Commanding a powerful position on the banks of the River Swale, this mighty fortress was never put to the test, for Richmond has never seen military action. Its location is text book, with steep cliffs protecting one side, and thick walls defending the others. The Normans started constructing a castle here in the 1080s, and it is thought that Scolland’s Hall – a fine, two-storeyed hall with typical round-headed windows – is one of the earliest stone-built halls in England. The towers at Richmond have romantic names: Robin Hood Tower, now in ruins, is said to have been the prison of William the Lion, King of Scotland; the Gold Hole Tower may have a poetic ring to its name, but it was actually the latrine tower, complete with pits at its base. By far the largest building of the entire complex is the keep, which started life as a gatehouse in the 11th century, but in the mid-12th century it was extended upwards to a height of 100 feet.
Facilities – at a glance
Assist dogs allowed
- Parking nearby
- Facilities: Wheelchair loan, stair lift in visitors centre, pre-bookable disabled parking, induction loop in shop, handrails, interactive exhibition
- Accessible toilets
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year, Apr-Sep, see website for details; Oct, daily 10-5; 1 Nov-11 Feb and17 Feb-29 Mar, Sat-Sun 10-4; 12-16 Feb, daily 1-4 (last admission 30 minutes before closing). Closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan
Also in the area
About the area
Discover North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire, with its two National Parks and two designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is England’s largest county and one of the most rural. This is prime walking country, from the heather-clad heights of the North York Moors to the limestone country that is so typical of the Yorkshire Dales – a place of contrasts and discoveries, of history and legend.
The coastline offers its own treasures, from the fishing villages of Staithes and Robin Hood Bay to Scarborough, one time Regency spa and Victorian bathing resort. In the 1890s, the quaint but bustling town of Whitby provided inspiration for Bram Stoker, who set much of his novel, Dracula, in the town. Wizarding enthusiasts head to the village of Goathland, which is the setting for the Hogwarts Express stop at Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter films.
York is a city of immense historical significance. It was capital of the British province under the Romans in AD 71, a Viking settlement in the 10th century, and in the Middle Ages its prosperity depended on the wool trade. Its city walls date from the 14th century and are among the finest in Europe. However, the gothic Minster, built between 1220 and 1470, is York’s crowning glory.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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