With a Local: Malton, North Yorkshire

This With a Local supplies insider tips on things to do and see while visiting Malton in North Yorkshire, England.

Malton is a small market town 17 miles northeast of York. It is building a reputation as a destination for foodies.

Tom Naylor-Leyland is the founder and director of the Malton Food Lovers Festival. Tom’s family has owned land in and around the town for more than 300 years. He was happy to provide tips and suggestions relating to the town, which has an impressive array of pubs.

Why do you think people should come to Malton?

It’s a food town. Not only is it a food town, it’s known as Yorkshire’s food capital. Why? Because we’ve got one of the biggest food festivals in the north of England, the springtime Malton Food Lovers Festival and a fantastic food market, Malton Monthly Food Market.

We’ve got Malton Cookery School and fantastic restaurants. We’ve also now got Made in Malton producer units that you can visit. You can go and see a coffee roastery, a gelato maker, a butchery, a baker, fresh pasta…it’s a foodie heaven.

What is your favourite place in the town (and why)?

My favourite part of Malton is, without a doubt, the Groovy Moo Ice Cream Co.!

Michelle and her son Ashley opened it a year-and-a-half ago and it has really captured the imagination of people from across the county and the whole of the north of England. People come from Sheffield, York, Birmingham and London. They even had a guy from Hong Kong who’d heard about it.

It has Italian-style gelato made with Yorkshire cream from St Quentin’s Creamery.

Ice cream served with a smile at the Groovy Moo Ice Cream Co..
Ice cream served with a smile at the Groovy Moo Ice Cream Co..

If you were going to take a guest to dine, where would you choose and why?

I think there are two places in town, The New Malton (2-4 Market Place; tel. 01653 693998), which is a really good pub.

It’s one of those places. It has two little fires. Gemma and Anthony have been running it for six or seven years. It’s a great place. They are modest, they probably wouldn’t even call it a gastropub but it has brilliant food. You know what? Terrible name-dropping but I took Antonio Carluccio there and he enjoyed it.

The other place is The Talbot (in the Talbot Hotel). The whole idea is fantastic Yorkshire food done simply. So it’s no frills but fantastic fish and chips and the best pork or game pie. Personally, I love liver, not everyone does, but they do some fantastic calves’ livers there—kidneys on toast—and a cracking steak.

If there is a bar or cafe that you could take guests to, which would it be and why?

I think The Spotted Cow pub (Spital Street; tel. 01653 697568) is hard to beat. There’s Suddaby’s (12 Wheelgate; tel. 01653 692038) too.

I’d probably take people to the Brass Castle Tap Room (10a Yorkersgate; tel. 01653 698683). It’s not open all the time. It’s almost like a pop-up pub. The beer in there is superb. Those guys, they make beer in a garage at the back and yet they’ve won several UK awards for their beers. They currently have the champion lager [Helles] and have awards for a few other beers. They are serious brewers.

Traditional Yorkshire fayre is served on a wooden platter in Malton.
Traditional Yorkshire fayre is served on a wooden platter in Malton.

What is your favourite legend or quirky bit of history associated with your town?

The Talbot Hotel is meant to be haunted but the tale that’s known in these parts is about Charles Dickens.

He used to visit his friend, Mr Smithson, and used to stay at the Talbot Hotel. Mr Smithson had an accountancy. Charles Dickens based Scrooge’s counting-house, in A Christmas Carol on Mr Smithson’s office, in Chancery Lane. They have a plaque there. It’s slightly pooky and extraordinary.

In the book, he talks about the bells of St Leonard’s. St Leonard’s is just up the hill—it’s almost like A Christmas Carol is coming alive in Malton.

If guests can stay in the area for an extra day, what do you recommend they do and see?

Malton is the gateway to this part of Yorkshire.

For history and heritage, we have Castle Howard…it is Vanbrugh’s palace. When you see it you just can’t believe it—utterly beautiful.

Walking on the North York Moors is so popular. Outside of London and Cornwall, there are more tourists coming to the North York Moors and coast area than anywhere else in the country.

It is 18 miles to the coast, about 20 minutes by car. Filey, Whitby, Scarborough—they are all fantastic and very accessible.

Further information

To find out more about the town, take a look at the Visit Malton website.

Photos illustrating this post are by Why Eye Photography.

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The Georgian era Subscription Rooms in Malton.
The Georgian era Subscription Rooms in Malton.

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