
Founded in 1071, Richmond is positioned on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with its Norman Castle and Georgian town houses, built around one of the largest market places in the country. Richmond Castle has links with William the Conqueror and Alan the Red of Brittainy, it was a built as a military stronghold and to this day Richmond still has strong military links, with nearby Catterick Garrison. Did you know that Richmond is the most duplicated UK place name, with 56 occurrences worldwide!
Travel a little further afield and the historic city of York is around an hour’s drive away. Home to York Minster, Clifford’s Tower, The City Walls, the famous Shambles with its Harry Potter shop and the Jorvik Viking centre. Whilst you’re there the small independent boutique shops are well worth browsing through and there’s no end of amazing coffee shops to enliven the weary shopper.
Distance from The Blue Lion to York: 43 miles
Recently named the best shopping destination in the UK by the Rough Guide to Britain, Leeds City Centre has over 1,000 shops. For luxury buys and designer goods there is the Victoria Quarter, which includes Harvey Nichols. Housed under a huge glass roof is the Trinity Leeds Shopping Mall, open until 8pm most nights. Whilst in the City make sure you pop to Kirkgate Market, located in a grade 1 listed building dating from 1875.