A Trip To The Holme Valley in West Yorkshire
Many a tear was shed over the summer as devoted fans the length and breadth of Britain raised a farewell glass to the ‘very last’ Last of the Summer Wine, filmed in and around Holmfirth. After 37 years, it was the end of an era, to put it mildly, but the lively little Pennine market town is looking to the future and refusing to rest on its laurels.
In recent months, several new businesses have opened and the already impressive variety of specialist shops and restaurants has grown ever wider. Life after Summer Wine? – the answer so far seems a resounding ‘YES!’ The BBC’s much-loved gentle comedy brought a tourist boom, but the town’s business community and the local authority were always keen to get across the message: “there’s much more to Holmfirth than Summer Wine” – not least the wonderfully scenic surrounding countryside waiting to be explored.
The flow of visitors from home and broad seems unlikely to ebb away any time soon, certainly not while avid viewers are still enjoying the finest vintage of the world’s longest running sitcom. The digital channel GOLD has been showing repeats on a seemingly continuous loop and sets of classic episodes are available on DVD. The series has also built up a loyal following in other countries, some of which have a long way to go to catch up with the UK.
Places to visit in Holmfirth and sights to see
The Riverside Shopping Centre is definitely worth a visit with a great mix of retailers, all under one roof, including Jiana jewellery, Bridal Boutique, Serene Living home and gifts, Firebelly woodburing stoves, Amelie ladies fashions and Medicare chemists, not forgetting the Togo Cafe, a welcome refreshment stop for weary shoppers.
Also in the riverside quarter, al fresco tables and seating outside Hervey’s Bar and in front of the neighbouring Old Bridge Hotel have helped to create a nicely relaxed, continental atmosphere – especially when the sun shines. The historic Picturedrome cinema, next door to the hotel, has become well know for live music concerts featuring some of the best known names in rock and pop through the decades.
These days you don’t have to venture very far to find a vibrant array of shops and galleries, pubs, restaurants, cafes and tearooms, bistros and cafe bars. Weekend and midweek breaks have become popular with a choice of B&B guest house, hotel and self-catering accommodation. Within easy walking distance, an array of riches awaits, whether you fancy a spot of leisurely browsing and buying, or are just looking for somewhere to enjoy a quick snack and a cuppa, a light lunch or main meal.
As well as strolling around the main shopping areas of Huddersfield Road, Victoria Street, Hollowgate and Towngate, you might like to seek out some of the hidden delights of Holmfirth which are also close by, if slightly off the beaten track.
There are shops specialising in clothes and shoes, crafts and toys, cards and gifts, plus many more which don’t really fit any of those categories. Many of the businesses here remain staunchly independent, some are carrying on a family tradition handed down through the generations.
Traditional food retailing is still very much to the fore, with independent, often family-run shops supplying freshly baked bread and cakes, fruit and veg, meat, fish and dairy products. A welcome blast from the past for visiting shoppers, traders like these have survived thanks to their loyal, regular customers who return week in week out.
Holmfirth is also well known for its Wednesday vintage market featuring antiques, collectibles and retro goods; Thursday general market and Saturday craft and food market. The ever popular farmers’ market takes place on the third Sunday of each month, 8am to 2pm. Nearby is the recently doubled-in-size Longleys ice cream parlour and coffee shop and further up Huddersfield Road, Taylors seafood restaurant and wine bar.