Stuart Forster interviews Tom Naylor-Leyland who provides an insider’s perspective of things to do in Malton, North Yorkshire.
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Malton is a small market town 17 miles northeast of York. Over recent years it has won a reputation as a destination for people who appreciate good food and drink.
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.
Yorkshire’s Food Capital
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.
My favourite part of Malton is, without a doubt, The Groovy Moo.
Michelle and her son Ashley opened it…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.
Where to eat in Malton
If I was going to take a guest out to dine, 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.
Pubs in Malton
I think The Spotted Cow pub (Spital Street; tel. 01653 697568) is hard to beat.
I’d probably take people to the Brass Castle Taphouse (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 a champion lager [Helles] and have awards for a few other beers. They are serious brewers.
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 spooky 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.
things to do near Malton
Malton is the gateway to this part of North 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.
Map of Malton, North Yorkshire
The map below shows the location of Malton in North Yorkshire:
Hotels in Malton
Looking for accommodation in and around Malton, North Yorkshire? You can find Malton hotels on Booking.com:
To find out more about the town, take a look at the Visit Malton website.
Stuart Forster is an award-winning travel and food writer. His work has been published by National Geographic Traveller, The Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday.
Photos illustrating this post are by Why Eye Photography.
Thinking of visiting Malton? You might enjoy this post about The Talbot Hotel, Malton
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A version of this post was initially published on this website on 24 August 2016.