yarm bridge

The Most Romantic Town In Northern England

When my boyfriend invited me to join him for a few days of cat-sitting in Yarm, its name was nothing but a vaguely funny four-letter word to me. Almost as funny as cat-sitting which to my great relief did not involve using kittens as cushions. 

My flatmates were equally confused when I told them I was going to Yarm. “You mean Yarmouth?” they asked. I paused for a second. “Nope. Just Yarm, whatever the hell that is.” Before boarding my train from London I managed to locate it on the map near Eaglescliffe (which sounded equally made up) but that was the full extent of my knowledge, because Google was not exactly overflowing with helpful information.

Assuming Yarm would be a small cluster of houses with more cows than people (not a tough feat for a town with ten thousand residents), I only brought a small suitcase full of sporty winter jackets which were to accompany me to Iceland afterwards. It was early April but the temperatures were still low and who was I going to be impressing in this forsaken corner of Northern England?

As is often the case with unfounded snap judgments, my idea of Yarm couldn’t have been further from reality. I arrived just before the Easter weekend and when my boyfriend and I pulled into the centre, I suddenly found myself surrounded by a crowd of well-dressed people pouring into shiny gastropubs. We parked between a black Porsche Cayenne and a slick red Ferrari for crying out loud! There I was – the fashion blogger in shapeless bright pink sneakers and no makeup amidst blonde women with Louis Vuitton handbags on their forearms… The shame!

yarm england

After managing to put together a semi-presentable outfit, I left the house once again in search of answers. Seriously – what the hell was this place, why was it so nice and why had I never heard of it before?

Despite being what I have shamelessly dubbed the most romantic town in Northern England, it’s not on most travellers’ radars. That seems unfair, given all Yarm has going for it. It’s small, it’s friendly and it’s safe. According on a 2012 study which examined factors like school quality, childcare provision, affordability and crime levels, Yarm is the tenth best town to bring up a family in England and Wales.

Of course there’s nothing sexy or romantic about academic studies, but I just want to give you an idea of how quietly perfect Yarm is. Yarm is the girl who sits in the first row in class but still manages to be effortlessly cool. She’s nice to everyone, rarely gets into trouble and is adorably preppy. She’s timelessly beautiful but unafraid to try new things. In short, she’s absolutely rad and you will want to be friends with her regardless of her silly name.

Because there seem to be so few good articles about Yarm on the Internet, I’m taking it upon myself today to show you all of its cutest corners and tell you all about the best things to do in Yarm, should you choose to visit it. Here are my romantic suggestions befitting of this romantic English town…

[custom_headline type=”left, center, right” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true”]True Lovers’ Walk[/custom_headline]yarm true lovers walkWhat better place to begin your romantic getaway than True Lovers’ Walk? The riverside path is named after a tomb in the nearby St Mary Magdalene church but don’t worry, it’s not too morbid! The tomb dates back to the 15th century and its original occupants – a man and a woman whose origin remains a mystery to this day – are known as the True Lovers. See? Simple.

yarm uk
The path will take you on a scenic walk alongside River Tees and the town’s iconic bridge, which you can see in the first photo. The original structure was built way back in 1400 and although that’s no longer standing, the new one is just as pretty. Definitely don’t leave your camera at home!

[custom_headline type=”left, center, right” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true”]Shopping and Sightseeing[/custom_headline]yarm sundaesAs we’ve already established Yarm is not a big place, so when you get bored of your romantic stroll you can quickly get thee to the centre. If you’re feeling peckish you won’t struggle to find a cute cafe to satisfy your cravings – but don’t eat too much, because dinner time is where it’s at! But more on that later…

yarmInstead, might I suggest a little sightseeing and retail therapy? The sightseeing will be pretty brief and mainly consist of looking at the town hall, which is the building in the photo above. Got that? Good, let’s move on to the shopping! In Yarm, you’ll be spoilt for choice with boutiques for all styles and budgets – although higher budgets are definitely favoured here, especially at The House which sells high end designer clothes.

yarm shoppingIf shopping isn’t your thing, there is lots of amazing nature nearby. You could take the car and drive up to Roseberry Topping for a lovely view or check out some waterfalls in the nearby North York Moors National Park. Or just grab a bike and explore the area – there are lots of little villages nearby which will surely disappoint neither the adventurer nor the romantic in you. My boyfriend also just reminded me to tell you that said villages have lots of amazing pubs, which definitely counts for something.

