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A local town to me is a small market town called Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. For me it is a twenty minute drive and one I visit often especially as it is home to the nearest major supermarket for me. I had to tell you about it as it is a gem of place in our county. It is named the East Riding County town.
One of the main reasons I visit Beverley is not only do a week's food shop but to do general present shopping, things for myself or my boys. The main bulk of shops are in the centre of Beverley running down a pedestrian only street named Toll Gavel to Wednesday Market place. Along this pedestrian street are many high street shop names you would recognise like Boots, Dorothy Perkins, Clarks, W H Smiths, Wilkinson's, Thornton's & Browns department store which recently opened in the old corn exchange etc. As well as shops there are coffee shops like Costa Coffee and many independent coffee shops too. This is what I like about Beverley the lovely mix of High street versus Independent and it works well. The fact along this part of Beverley there is no empty shop windows is a sign it works well.
One of my favourite independent shops is just off the main shopping street down past the Dog and Duck pub it is called 'The Toy Gallery'. It sells beautiful wooden toys ranging from pocket money wooden snakes to construction vehicles to large wooden kitchens to full wooden farmyard sets. They are quite happy for your children to touch and play with their display items which my eldest son loves. Recently we decided to treat my eldest son and buy him some individual pieces of wooden fruit. They have it displayed in crates a bit like a market and my son loved picking a few items to buy. The staff here are extremely friendly and we spend many a Saturday afternoon browsing the shop. It is certainly our favourite.
You find as you move away from the main shopping street and towards North Bar within there are mainly independent shops ranging from clothes to beautiful gift shops. It has been noticed over the last couple of years a few of the independent shops down here have closed down which is a real shame but there is still plenty to see.
As Beverley is a market town you would expect a market and a market is what you get. This town has a Saturday Market and a Wednesday Market. Unfortunately the Wednesday Market which is at the top end of the Pedestrian shopping area is rather small and nothing to shout about! I often find in many towns these days the mid week markets are often a poor turnout and there isn't a great deal to this for me is no except for Beverley. In total contrast the Saturday Market is fantastic. It is situated at the other end of the Pedestrian Street in Market place.
The Market place is surrounded by shops and many pubs. It has its own beautiful Market Cross. Something I often forget about. I remember when I was slightly younger on many a night out when I have sat on the Market cross thinking it was a mere bandstand! In the daylight you can see the beauty of the cross; it is rather a large piece which was built in the 18th century. The Saturday Market is situated in this area running from what during the week is the towns short stay car park up and past the market cross. I feel the Saturday Market is an impressive one with many, many stalls. Standing back from the market all you see is rows and rows of stalls filling the market place and further up, I find it rather impressive. The market has a great range of stalls here are a few I can name but unfortunately they are way too many to remember:
A coffee and tea stall - selling coffee beans, freshly ground coffee, teas etc
A olive stall - my fiancés and eldest son's favourite!
Pet stall - selling many things unfortunately we no longer need to use this one.
A fruit and veg stall - this is a lot more than a stall it takes up a biggish section and consists of many stalls tables put together. It has a very large selection of fruit and veg available. It is that big it even has a till area set up with four or five tills to serve you at! We often buy from here.
Local meat stall - there are a few different stall holders that sell their own produce from their local farms
Coffee stall - selling teas and coffees to enjoy drinking on your way round
A sweet stall - both my son's love this one
I could go on and on from home products, clothes, fish, bread, flowers, toys and on and on! You could definitely spend a good Saturday morning looking round it.
As well as a lovely shopping experience this town has a lot of history of which you can see. Even whilst shopping down the pedestrian street you only have to look up and you can see the history above the shops. The actual shop fronts may look modern but the buildings above don't. The biggest piece of history in Beverley has to be the Beverley Minister which is situated just off the town centre. In the town centre is St Mary's church which it's self is beautiful big church and often tourists mistake it for the Minister. The Minister is 1300 years old and has been rebuilt many times over those years! It is open to the public with tours available which are at a cost. As well as the ground tour there are roof tours Monday to Saturday at 11:15am and another at 2:15pm. Something that always sticks in my mind of the Minister is the look of it as it is missing one of its towers. Looking back in its history it is said it burnt down and was never replaced due to the cost.
As well as the Minister and St Mary's church and the market cross there is much more history to look at. Beverley used to have four Bars allowing access into the town only one of them remains these days and that is the North Bar, there are the ancient alms house, the Westwood, the Guildhall, the Friary which is now a youth hostel and the Beverley Beck which you can take a nice walk along. Beverley does have a town trail but I shamefully have to say I have never done it but I assume you would be able to get information on it from the tourist information which is in the town centre.
Beverley does have a large number of pubs, the last I heard it was around forty. There are a good few in the actual town centre one of which is The Kings Head. If you are after some hot food during the day I would highly recommend this place especially for people with families. It has recently been redecorated and has a lovely modern feel to it. For more history the oldest pub in Beverley is The Sun Inn which dates back to the mid 1500's so that is worth a visit! Also a local favourite is The White House Inn which to the locals is known as 'Nellies'. It is owned by Samuel Smith Brewery and still is very old fashioned in side. As you would expect from a Samuel Smith pub the beer is cheap.
There are many old streets in Beverley to explore like Keldgate, Hengate and Lairgate. That is the whole thing about Beverley it isn't too commercial and exploring it is the best thing.
Beverley does have a small railway station which runs between Hull and Scarborough. And also has a good bus service too. Before I could drive I relied on the bus service to get into Beverley and I was very happy with what they offered.
Eating out in Beverley can be a lovely experience. The town is full of lots of independent coffee shops and restaurants. There is very few chain eating places so it does push you to try something different. There is a wide selection of food to try within the town.
Beverley does pride itself on its festivals it holds and many it does. They have a Beverley folk festival, literature festival, kite festival and a biannual puppet festival as well as an Armed forces day. But my two favourite have to be the food festival they only just started last year. There were seventy stalls all selling local produced food I found it fantastic and there is one due in October this year. The other being the Christmas market who couldn't like that. I would say if you are in the area it would be well worth a look on the tourist information site to see if anything is on at the time.
Beverley Westwood is a great assert to Beverley. It is free Pastures land and Beverley welcomes their locals and visitors to enjoy the land. It is ideal for dog walking, kite flying and picnics. Many Sundays we as a family go to the Westwood and park up and take a walk. It is also home to the oldest golf course in Yorkshire. In the summer there is often an ice cream van parked up too! At the entrance to the Westwood on York Road is the pasture rules displayed which still stand today. All I would say is watch out for the cow pats!
Beverley is a wonderful gem in East Yorkshire and one I would recommend to all. It is a beautiful market town and there is very few of these in East Yorkshire unfortunately. I love going to Beverley whether it is for shopping or going for a walk it is my favourite town.
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