From Stately homes known the world over to the hidden gems of small family historic homes, tranquil abbeys, picturesque villages and beautiful gardens, Ryedale has so many places to visit. As a seasoned travel writer I reckon it would take me 365 days to visit and savour the atmosphere and learn the fascinating facts about every one of them.

As well as all this Ryedale has a spectacular unspoilt country side, boasts activities for thrill-seekers, history buffs, country and outdoor pursuit enthusiasts, foodies,  retail therapy, art and craft lovers and all in between.  This is a part of the world that is guaranteed to please all year round, so its not hard to understand why this is one of the best-loved areas in the whole of Yorkshire.

But most of all  Ryedale can be what exactly what you want it to be – a place for an afternoon out indulging in a spot of retail therapy and tea, a romantic or activity based weekend, a family staycation or a chance to experience some of the best agricultural shows, festivals and concerts or just to soak up the wild and wonderful ambience of the great outdoors

Nestled comfortably between York and Scarborough, Ryedale is home to traditional market towns Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Pickering and Malton and cholate box villages like Thornton-le-Dale.

Over 100 years ago this village was hailed as the most beautiful village in Yorkshire. Take a walk round this picturesque community with its old world charm, scenic surroundings and friendly atmosphere and its easy to see why its still regarded by many as that. Thornton Beck runs through the village with Beck Isle thatched cottage situated on the bend – a picture that’s often seen on calendar, chocolate boxes and greeting cards.

The village has now a new string to its bow as its  found fame as the village where Bangers and Cash, the T.V. programme featuring the Matthewson’s classic car auction business takes place.

History buffs are spoiled for choice in Ryedale. Stop off at the award winning Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton-le-Hole, the amazing Eden Camp in Old Malton with its thousands of WW2 artefacts and Pickering’s Beck Island Museum and you will find it hard to drag yourself away from any of these so do allow plenty of time for your visit.







Stand out stately homes such as Duncombe Park at Helmsley, Nunnington Hall and Scampston Hall and Walled Garden with its Palladium bridge and lakes and of course the national treasure of Castle Howard can take a few days to explore to their full potential







Castle Howard (in our main picture) is one of England’s finest houses Built in the 18th century, with its stunning interiors and awe-inspiring architecture it is a popular film location. It was used twice as  location for  Brideshead Re-Visited then Death Comes to Pemberley and most recently for the drama series Victoria and Bridgerton.

Going further back in time Hemsley Castle has eerily empty salons, tournament lawns and ramparts to feed the imagination of days gone by whilst for tranquillity Rievaulx Abbey one of the most complete and atmospheric of the country’s abbey ruins. Pickering Castle has been used as a hunting lodge, stud farm and retreat by a succession of medieval kings and is a great place to let your imagination wonder.






Vintage steam railway enthusiasts love Pickering as its home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Trains run from the station up to Whitby you can chose your own type of steam locomotive there’s even a Pullman Service with dining cars. The platform at Goathland Station was used in the Harry Potter films as Hogsmeade Station and frequently used in Heartbeat and other YTV dramas.

Ryedale’s Market towns have fascinating shops with even more fascinating windows that draw you to them and are doused with that old world charm that you seldom find elsewhere.







Walk down a tiny ginnel and you will be amazed at the plethora of different kinds of shops you will find. Each town has a market square where picture postcard outdoor markets assemble once, twice or even three times a week.

Malton has acquired the  title of Foodie Capital of Yorkshire with good reason as its weekly general and monthly food markets have gained a huge following of food lovers  those who love fresh and local produce. The yearly festival is regarded as one of the UK’s most prestigious food festivals in fact its often referred to as the Yorkshire’s Foodie Glastonbury.

The town centre is full of independent food stores and award winning artisans. What’s ex-ordinary about Malton is that such much of its award winning food and drink is made or prepared on the premises. At every corner there’s a new taste experience – many award winning – from artisan bakers, patisseries, a family butcher established for 100 years, micro breweries and even their own Malton Cookery School.










Malton is an excellent place to base yourself for a short break or before going on to explore the rest of  Ryedale.

We based ourselves at The Talbot a 17th century coaching inn that has played an important role in the history of Malton over the centuries.







The Talbot has been lovingly restored and refurbished yet it still maintains that old world charm and has a definite rustic feel to it achieved by its wooden floors and furnishing, crystal, large windows and sensitive lighting.

The hotel’s staircase is unique with sunlight coming down from the windows at the very top – but a word of warning do be prepared to climb the multitude of  stairs as there is no lift but help is given with luggage.

Our De-Luxe Room was spacious to say the least  and the wooden theme continued with antique furnishings, a very sinkable settee in the sitting area in front of a large flat screen T.V that rested on a Victorian chest of drawers. There was a very good choice of books to suit every taste and even a solitaire set perfect relaxation tools.







The room had a king size bed with crisp cotton bedding and there was even a Roberts radio by the bedside – something not found in many hotels these days – for those who like music in the morning instead of depressing news!

Even the bathroom had a rustic feel with a wooden tray across the bath with  a slot for your glass of wine and a book rest. There was also a large shower cubicle with a power shower and a nice deep wash basin.

The Talbot’s hospitality tray deserves a mention as it had not only tea making facilities and a Nespresso it had biscuits and two bars of chocolate for a late night snack!

The hotel’s terrace is a great place with fabulous views of the countryside for a pre-dinner drink and its even better after dinner for that nightcap under the stars as its wonderfully lit and very sheltered.







Dining here is a real foodie experience and even though it was mid-week the restaurant was full. The menu is full of local produce with a good selection of seasonal, light and healthy and classic mains as well as some decadent sweets!







As a starter my partner chose a minted lamb kebab well complimented by a curried yoghurt. I wondered what my Smoked Salmon and Crab Salad Cigar would be like. The answer perfect with the salmon and crab rolled in a crispy wrap, dressed with leaves and sour cream.

For main I decided on fish cakes, spinach and peas and I could not have made a better choice. The cakes, obviously home made,  were light and fluffy and the spinach and peas complimented them so well. I decided to forego the skinny fries for a house salad, which was one of the best I have tasted for a long time as it was not over dressed and had so many different ingredients in it.

My partner, who likes his steak, admitted this was ‘his kind of food’. The thyme rubbed flat iron steak  was tender,  juicy and succulent and cooked exactly as he asked it to be. It came with mushroom, watercress, onion rings and skinny fries and everything was piping hot.

Heaven on a plate for me came in the form of an Eton Mess Sundae. The meringue was homemade and the berries in the bottom were tangy which gave it a wonderful balance alongside the ice cream and whipped cream diffusing the overly sweet taste this dessert can normally have.

My partner’s Lemon Cheesecake was light and fluffy and melted in the mouth with a delicious biscuit base and a raspberry sorbet.

We took our coffee and aperitif out on the terrace and savoured our whole Malton experience under the stars.

Fact Box



The Talbot, Yorkersgate, Malton, YO17 7AJ. Tel: 01653 639096





For further details about Ryedale and its attractions visit

www.visitryedale.co.uk;  @VisitRyedale

Views of Ryedale from Ryedale District Council


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