[custom_headline type=”left, center, right” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true”]Dinner For Two[/custom_headline]yarm lucia's italian restaurantDinner time! I know I built it up in your head, but for good reason. Yarm is full of amazing restaurants – although be warned, they do have the price tag to match the food quality. The boyfriend and I had a lovely meal at Lucia’s Italian Kitchen – think fried scallops, roasted pork loin and succulent tomato pasta. They seem to have a new menu now, but it sounds delicious. Some other good tips would be Muse for a lovely Parisian vibe, Chai Wallah for Indian food or Santoro for more Italian.

yarm clock tower nightIf you’d like to go out afterwards, there are a few options. The Black Bull is a fun pub which used to be frequented by the likes of Oasis and is a great place to have a drink or four in their beer garden. If you’re after a night of dancing, The Cross Keys recently underwent a major refurbishment and it has a club upstairs. Saturday is your best bet for a bigger night out, but you could also come along on Tuesday for a slightly older crowd – it’s affectionately referred to as Grab-a-Granny night by locals.

And that just about concludes our romantic outing in Yarm! If you’re still scratching your head about the town’s silly name, here’s the simple answer. The name Yarm was likely derived the Old Norse word yarum meaning an enclosure to catch fish or from the Old English gearum with the same meaning. That’s as inoffensive a four-letter word as you can get…

[custom_headline type=”left, center, right” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h5″ accent=”false”]General Info[/custom_headline]
You can obviously visit any time of year, but there are a few fun things to do in Yarm which you should know about. Every second Sunday of each month, the town has a Farmers’ Market. There is also a funfair held in the High Street during the third week of October – you can check out a few photos here.

Have you ever heard of Yarm? What are your favourite romantic
places to visit in the UK? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

  • Dr. Sus
    Posted at 16:16h, 07 August

    This does look like it would be a great stop on a honeymoon! I love it when travel bloggers post about more obscure places. There are so many gorgeous towns and villages to meet off the beaten track.

    • Sabina
      Posted at 18:47h, 07 August

      Absolutely!! I definitely want to start doing more of that – there are so many amazing undiscovered places (not literally undiscovered unfortunately haha, but undiscovered by most travellers! :)) and it’s a shame to keep going to the same tourist hotspots over and over. And yeah – definitely a great stop for a honeymoon!

  • Deepti @ Endless Postcards
    Posted at 04:03h, 08 August

    I’ve never heard of Yarm but it looks beautiful! I haven’t explored the UK as much as I would have liked but cute little towns seem like an amazing way to explore and get a taste of local life. Beautiful photos!

    xo, endlesspostcards.com

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:33h, 08 August

      So glad you liked the post and the photos Deepti! 🙂 It’s a lovely little town, I definitely recommend visiting. You’re right – so many unexplored gems in the UK. I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to seek them out 🙂

  • talismangirl
    Posted at 09:13h, 08 August

    What a lovely piece. I’ve lived in and around Yarm all my life. Sometimes we take it for granted but articles like this really bring it home (literally) how beautiful it really is. It’s frequented by footballers and famous people (nasty nick, duncan bannatyne and tom hardy) looking for a bit of quiet upmarket chic.

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:31h, 08 August

      Thanks so much for your comment, really glad you enjoyed my post 🙂 I totally know what you mean – it’s hard to fully appreciate just how beautiful your hometown is when you’re living there. I travel a lot and whenever I return to my hometown I see it with new eyes 🙂 I’ll definitely be back to Yarm at some point, can’t wait. It’s a real gem 🙂

  • Paul Clarke
    Posted at 09:34h, 08 August

    Great article, I have lived in Yarm most my life and loved it as a child, young adult and now 40 something parent. It has everything. By the way the bridge is still mainly from 1400, one end was rebuilt after it was blown up for a drawbridge during the civil war!

  • Kiara Gallop
    Posted at 11:01h, 08 August

    I love the name! “Yarm” sounds like it should be introduced by pirates 😉

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:27h, 08 August

      Hahah right? Such a great pirate-y name 😀

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    Posted at 12:01h, 08 August

    Such a lovely ode to an undiscovered gem!

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:28h, 08 August

      Thank you Emma! So glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  • Paul Smith
    Posted at 12:16h, 08 August

    Love living in Yarm it’s one of the best places I have ever been too. Thanks for a lovely article and very well written.

