Yarm Road at Stockton is the road to 'swell'

PUBLISHED: 08:31 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:19 20 February 2013

Peter Barratts garden centre

Peter Barratts garden centre

Steeped in history with beautiful old churches, restaurants and chic boutiques, Yarm Road, on Teesside, provides plenty to interest Ruth Dexter

There are few places in Britain where you could find an 11th Century church, expensive Ferraris and false nails within half a mile radius, but Yarm Road is one of them. If you want to live well and look swell, this is the place to come.
Yarm was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Drive from Stockton through Eaglescliffe today
and youll find everything from top-of-the-range cars to salsa classes at and chic boutiques.
With summer on the horizon, theres no better place to start, however, than Peter Barratts. The garden centre has a wide choice of barbecues, plants and flowers and, according to horticulture manager, Richard Arkley, June is the perfect time to buy roses.
By mid-month the garden will be filled with scent as the roses come into flower, he says. A favorite of mine is Golden Celebration, which flowers in my garden until December.
Further down the road, with views over the River Tees and Cleveland Hills, lies Eaglescliffe Golf Club. The club was founded in 1914 (at which time golfers were banned from playing on Sundays) and it celebrates its centenary in 2014.
During the Second World War, a lookout post was positioned on what is now the 11th green but by 1939 the club had racked up such huge debts it was on the brink of closure. There was no petrol to power the mowers and no golf could be played. The committee decided to open the clubhouse to the Royal Canadian Air Force, stationed at Goosepool. There were two one-armed bandits in the clubhouse, which were popular with the Canadians, and over the next five years, profits from the one-penny machines cleared the clubs
2,500 bank debt.
The course today proves as much a challenge for novices as pros.
Opposite the club is the Parkmore Hotel, once the home of a Victorian shipping magnate. Aside from Tom Jones and Cliff Richard Tribute Nights, it has a beauty salon, swimming pool and state-of-the-art gym.
The hotel is just a short walk from Eaglescliffe Station which has trains to London as well as Thirsk, Northallaton, York, Hartlepool and Sunderland.
Around the corner, along a leafy Victorian terraced street, lies one of the areas best kept secrets, The Waiting Room restaurant.
The family-run business opened in 1985 and featured in The Observers Top 40 UK restaurants. Specialising in simple, rustic, vegetarian recipes, it is popular with local people for its live music and arts events on Sunday nights.
Perched on top of the hill, overlooking Yarm, is Egglescliffe Village and its beautiful 11th Century church, St Johns.
With Egglescliffe and Eaglescliffe in close proximity, its easy to get confused. Legend has it the name Eaglescliffe arose after a mis-spelling on a local railway sign. Safe to say there have been no sightings of any eagles landing.
The impressive viaduct which towers over the river at the entrance to Yarm is an apt reminder of the role the town played in the birth of the railway. It was at the George & Dragon Inn on February 12, 1821 that the go-ahead was given to build the Stockton & Darlington Railway, the worlds first public railway.
Yarm was an important trading and fishing port from the 12th Century to the late 18th Century, but is perhaps better known today for its designer boutiques, shiny Ferraris and yummy mummies. The posh prams and skyscraper heels have yet to wear down the cobbles but the High Street retains its charm by being one of the few in Britain yet to be taken over by major national brands.
The butchers, David Rigg, has been slicing beef since 1830. Whether you want to splash out on a glamorous frock at The House or rummage through the quirky cast offs at Teesside Hospice or Age Concern, there are gems to be found everywhere.
A warm welcome also 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 Yarm Traditional Sweet Shop is celebrating one years trading, on May 29. All are invited to call in from 10 am to 4.30 pm, for a drink or to indulge in the chocolate fountain. The Traditional Sweet Shop at the end of the High Street offers to take customers a step back in time to see how many of their favourite sweets can be found in this little treasure trove.
Can you remember the last time you treated yourself to a quarter of Lions Midget Gems, Black Bullets or a stick of Liquorice Root. These are just a few of the traditional gems to be found in the shop along with many more bygone favourites, including Spanish Gold, Lions Originals, Yorkshire Tea Cakes, Liquorice, Pontefract Cakes and many more with fondly remembered names.
Finally, if youre feeling peckish, pop into Borrellis Deli, just off the High Street in Danby Wynd. Owner Luciano has only been open two and a half years but has already scooped an award for creating his own Little Italy. Sit in and enjoy the banter over an Italian coffee, or stock up on sun-dried tomatoes, olives and prosciutto then head down to the river for a picnic.

Further information
Preston Hall Museum and Park, call 01642 527375 or email: prestonhall@stockton.gov.uk
Best Western Parkmore Hotel Leisure Club, call 01642 786815 or email: enquiries@parkmorehotel.co.uk
Peter Barratt's Stockton Garden Centre, call 01642 613433 or visit www.thegardencentregroup.co.uk
The Waiting Room, call 01642 780465 or visit www.the-waiting-room.co.uk
Eaglescliffe Golf Club, call 01642 780238 or visit www.eaglescliffegolfclub.co.uk
The Little Black Dress Agency, open 10am to 5.30am Monday to Saturday. Telephone Katie on 01642 789557.
The Yarm Traditional Sweet Shop, 10-12 High Street, Yarm, next door to the police station.

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