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Why You Need to Explore the Pretty Market Town of Yarm
Places to go
May 2024
Reading time 5 Minutes

At the tipping point into North Yorkshire, this pretty market town lies on the River Tees and enjoys a rich history dating back to the Anglo-Saxons

A charter was granted by King John in 1207 allowing a market on the second Sunday of each month which helped make Yarm an important centre for trade in the Middle Ages, and it remains home to several historic buildings, but is perhaps best known for the 15th century bridge (one of the oldest surviving bridges in the country) and its 18th century town hall which stands proudly in the middle of the high street. Recently refurbished, it is now a heritage centre and home to a permanent exhibition space, celebrating Yarm's ancient connection to the River Tees.

With bags of old world charm, Yarm's bustling high street features plenty of independent shops, cafés and restaurants which make it a popular spot for locals and visitors too. Its still-cobbled parking areas front the many Georgian-style buildings with their pretty red pantile roofs which make up the high street.


First mentioned in the Domesday Book, the name Yarm is thought to be derived from the old English ‘gear’, which meant ‘pool for catching fish’ or ‘place of the fish pools’ as once upon a time Yarm was a busy port which marked the river’s highest tidal limit until the Tees Barrage was installed in 1995 to regulate the river’s tidal surge.

A 10th century Viking helmet discovered in Yarm is now in the nearby Preston Park Museum and is one of only two such helmets discovered in north west Europe. Other significant historical facts include a meeting, held at the town’s George & Dragon Inn in February 1821, which pressed for the third and final successful attempt to give permission to build the Stockton & Darlington Railway. Yarm’s viaduct was built between 1849 and 1851 for the Leeds Northern Railway and comprises seven million bricks, with 43 arches, two of which span the River Tees and are made of stone.

The town’s parish church of St Mary Magdalene was rebuilt from the remains of a Norman church in 1730 and is one of three Grade II-listed churches in Yarm, one of which, the Methodist church on Chapel Yard, is thought to be the oldest octagonal church still in use.

While you are exploring take a stroll down True Lovers Walk. The quaintly named riverside path is so called thanks to a tomb in nearby St Mary Magdalene. Little is known about its occupants save that they are reputed to be a couple affectionately known as the two lovers.

Read More: Plan the Perfect Weekend in Hebden Bridge

Strickland and Holt Strickland and Holt

Where to Shop

Strickland and Holt is the grand dame of Yarm’s high street. Known to locals as Strickies, this independent family-run store (since 1854) sells toys, gifts and fashion and has the best card selection, and the coffee shop at the back of the store is renowned for its really good scones, and delicious secret recipe salad dressing, which luckily you can buy in the shop. Head up to the top floor to find homewares, accessories and artwork at Cinnamon Bay Interiors.

At 31 High Street, Cloud Cuckoo is a luxury designer gift shop crammed with everything from candles and socks to cards and homeware, and for fresh flowers and plants call in at The Flower Room at No 23 High Street.

For fashion, Attitudes is where you’ll find popular brands such as Numph, Ichi, Claudio Lugli and Religion, and everything from chic occasion wear to cool casual wear. Violette is another longtime servant of the High Street and this independent lingerie shop stocks some of the very best brands for lingerie, swimwear and beachwear. Head here for Chantelle, Lise Charmel, Prima Donna and Marie Jo. With a loyal customer base, owner Elaine knows her stuff and fitting appointments are complimentary here. This Must B The Place is a celebrity-inspired boutique and a go-to for glamorous, stand-out day and evening wear.

Elsewhere, in Danby Wynd, the renowned fishmongers Hodgson Fish sell a huge variety of the freshest locally-caught fish, but get there early for the best selection (it opens at 8am). Next door, Borrelli Deli is a speciality Italian deli with a café too.

White House Barn White House Barn

Where to Sleep

You can’t get more convenient than the award-winning Yarm Guest House where owner Chris is on hand to make your stay as relaxing as possible, and serves a great home-cooked breakfast to help you start the day. If it’s a hotel you are looking to book then the stately Crathorne Hall, just outside the town, is perfectly placed for exploring Yarm together with the nearby North York Moors National Park, and it’s where you’ll find The Leven Restaurant serving a seasonal menu in rather grand surroundings. White House Barn is a cute and cosy cottage, just perfect for two. A home-away-from-home, just a two-minute drive from Yarm centre, it has a well-equipped kitchen, a wood-burning stove, a big comfy bed, and a lovely private patio for when the sun shines.