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:28h, 08 August

      Thanks for your comment Paul, I really appreciate it! 🙂 Yarm is very lovely indeed, it was so much more than I expected. I’ll definitely be back 🙂

  • Paul Clarke
    Posted at 12:27h, 08 August

    Great article enjoyed reading, I have lived in Yarm most my life and loved it as a child, young adult and now 40 something parent. It has everything. By the way the bridge is still mainly from 1400, one end was rebuilt after it was blown up for a drawbridge in the civil war!

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:30h, 08 August

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Paul! Yarm is so wonderful – I loved being introduced to your lovely town by my boyfriend 🙂 Thanks so much for the info – I’ll update it in the post now for accuracy!

  • Peeling Paint
    Posted at 12:30h, 08 August

    Thank you for the lovely blog. I’m delighted you enjoyed our little town and all it has to offer. Love the picture of our fab stockist Cloud Cuckoo 🙂 ….

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:29h, 08 August

      Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 Yarm is a wonderful place, I can’t wait to go back! And Cloud Cuckoo has such lovely displays 🙂

      • James Brand
        Posted at 17:52h, 08 August

        It was very interesting to hear a Londoners take on Yarm and the nearby village I live in (Eaglescliffe) another interesting little factoid about Yarm is the Wren Family( of St Pauls Cathedral fame) once operated a vinegar brewery on the Banks of the Tees near the road bridge (I’m related through my mothers side).

        Also the village of Eaglescliffe has a nice public park called Preston Park on Yarm Road which hosts a number of events during the summer from flower shows to classic car shows and everything in between. Its also where the first public railway (Stockton-Darlington) ran through and next time you come bv I’d recommend trying a “Parmo” not terribly health but very delish( Breadcrumbed Chicken Breast covered with Bechamel sauce 3 cheeses and anything else you fancy from plain mushrooms to fiery chillis and pepperoni.

        The Storys I could tell you about the Cross Keys and Black Bull pub crawls…………..

  • Lucias
    Posted at 13:50h, 08 August

    Hi Sabina,

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments about Yarm and for featuring a picture of one of our delicious dishes too!
    We hope to see you again soon!

    Happy blogging!

    Lucias Italian Kitchen!

  • Sue Hields
    Posted at 19:04h, 08 August

    Hi Sabina.
    Well done with your blog. I live in nearby Ingleby Barwick.
    Yarm is certainly a vibrant little Town.
    My husband and I run a Salsa Club in the Fellowship Hall, West Street Yarm. Classes every Wednesday, starting at 7.30 with beginners, later on in the evening we have the intermediate class and free dance time. You don’t even need a partner! And we all roll into the Black Bull after the classes!
    We also run club nights 1st Saturday each month 8pm-1am.
    Come and join us.

  • missgetaway
    Posted at 12:00h, 11 August

    Oh that sounds absolutely lovely. I am in love with everything British and that city looks gorgeous to me. Funny that you didn’t have a clue where he’s taking you to 😀

    Love, Kerstin

  • QueenBeady
    Posted at 10:34h, 22 September

    What a wonderful post. I love how you describe the town. I almost felt like I was there with you! I might just have to have a little day trip as it’s not too far from us ❤️
    Bee | QueenBeady.com

  • Monika Komar
    Posted at 09:47h, 20 November

    This looks and sounds fantastic! Definitely my cup of tea.
    For me, one of the loveliest and most romantic places is Polperro (Cornwall) – I’d definitely recommend it if you’re heading that way: https://mktravelling.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/polperro/

    Monika, mktravelling.wordpress.com

  • Elle & Jay, xo.
    Posted at 11:45h, 07 March

    Yarm looks gorgeous!! We’d never heard of it either but definitely wont forget it after this cute post!
    Elle & Jay, xo.

  • Lizzy
    Posted at 17:37h, 07 March

    I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Yarm either, but it looks lovely! I’m forever looking for cute little places to head for a long weekend, so this has been added to my list!

  • Tanja / The red phone box trav
    Posted at 09:58h, 05 August

    what a lovely town!and where’s the photo of the cat?:)

  • Julie Simpson
    Posted at 18:14h, 05 February

    Ive lived here for most of my life.Downside to Yarm is the traffic!Too many cars and too many new houses being built in the area!Great restaurants though and pubs.We go on a Mon night as 2 pubs have cheap real ale then.Its a nice safe area.