It’s very rare Dex and I get a day off together so when we found we were and the sun was shining we knew we wanted to venture out together and see what was new and buzzing around Teesside lately. We decided on Yarm as last time we ventured to this picturesque market town it was tanking down but it did mean we got to spend a lovely time chatting to Steve, the very likeable and friendly owner of coffee shop, Mint Hobo.
In the car as you drive through its high street you are greeted by the imposing central clock tower and cobbled pavements. Yarm has long been known as one of the most cosmopolitan parts of Teesside with it’s swanky wine bars, indie shops and designer boutiques.
We’ve mentioned on our channels how we feel an air of optimism everywhere we visit since we’ve began our research for this blog and even here where it’s never really appeared to suffer from too much of an economic down turn it seemed as if it was basking in the glory of what is happening around the region. Or maybe it’s just the sun was shining brightly — either way there was a good buzz about the place with lots of people milling around packing out all the coffee spots. The downside to this is it’s often horrendous to park but don’t let that deter you. It’s worth it.
First stop was The Mockingbird Deli. This is one of my usual stop offs when in Yarm. It’s always busy — the food and coffee has always hit the spot for me. We had chicken fajita ciabattas with salad and nachos. Perfect start!
I always love the displays in here — lots of tempting goodies.
Next we went to look for The Lion’s Den. We were on a misson to visit here as we were after purchasing a bottle of the new limited edition Orange Blossom gin by Poetic License. It it so limited they had literally just sold their last bottle of it that morning. So we opted for the latest by one of our favourite gin brands, Edinburgh Gin. It’s called Plum & Vanilla liqueur.
It’s an amazing shop for gins and vodkas and look at this wall of beer!!
Next up was my all time Yarm favourite – Strickland & Holt or Strickies as it’s often called by locals. This is an absolute cornucopia of things you don’t need but want! I’ve been coming here for gifts and Christmas decorations for as long as I can remember. It’s had a bit of a face lift recently and I think it’s new facade looks fab and very in keeping with it’s heritage. It’s always been excellent at re-inventing itself and moving with the times.
This picture gives you an idea of what an Aladdin’s Cave it is .. there’s even a tea shop at the back which I can reliably report sells lush cake!
But one of the reasons we simply HAVE to keep coming back is for the …. salad dressing.
We’ve never tasted anything like it anywhere else. We’ve even tried to replicate it at home but we just can’t get it the same. It must because one of their ingredients they list as ‘LOVE’!
Dex allowed me a quick five minutes around one of my favourite boutiques — Jules B. Their Yarm store doesn’t sell their menswear collection otherwise it would’ve been a different story I can tell you. He tried to cajoule me into buying this Vivienne Westwood top and this gorgeous bag. He’s quite a dab hand at spending my money in more ways than one! I must admit I’ve been thinking about them a lot since — he does know his mum well!
Yarm also has it’s fair share of good quality eateries when you are after something more substantial like lunch or dinner. Muse below also has a licensed pavement cafe for when the weather becomes more clement — very a la Parisian.
We’ve never had an opportunity to try Cena. It’s styled like an Italian trattoria with a menu selection to match. It’s on our list — we’ve let it pass us by for too long.
Cloud Cuckoo is a cute little gift shop that always has the most colourful and appealing window displays. You’d be sure to find something here if you were present shopping for someone hard to buy for. I particularly liked their Katie Loxton range of goodies — so I will be back very soon.
We just loved the fact that Waterstones had such a fantastic display of Northern books, too. They must have been expecting us! 😉
This leisurely jaunt took about three hours and that didn’t even involve a stop off for an alcholic beverage, sadly. There’s so much more to see and do. If you like Jesmond you’ll love it here! Let us know in the comments where else you would recommend for visitors to Yarm.