It was our first road trip of the New Year so where do we go? We’ve been to loads of places in the North over the years, so finding somewhere new to go that’s nice can be more miss than hit. So to ensure a hit on our day out, I wanted to go to Knaresborough as we’d been there before but I hadn’t written about it. However, to make that journey worthwhile we needed to visit another town. I dusted off the atlas and found Wetherby, which is about 8 miles from Knaresborough – well, that is if you take the right route.
Getting to Wetherby from Manchester is straightforward enough – M60, M62, M1, A1, exit junction 45 and then follow the signs into Wetherby on to the A168 and A661. I was very pleased to see on the way into town, a sign stating “Historic Market Town” – Wetherby looked to be a promising visit after all. As for parking, I got a little confused and ended up going through the town. Luckily we found 2 hours free parking on the edge of Wetherby town centre just off Crossley Street. We had to laugh at the name of the gymnasium next to the car park – it’s called “Sunny Gym”!
We cut through the car park and found ourselves on Westgate where we found our first charity shop of the day. According to my Yell app, there were supposed to be 7 charity shops, but in reality there seemed to be many more. The shops were teeming with older people browsing and chatting to staff. There are some pretty good charity shops in Wetherby and Neil picked up some cheap vinyl records and CDs. Neil will definitely want to come back here again for the charity shops alone.
You will always find a place to eat in Wetherby with its wide selection of cafes, pubs and restaurants. As it was a cold day we wanted to eat indoors somewhere and we found the Wetherby Whaler chip shop which had a restaurant upstairs. It’s a nice, clean place and seemed to be popular with the locals. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and need them more often, but I noticed the toilets were well maintained and pleasant. The fish and chips we ordered were tasty and we’d certainly come back here again.
Wetherby is full of independent shops, which is always great to see. I loved the pet shop with the animal tableau outside and there was a pie shop that caught Neil’s eye, especially the pies with black pudding in them. Each Saturday you can find in the local town hall an antiques market. It’s not a big market, but it was well organised and there was a camaraderie between the stall holders. I also noticed there’s a farmers and craft market every second Sunday of each month. This town seems like it has got its act together with lots of activities planned throughout the year.
The architecture in Wetherby is typically sturdy as it’s made from Yorkshire stone. We did spot the odd building built in the 1960s and 1970s, but they look much more dated than the buildings which have been here for hundreds of years. The place is very well maintained and you can tell people here really take pride in the town. I wish this was the case everywhere.
Whilst Wetherby is not really a touristy type of place, it seemed to me to be a nice middle class commuter town (well it does have an M&S supermarket after all) for people working in either Leeds or York. It’s great to go to towns with no expectations of them, as you come with no preconceptions and just see it for what it is. In this case we were pleasantly impressed with Wetherby and would definitely revisit.