High Street heaven in Yarm, Cleveland
PUBLISHED: 11:37 29 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:06 20 February 2013
Once a key trading port, now the place to shop, trades may have changed but Yarm remains a thriving market town. Linzi Barber takes a stroll down the High Street
Classy, chic and cosmopolitan - just a few of the adjectives that could be used to describe Yarm today. Even in the heart of this diverse Georgian-fronted High Street, youll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Sitting on a meander in the River Tees, once the most important town and port on the river, Yarm or Yarum as it was then known can trace its history back to the Domesday Book.
This bustling port would have then been home to rope makers, tanners, shipbuilders and brewers. Sadly, as ships grew in size they became unable to navigate as far up the river as Yarm and the downstream towns of Stockton and Middlesbrough gained in stature and importance.
Today the river still plays a key part in Yarms attraction. The 43-arch viaduct, which took just four years to build starting in 1848, still dominates the skyline.
Youll get the best view of the viaduct on foot. From the High Street, head down Atlas Wynd, once the site of the offensive smelling Atlas Skinnery, till you meet True Lovers Walkway, running along the rivers edge. Stay on the footpath with the river on your right till you see the 65ft arches of the viaduct rising up in front of you.
Cross over Yarm Bridge and then head down West Street where you will walk under several arches, passing Yarm Castle (make sure you look up or youll miss this miniature castle!) and the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, believed to contain bricks dating back to Anglo Saxon times.
After all that walking, head back to Yarms stunning wide High Street, which today defies health and safety with cobbles on both sides of the road offering plentiful street parking.
Youll be spoilt for choice with a wide selection of hostelries and some delightfully different shopping. If you want to people watch over your freshly brewed coffee and home-made cake, head to Elliotts whose tables, situated right on the High Street, offer prime viewing position.
Prefer somewhere a little quieter? Try The Hide, nestling at the top of Fairfax Court, past unique jewellery and clothes shops. This contemporary cafe is a peaceful haven just a stones throw from the High Street.
In Yarm, shopping is a pleasure. Save for the supermarkets and banks, the High Street is home to a wide range of unique shops that you wont find on any other High Street. Its easy to see why BBC Breakfast voted Yarm The Best High Street for Something Old and Something New. The butchers, which has been trading since 1830, and the privately owned electrical shop, trading since 1948, mix with designer boutiques, award-winning florists and delightful family-run antique emporiums.
Proudly standing in the centre of Yarm High Street is the Dutch style Town Hall. In 2010 the town celebrated 300 years of history with a Town Hall being adorned with a display of historical photo boards alongside the plaques showing the level of the flood waters which rose to seven feet above the ground in 1771.
Once a year the fair comes to town. Established in 1214, Yarm Fair is one of the last true street Gypsy and pleasure fairs to be held in the North of England. Today much of the fair is focussed on bright lights and fast rides but the Travellers Times magazine has been urging the travelling community to get together to bring tradition back to this annual event. Dont miss the traditional riding of the fair on Saturday morning.
While the High Street has plenty to entertain from morning coffee right through to late night drinks and live music, if youve got children to entertain or need some fresh air head up Yarm Road to Preston Hall and Park. With 100 acres of parkland overlooking the river Tees, a replica of a Victorian street, a working blacksmith and playgrounds.
Preston Park is also home to Butterfly World, where you can stroll past waterfalls and trees among hundreds of the worlds butterflies. Visit the reptile section if you dare and meet the most recent arrivals, the meerkats.
After all this fresh air and excitement youll surely be ready to head back into the High Street for afternoon tea.
Yarm Town Council: www.yarmtowncouncil.org.uk
Tourist information: www.visitstockton.co.uk/yarm
Preston Hall Museum and Park: 01642 527375
Butterfly World: 01642 791414, www.butterflyworldltd.com
Doing Business in Yarm
Now in association with the National Trust, Judges is located within 31 acres of idyllic, landscaped gardens and woodlands. An AA Inspectors Choice hotel with three AA rosettes, Judges is rated as being one of the best hotels and restaurants in the UK and Ireland.
Built in 1881 as a family residence, Judges was transformed in the 1970s into a country lodging for circuit court judges - hence the name. The carefully-restored house, replete with glossy Victorian woodwork, has a comfortable, clubby atmosphere that is known to play havoc with guests short-stay plans.
