Escape from the city to Boston Spa and the Wetherby area where a village vibe is fused with a cosmopolitan air.
Image: Howard Barnett
Whether you’re on a quest to buy something special, take in the sights, or simply indulge on refreshing drinks and flavoursome food, the historic area of Boston Spa and Wetherby is a year-round daytrip destination.
A mere three miles south of Wetherby on the banks of the River Wharfe, the quaint village of Boston Spa is renowned for its fine Georgian architecture and surprising mix of attractions, shops, and inviting bars and restaurants. Jazz music fans can revel in the sound of live acts at the Jazz in the Spa, and bookworms will be thrilled to learn of the Boston Spa Reading Rooms, which hold over seven million publications. The Northern Listening Service, which provides access to the collections of the British Library Sound Archive, is also based in the village, housing types of recorded sound from all periods and parts of the world.
Carrying on the Tour de France’s legacy, St Edwards Primary School recently presented the Boston Spa Bike Fest. In addition to an obstacle course, bouncy castle and raffle, guests had the chance to buy/ sell or swap a bike, as well as learn to ride one.
The area’s roots have long been a point of interest for curious visitors; Wetherby originally provided a welcoming mid-way staging point for travellers from London heading to Edinburgh, and its beginnings can still be traced in the form of the old buildings scattered throughout the centre. Standing alongside the River Wharfe, wonders also include the Wetherby Bridge, a scheduled ancient monument and Grade II listed structure.
In the current day, Wetherby has emerged as a bustling location, attracting visitors from far and wide with its host of happenings. As well as a weekly market (every Thursday), there’s a farmers’ market which offers meat, fish and vegetables together with baking and prepared goods, while the many diverse independent retailers make for a unique shopping experience.
The enterprising spirit of the local businesses is particularly evident through the area’s social media initiative. Designed to connect companies and the community, the networking campaign has led to many Twitter accounts adding the hashtag #WetherbyHour to their tweets on a Tuesday evening from 8 to 9pm. As a result of the search facility and sheer number of participants, the area has frequently become one of the most talked about trending topics.
Another highlight is the Food Festival which will be back for a second year, running from 10th to 12th July at The Ings and featuring over 80 stalls of local produce and hot street food from around the world. Other spectacles to keep an eye out for include free children’s entertainment, live music, and wine and beer tasting opportunities. Tennis fanatics won’t miss out on the fun either – a spacious tent equipped with large screens will ensure you’re privy to all of the Wimbledon action.