Richmond Castle is very much at the centre of the town by the river Swale. You can enjoy a beautiful walk around the Castle walls, but it's really worth going inside to discover more about the history of the castle and to enjoy wonderful sweeping views over the Yorkshire Dales from the castle keep. The Castle is now managed by English Heritage.
Richmond Castle was built around 1071 after the Norman Conquest in 1066 - the earliest parts of the castle are the long curtain wall and great archway in the keep. It's said that Richmond Castle is the best preserved castle of this scale and age in England.
For some time in the 19th century, it was an army barracks presided over by the Duke of Richmond. The Castle became the Northern headquarters of the Territorial Army in 1908. During the First World War sixteen conscientious objectors were held in the castle, kept in cells in what used to be the reserve amoury by the castle gate. Look inside the small cells and you'll see their really touching graffiti on the walls.
Outside the Cockpit Garden is a lovely picnic spot. When viewed from above you can really appreciate its formal layout. It was created in 2000 by Neil Swanson who wanted to create a garden that also reflected the castle's turbulent history.
Once you've walked around the inside of the Castle, take some time to wander around the outside walls, to wander by the Swale and enjoy Richmond's cobbled streets. Every time I do, I'm surprised Richmond isn't busier - there are so many lovely streets and beautiful buildings to discover.
If you're looking for somewhere to stay, I recommend Cordilleras House B&B or Holiday at Homes' excellent range of self-catering properties and lodges.