Judges is a delightful getaway for families and couples as well as business travellers. Complimentary wi-fi, Mp3 docks and goldfish are available throughout the hotel to all residents.
Weddings, private dining, lunches, afternoon teas, dinners, gourmet dinners, cookery/flower demonstrations, our Chef for the Day experience (as recommended by The Times) as well as meetings are all catered for; perfect for every occasion.
The Dressing Room
The Dressing Room in Yarm has been established for over 10 years. The current owner Julie Appleton purchased the business three years ago after having worked for the business the previous three years. She loved it so much that when her employer decided it was time to retire she bought it. She is renowned for her formal collections on Mother of the bride/groom outfits.
Label Condici & Ispirato offer supreme designs, beautiful fabrics and exceptional tailoring. However, since Julie took over the business she has introduced a casual range, including the famous Joseph Ribtoff clothing which, over the past few years, has progressed from evening wear into casual clothing for the modern woman. The Dressing Room also has a following for the Sbelt jeans. We pride ourselves on creating a friendly personal service, in
a relaxed atmosphere.
Carl Banks Florist
Established in the 1980s, Carl Banks Florists new owners, Kelly Clarke and Richard May are now in their third year trading. Continuing the legacy of luxury high quality flowers and foliage, the pair also enjoy providing customers with a selection of fine art, supporting local artists, and antiques both for the home and garden. Traditional designs with a new innovative approach to contemporary designs excite our customers who appreciate timeless hand-tied bouquets and modern aspects of design using the latest skills. Passionate, friendly and energetic the sense of style enables our customers to benefit from both old and new.
Our philosophy is simple, Inspired by the world around us we aim to use the finest natural and raw materials, locally sourced whenever possible to design and provide customers with the most exquisite products available in the North East.
The Little Black Dress Agency
A warm welcome awaits at The Little Black Dress Agency on Yarm High Street. Owner Katie Moulding prides herself on the fact that the shop is filled with all things fabulous, from Christian Louboutin shoes and Chanel bags to D & G dresses and Tiffany jewellery. Also, remember that should you have any fabulous designer clothes, shoes or accessories that you wish to sell, The Little Black Dress Agency can do this on your behalf. The Little Black Dress Agency is tapping into womens desire to be fashionable, thrifty and green at the same time and has some of the most fabulous and sought-after labels in stock.
Reverie is a brand new ladies boutique in Yarm. Set up by the same family who introduced The House to Yarm, it is how a true ladies boutique should feel. Inspired by London boutiques, Reverie is draped with heavy velvet curtains, kitsch furniture and sumptuous clothes. Time has been taken to ensure unique clothes from around the world are stocked. Danish labels are very prominent in the shop, such as Soaked in Luxury, Just Female and Part Two, offering classic day and night pieces.
Other labels from around the world include the Gorky Swedish brand rules by Mary, edgy Australian wear by One Teaspoon and celebrity-loved Olivia Rubin. An average dress costs 80 and tops sell at around 35. The style of the shop ranges from comfortable classics to high fashion statement pieces. Offering something that little bit different, whether it be for day or night, casual to glamorous, it truly is a Mecca for fashion enthusiasts.
Monks Table Designs
Whether youre looking for a stylish lamp, silk cushions or a French bedside cabinet with cabriolet legs, its worth paying a visit to Monks Table Designs in Yarm. The shop, on the first floor of Strickland & Holt, offers all kinds of inspiration from revamping an entire room to finding a wedding gift. It is an Aladdins Cave, packed full of unusual pieces from gorgeous bedspreads and wooden mirrors to bedroom furniture. The shop stocks a lot of French furniture (some sourced by the owner, Carol Nelson, who goes back and forth to Paris) and there are also traditional and Oriental pieces available.
With an extensive background in style, having previously managed 15 retail shops, Carol is happy to offer hints and suggestions on interior dcor. There is a selection of catalogues in the shop and you are encouraged to sit and browse for inspiration.
Yarm is noted for great shopping and also for great nights out these days, being one of the most popular places in the Tees Valley to meet and discover new friends. Have you found love in Yarm? If so, wed like to hear from you. Leave a comment below or upload your photos