Grassington is a lovely small market town, often referred to as a village. Park at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre, and pick up some local information before setting off on a leisurely wander up and down its two parallel lanes. Spend a little longer and discover many of the intriguing and beautiful historical features including some of the ancient and ornate date stones above the doorways of old buildings.
Grassington is small and bustling, with enough small independent ships to satisfy both locals and visitors. There are several good cafes and pubs, including the excellent Grassington Lodge.
The wine shop has a Tardis-like feel and great selection, and there are plenty of places to buy chocolates, crafts gifts and clothes. The Stripey Badger book shop is a focal point on the small cobbled square.
Visiting Grassington today, you’d never guess that it was once at the centre of a thriving lead-minding industry (as the welcome stone testifies).
Dig deeper into Grassington's history with a visit to the small Grassington folk museum which is free to enter, but donations are very welcome. Many museums feel they have to distract from the fact they're full of historical items by providing touch screens to interest younger visitors, whereas the objects themselves are the reason the museum really exists.
More recently Grassington has also become known as “Darrowby”, thanks to the Channel 5 recreation of James Herriot.
One of Grassington's less savoury claims to fame is as home of the notorious blacksmith Tom Lee. In 1766, he went to a cock fight in Kettlewell with Dr Petty where the doctor won a significant sum of money in a bet. They apparently celebrated at various inns on the way home before Dr. Petty was killed in Grassington Woods. Tom Lee was arrested but there wasn't enough evidence to charge him until a former servant came forward a couple of year later and gave evidence so Tom Lee was arrested again and hanged. There are local stories that he still haunts the area.
You can enjoy jollier entertainment during the two week Grassington Festival each summer and the Dickensian Festival in December each year.