A little further out, between Yarm and Darlington, The Devonport at Middleton One Row is an 18th century hotel, pub and restaurant on the pretty village green. On the banks of the River Tees, overlooking beautiful countryside, there are nine luxurious bedrooms and six self-catering apartments, a cosy bar and popular restaurant here.

Read More: 11 Perfect Yorkshire Pubs for a Weekend Break

Where to Eat

Hobo Coffee House is always popular for a reason. It’s the go-to place for coffee and you can sit in, but be prepared to queue for your coffee and fresh bakes to-go. The newly opened Bagel Bros is another great option for takeaway bagels and beverages and they also have blondies from Blondie Bakery, but beware as it is only open Wednesday to Sunday.

Cafe Nossa is where to go to start the day. This friendly deli has great breakfast, brunch and lunch options, with plenty of homemade treats and delicious coffee, and they do the best Portuguese tarts too.

For an easy on-the-go lunch head to Finzi for a fresh square pizza slice and delicious tiramisu, whilst Cena is an established Italian restaurant with a great value Fisso Menu served Monday to Friday between 12pm and 5pm, and an expansive wine list to go with it. Fourteen Drops is a long-time LN favourite. A wine shop, specialist cheesemongers and deli, it is also home to a great wine bar serving delicious sharing boards – there’s always a great atmosphere in here at any time of day.

Cafe Nossa Cafe Nossa
The Keys The Keys

The Keys is a good gastro pub on the High Street which also happens to have a night club attached with top notch DJs, live music, a large bar and dance floor and a VIP area. Yarm’s hottest spot in town, head here for breakfast, brunch, lunch (they do a hugely popular bottomless Sunday roast) or dinner in the restaurant or on the terrace with views of Yarm’s famous viaduct, with dishes prepared using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Or simply unwind in the friendly bar where you’ll find a great choice of beers, spirits, cocktails and fine wines.

On the High Street, Muse is one of Yarm’s best-known cafés serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menus are made up of all the classics but with a contemporary twist, and there’s a great wine list here too. With a licensed pavement café, it’s a great place to watch the world go by on a sunny afternoon, or dine al fresco in the evening.

Towards the other end of the main street, the newly expanded Luna Blu is worth dropping into for a handcrafted cocktail or two (they also serve tapas, breakfast and afternoon tea). Open seven days a week, it’s always busy, with a fun atmosphere in the evening.

And when the sunshines, Treats of Yarm is the place to go for ice cream.

Rise Reformer Pilates Rise Reformer Pilates

Don’t Miss

Recently opened Rise Reformer Pilates. Not like a gym, this is a great space designed to cater for everyone. With eight reformer machines you can enjoy interactive classes with expert instructors on hand to ensure you get individual attention and gain the maximum benefits from a reformer class.

Just off the High Street (accessed from Tile Shed Yard) Cluedini escape rooms offer two themed escapes; Blitz based on World War II; and Hex, in which you seek revenge for the death of Grand High Witch Mary Seaton on this very same spot in 1771. In one room, within one hour, you must unlock the puzzles, crack the codes and solve the clues to escape.

The Island In A River exhibition is in the refurbished Town Hall Heritage Centre (open 12pm to 6pm Thursday to Sunday), and at night transforms into a public art installation visible through the windows, with the replica Iron Age canoe seemingly floating on a looping holographic film of the nearby river. Artist Matthew Rosier worked closely with the community to create a series of short films that accompany all the exhibits, including a Yarm veteran having his nose cast in silver by silversmith Pete Musson in recognition of local hero Tom Brown who lost part of his nose in battle, and a replica of a 10th century Viking helmet, the first ever Viking helmet found in Britain. There’s also a lion statue from legendary nightclub Tall Trees, accompanied by a film interviewing the former owner and residents who now live in the housing estate on the site of the former iconic club, and a contemporary reenactment of a historic moment in railway history where a meeting of railway pioneers in The George and Dragon Pub led to the founding of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

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