In a lovely chunk of North Yorkshire, Malton is at the heart of a rural area surrounded by pretty villages, market towns and miles and miles of lush landscape.
It means you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to properties. There are restored barns, elegant country estates, charming workers’ cottages and splendid town houses – all of which cover every age and style. Prices span the spectrum and there are plenty of doer-uppers for every budget.
A wee bit off the beaten track – but that’s part of the charm. A glorious road trip from Teesside over the moors via Helmsley or take the A64 from York. Hop on a train from York or a Coastliner bus if you’re into that kind of thing.
Spoilt for choice doesn’t cover it! As mentioned, this is a town which has had its fortunes turned round by the artisan food revolution – so go with an empty tum.
A good place to start is with an organised food tour setting out from the charming Talbot Hotel (itself the perfect afternoon tea destination – patisserie to die for!). The Food Tour takes you behind the scenes to learn and discover how fab food and drink is made as you meet the enthusiastic artisans themselves. On the walking tour you taste and experience the coffee roastery, artisan bakery, award-winning craft brewery or gelateria. Taste handmade chocolates, cheeses, macarons, desserts and much more.
TIPPLES: Try the Gin O’Clock Tour, sampling gin made in Malton as well as gin cocktails, liqueurs, gin infused chocolates and even a G&T macaron!
MARKET MOOCH: A monthly food market happens every second Saturday with the best of the local area – 35 stalls, loads of music and tastings.
In May 2019 the now famous Malton Food Lovers Festival brings in the crowds with big-name chef demos, talks, tastings, music and more – they call it Yorkshire’s Foodie Glastonbury.
DINE – A TOP FIVE:
– A freshly-baked wood-fired margarita pizza at La Pizzeria.
– Food 2 Remember’s dry-aged steak.
– Bluebird Bakery’s sourdough loaves.
– Yorkshire grouse from Derek Fox.
– A fishfinger sandwich at The New Malton.
LEARN IT: Malton Cookery School is housed in a beautiful building in the centre of town. Courses range from a seafood masterclass to chef’s table tuition, Yorkshire game cookery to Christmas cookery and regular supper clubs.
Selina Scott – you can buy Selina Scott’s socks made from goat hair at her Malton shop as well as cashmere gloves and other treats to keep warm.
Atom Retro specialises in retro, mod and indie clothing for the contemporary era. An eye for Sixties and Seventies clothing and a hint of vintage nostalgia.
Hare and Wilde is a stylish Market Street boutique with an enviable collection of homewares, interiors, kitchenware, rugs, lighting and more. Founded by husband-and-wife team Laura and Will, whose obsession is with Scandinavian design, muted colours and simple functionality for an urban interior or country retreat.
Bowley and Jackson specialises in shabby chic and vintage furniture and interior accessories for home and garden. Classic French and Scandinavian design such as wall lights and table lamps, and one-off pieces.
Swallow&Sons – sharp style for the chaps with cool bags, leather goods and gifts.
Worth a detour to Scampston Hall, five miles northeast of Malton, a Regency country house set in a Capability Brown landscape, with beautiful collections of art, furniture and porcelain.
It also has a stunning contemporary walled garden that’s one of the finest in England.
You’re not far from Castle Howard either if more stately mooching is in order. This fabulous house is the star of many a show – with a calendar of events all year long – from food markets to festive adventures and a proms spectacular.
The Milton Rooms on the Market Place puts on an entertaining programme of theatre, music, comedy, craft events, talks and markets.
Palace Cinema is a wonderful independent cinema showing mainstream and art-house releases, as well as live ballet, opera and theatre screenings.
Lucy Powell-Lewis is commercial manager at Rare Bird Gin in Malton.
Three good things about living here >>
– Malton has everything you need, the connections, the shops, and the community.
I can get a direct train to Manchester airport, be in London in two-and-a-bit hours, and be at the coast in less than that on the ‘UK’s most scenic bus route’ (it’s a real thing I promise).
– Independent producers in Malton supply the surrounding towns and cities with their produce. A restaurant in York buys the coffee from Roost Coffee, buys the bread from Bluebird bakery and is now looking at our gin. I know that if I buy food from Food to Remember in Talbot Yard, it comes from seven miles away. It’s the sort of thing that makes you feel good about buying from the shops here. I can get my whole house redecorated at ‘9 to 11 Interiors’, and in the shop opposite I can buy fishing supplies. The town still harks back to its old roots, but has a reinvigorated soul when it comes to production and producers.
– The sense of community. If you walk into a shop here, you are likely to meet the owner of that business. There is a shop owners’ community here, and they discuss everything from what dates they’re going to open over Christmas, to community fundraising. If you can’t get something from somewhere, the owner will know someone else who can help you. Everyone buys each other’s products, supporting each other, for instance if you buy a coffee in Maison du Vin, it’s going to be from Roost coffee, less than 300 steps away. That’s why the food festivals are so successful. Everyone in the town genuinely cares about bringing Malton back to what it deserves to be.
Three places to take visitors >>
– My first stop is always YO Bakehouse on Market Street, the best café and lunch spot in town. The coffee they serve is Roost coffee, and David the Baker, bakes everything himself down in their unit in Navigation wharf. You can often see him wheeling the produce up Market Street for the café.
– Next, Kemp’s General Store. Everything in there I want to own, and I mean everything. They have the most adorable gifts, cards and homewares.
– Then I would take people to Castle Howard, a few miles into the Howardian Hills, east of Malton. It is one the finest country estates in the country; still owned by the Howards – and the Atlas fountain is an incredible sight.
An ‘in the know’ secret >>
Palace Cinema on Yorkersgate is believed to have the smallest commercial cinema screen in the UK with only 12 seats? Baffling I know.