Market town perfection - why foodie Malton is thriving

PUBLISHED: 12:16 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:25 24 August 2020

Quirks on every corner

Quirks on every corner

©Tony Bartholomew

Discover the restaurants, cafes and shops in food-lovers town, Malton

Talbot Yard food court is a haven for foodiesTalbot Yard food court is a haven for foodies

Location, location 

Malton is a near-perfect example of a busy traditional English market town, surrounded by a patchwork of glorious and very diverse North Yorkshire countryside, including the woodlands of the Howardian Hills, the drama of the North York Moors National Park, and the gently rolling landscapes of the Yorkshire Wolds. It’s easy commuter distance to York too, and less than a half-hour drive or train ride to the coast if you fancy a bit of sea air.

Bag a property

With an average property price of just under £250,000 last year, Malton’s not the cheapest place to move to. Detached houses sell for around £300,000, semis come in at around £215,000 and a neat terrace can be yours for under £200,000. At time of writing, there’s a gorgeous six-bedroom home on The Mount going for £1.5m. Complete with heated indoor pool, and all set in an acre of beautifully-kept gardens, it might be worth running out and buying a lottery ticket for!

Find an antique or vintage treat inThe ShamblesFind an antique or vintage treat inThe Shambles

Easy access?

You can travel to Malton by train from York in under 30 minutes, so it’s easy to commute to there or, a little further afield, to Leeds or Doncaster. A day by the seaside is just 25 minutes away, with regular trains to Scarborough, and (via Seamer) Filey. The main A64 from Scarborough to York can be a little frustrating if you’re heading to the coast as its single carriageway all the way. Malton is also easily accessible from the North York Moors via the A169. Regular bus services run from York, Scarborough, Leeds, Pickering and Helmsley, and on Fridays and Saturdays.

Explore 

In the year that we celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a trip to Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum is a must to find out what life was really like in World War II. Built on the site of a PoW camp, it uses the original huts to house permanent exhibits ranging from the rise of the Nazi party in Germany to the role of women in the war and a year-by-year history. Further back in time, nearby Wharram Percy is one of the largest and best preserved of Britain’s 3,000 deserted medieval villages. In the care of English Heritage, it was home to a thriving community for six centuries before being abandoned around 1500. Today, the beautiful ruins of the church, featuring architecture ranging from the 12th to the 17th centuries, overlook the grassed-over foundations of peasant houses and two manor houses. Historic Old Malton offers many rewards to the wanderer, including the impressive St Mary’s Priory Church, said to be the only church of the Gilbertine Order still in regular use.

The characterful townThe characterful town

Café & cocktails 

After years of selling at Malton’s food markets, the veggie and vegan wizards at The Purple Carrot took the plunge and opened a little café – their pastries are legendary. If plant-based eating isn’t your thing, head for The New Malton, Stew and Oyster, the Kingfisher Café (part of the Camphill Village Trust), The Hidden Monkey, Costello’s or Chapter One Bistro – there are plenty more, too. And if it’s a tipple you’re after, grab a craft beer from Bad Seed or Brass Castle, or a refreshing G&T or glass of wine from glitzy Maison du Vin.

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Malton is packed with independent shopsMalton is packed with independent shops

Retail therapy 

As befits the self-proclaimed food capital of Yorkshire, Malton has plenty of foodie treats on offer. Visit the Talbot Yard Food Court to bag yourself some artisan gin from the Rare Bird Distillery (which also has a gin school where you can create your own bespoke spirit), superb sourdough from Bluebird Bakery, freshly ground coffee from Roost and butchery and seafood from Food 2 Remember. Round it all off with a gelato from Groovy Moo and take home some high end patisserie treats, including memorable macarons, from Florian Poirot. If food isn’t your thing, you’ll find beautiful homeware and gift shops on The Shambles, in Rickshaw Bazaar, The Woodlark and Gale and Temple, as well as popular comic shop, Universal Geek. In the town centre, look out for Kemp’s General Store, The Rusty Fox, Hare and Wilde, Bowley and Jackson, Interiors at 9-11, The Gallery and Plum. Fashion plates will enjoy Smash Boutique, Swallow and Sons, and vintage specialists Atom Retro, while skincare buffs should head to Cosy Cottage Soap for ethical goodies.

Look out for… 

Mo MacLeod owner of  new  business Rickshaw  which opens in Malton on 2nd September and has pledged to donate 10 percent of profits from her fairtrade and ethically sourced products to  a school in Bangladesh. She is seen here in The Shambles in Malton town centre on the rickshaw from Bangladesh which she hopes will become a familair sight around the town.Mo MacLeod owner of new business Rickshaw which opens in Malton on 2nd September and has pledged to donate 10 percent of profits from her fairtrade and ethically sourced products to a school in Bangladesh. She is seen here in The Shambles in Malton town centre on the rickshaw from Bangladesh which she hopes will become a familair sight around the town.

The much-loved monthly food markets, held right in the town centre on the second Saturday of each month. They started up again in August after, of course, an enforced break, and social distancing means they currently have a few less vendors than usual, but still promise a tempting banquet of treats. Twice a year, in May and September, Malton plays host to the huge Food Lovers Festival, with big-name chefs in attendance to do talks and demos – previous guests have included man of the moment Tommy Banks, the late and much-missed Antonio Carluccio, and Jay Rayner. At time of writing, it hadn’t been announced whether the September Harvest Festival would be able to go ahead – check visitmalton.com for more information. If it doesn’t happen, all the more reason to look forward to the next Food Lovers Festival over May Bank Holiday 2021. If you’re still hungry for more, book onto a Food Tour for a three-hour guided trip taking you behind the scenes at many of the town’s favourite producers, or a course at Malton Cookery School. Stlll closed at time of writing, the beautiful Wesley Centre hosts concerts and much more.

Meet a local

Mo MacLeod runs Rickshaw, a tardis of a shop at the top of The Shambles specialising in all things Fairtrade, eco-friendly and ethically sourced. A great believer that shopping need not be a stressful experience, Mo invites you step in, take a breath and be uplifted by the rainbow of colour, essential oil fragrances and meditative music.

Best thing about living and working in Malton?

For too long a town that people passed through or by on journeys between York and the coast, Malton‘s more recently emerged as place with a distinct personality of its own. Friendly and thriving, it combines all the best of modern-day living, shopping and socialising with the traditions and architecture of an historic market town.

Time Out

Whatever your interests, there’s something for everyone. Country walks followed by a pub lunch; Craft and Chat at the Milton Rooms; concerts at the Wesleyan Centre; monthly food markets; local history with Malton Museum and the Woodhams Stone Collection plus a huge array of fabulous bars and eateries – you’re never far away from something delicious.

Malton’s USP

For a small town, Malton definitely punches above its weight in terms of the quality and diversity of its independent businesses, and is one of the few remaining towns in the UK that still hosts a livestock market in the centre of town twice a week. Situated between moors, wolds, coast and city (York), it is perfectly placed to give easy access to all that this gorgeous area has to offer.

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