It had been a few years since my last visit to Richmond.

I’ve had some excellent days out there, and have one particular fond memory from New Year’s Eve five or six years ago.

Rather like a script from a Richard Curtis film – we shall call it Twee, Actually – my wife and I had blind-booked a B&B next to a restaurant in the North Yorkshire market town which dates back to 1071 Norman Britain.

As New Year’s Eve can often fail to deliver a top night out, our hopes were not high as we stormed up the A1 after finishing work on December 31. But from about 5pm, we entered the set of Twee, Actually.

Our bed at the B&B had a four poster, it snowed as we went out for a meal, creating a romantic feel, the pre-meal pub had a real fire, good beer and an ambient atmosphere and the restaurant turned out to be a real gem – it could only cater for two couples – was as cheap as chips with quality food and we were invited to linger with our hosts with a liqueur on the house as no-one else had booked.

Surely, Richmond could not match this experience next time around.

It nearly did, as one of the first things we saw as we were within sight of the castle built on the ‘riche-mont’, or ‘strong-hill’, that gave the town its name, was three lambs and a ewe ambling up the road.

Fearful of carnage, we slowed the car and started to fret about how we were going to pass, when a sheepdog appeared and marshalled the woollen ones to the side of the road, and growled at them to stand still.

Then a twinkly-eyed elderly farmer – clearly this ensemble was from central casting auditions for Babe, Pig In North Yorkshire – waved us on. One of nature’s wonders bringing a lump to our throats.

We were still on a high as the car rolled on to the cobbled centre of the town and we joined the cars trying to find a parking space in the centre of the market town that reminded us of a village in Ireland.

When we parked up, we were delighted to find that parking – for two hours at least – was free and we ambled around the Swaledale town, visiting the indoor market and enjoying a pint at one of the nicer pubs in the vicinity.

The skyline of the town is dominated by the castle which we had visited previously, but is worth a return visit as it has an excellent exhibition centre. It holds a few themed days throughout the year, such as the Medieval Courtly Combat for St George weekend on April 24 and 25, with very reasonable rates of admission.

The castle is not the town’s only link to things military. With Catterick Garrison barely a stone’s throw away, it is unsurprising to see a museum dedicated to the Green Howards in the square, with a new exhibition looking at the first Afghan war in 1839 to present operations.

After a pleasant amble around the town we moved on to The Punch Bowl Inn in Low Row, for an early evening meal.

Only 11 miles from Richmond, Low Row is spectacularly situated in the heart of a valley and sited on Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk and close to the 268-mile Pennine Way.

The views are spectacular. Low Row is wonderfully quiet and the Punch Bowl, which was built in 1642 and named after a dog called Punch that used to sleep in the bowl by the bar (you couldn’t make it up), offers a unique menu with the day’s fare written on a giant mirror.

With four real ales and a good wine list, a pleasant time was had as I tucked into a starter of smoked fish platter with horseradish cream and main of bacon joint with excellent homemade chutney, chunky chips and poached egg, while my wife had a starter of deep-fried potato skins with bacon, Wensleydale cheese and aioli (garlic mayonnaise) followed by wild mushroom and parsnip linguine.

We even found a pleasant route back to the A1 which took us through Leyburn and Bedale – ideal for a coffee before the hour-and-a-half run back to West Yorkshire.

- To reach Richmond in North Yorkshire from Bradford, take the A6181, A658, A59, M1, A1, A6108 and A6136.

- Richmond Castle admission prices are adults £4, concessions £3.20, children £2, free for English Heritage members. For more details, ring (01748) 822493.

- Paul ate at The Punch Bowl, Low Row, Richmond. For more details, ring (01748) 886233.