Yorkshire has an abundance of beautiful market towns scattered throughout the county including the very best in Britain! Every town has its own unique charm, boasting something for everyone.
There is nothing more quintessentially Yorkshire than the traditional Yorkshire market town. Scattered across the county, these picturesque towns are the perfect place to pick up the freshest produce and discover hidden gems within beautiful surrounding countryside. For some extra special local produce, visit one of Yorkshire’s increasingly popular farmers’ markets.
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- Hebden Bridge
- Wetherby (Though it’s often associated with West Yorkshire, it’s technically in the City of Leeds district)
- Ilkley (Similar to Wetherby, it’s in the City of Bradford district)
- Sowerby Bridge
East Riding of Yorkshire:
- Harrogate (Now more of a spa town, but it has a market history)
- Ripon (Though it has city status due to its cathedral, it has the feel and size of a market town)
- Scarborough (Now more of a seaside resort, but it has a market history)
- Whitby (Known more as a seaside town, it has a strong market tradition)
- Yarm (Though historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, it’s currently in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham)
One of Yorkshire’s most renowned foodie destinations with its famous local produce and monthly food market. This pretty market town has an array of traditional food shops with butchers, grocers, delis and a fishmonger. Learn to cook at Malton Cookery School or visit the town’s growing community of Made In Malton artisan producers.
Malton Monthly Food Market is every second Saturday and the Food Lovers Festival in May attracts some of the biggest names in food. Not forgetting September now has the new Malton Game and Seafood Fest.
An upmarket shopping experience in a beautiful and historic setting. It’s lined with cobbled streets and charming courtyards with the hustle and bustle you would expect of a market town. It strikes a perfect harmony between past and present, offering an array of things to do.
The Saturday Market provides a vibrant and friendly atmosphere, each week proving to be as lively and colourful as the one before. As well as the market there are also many smaller, independent shops. Find antique shops and craft arcades down narrow streets with plenty of pubs to discover.
Against the stunning backdrop of the Peak District National Park, Holmfirth is a thriving market town. You’ll find speciality shops and markets, bespoke art and tempting treats, plus a packed events programme from May to November.
Unique, creative and fun, there’s a lively festival scene including art week, food and drink, folk, film and art festivals. Holmfirth Food and Craft Market takes place every Saturday, but at any time you can try local produce like Longley’s ice cream, the Nook’s Fiery Red Ale, or Barncliffe Brie.
Surrounded by breathtaking countryside, Hebden Bridge has been voted as the ‘Market Town of the Year’ and the Open Air Market attracts visitorsall year round.
Hebden Bridge Market was recently awarded ‘Best Small Outdoor Market’ by the National Association of British Market Authorities. The town has a number of famous literary ‘residents’, including Sylvia Plath and former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes whose birthplace can be found in the nearby village of Mytholmroyd.
Spoilt For Choice
Nestled in the Vale of Mowbray between stunning national parks, you’ll find the market town of Northallerton in the heart of North Yorkshire. With a host of local delis, restaurants and coffee shops to choose from, you may be spoilt for choice.
Markets take place on the High Street every Wednesday and Saturday with fresh local ingredients and a great range of stall holders, but it’s also worth popping into some of the town’s famed independent stores. Barkers department store has been serving Northallerton for over 100 years. Lewis & Cooper is a multi award-winning independent gourmet food store, packed with the most flavoursome foodie treats, fine wines, delicious gift baskets and sumptuous food hampers.
The highest market town in the county and one of the best-kept secrets in South Yorkshire, Penistone deserves close investigation to reveal its hidden treasures. The local Food & Farmers Market is not to be missed and the town boasts plenty of friendly restaurants and delicatessens where you can fill your boots with Yorkshire’s finest fare.
With a rich heritage dating back over 1,300 years, there is lots to discover in the ancient city of Ripon. At the heart of the city, the market place is surrounded by a mix of high street and independent shops and eateries and hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
The thriving Thursday market is still opened at 11am by a bellman, in a tradition dating back to the Corn Market. Another ancient custom is that of the Ripon Hornblower, which has continued for over 1,000 years and still sees the “setting of the watch” every night at 9pm at the Obelisk, situated on the Market Place.
A short stroll down the historic street of Kirkgate, with its quirky shops takes you to a jewel of the city – Ripon Cathedral. Founded by St Wilfrid in 672AD and with its original Saxon crypt this impressive building is well worth visiting. A short walk in the opposite direction from the market place takes you down Westgate to the Green Flag awarded Spa Gardens with its beautiful Victorian bandstand.
SPOTLIGHT ON HELMSLEY
If you were asked to imagine the perfect English market town, then it’d probably look a lot like Helmsley. There’s the bustling market square, the dramatic castle ruins, the charming tea rooms, the inviting inns; all surrounded by mile after mile of the beautiful North York Moors. Indeed, the Cleveland Way and Ebor Way both begin from here. It’s no wonder that Helmsley welcomes back so many visitors year after year.
The winner of the 2015 Great British High Street’s Best Market Town award, Helmsley really is somewhere very special, whether you’re visiting for a few hours or a few days. There are plenty of attractions based within the town, such as the National Centre for Birds of Prey, Helmsley Castle, the Walled Gardens and the thriving Helmsley Arts Centre – along with a wide range of events held all year round.
HARD TO BEAT
For walkers and cyclists, Helmsley marks the start of the Cleveland Way, and is a great place to explore the spectacular North York Moors National Park. There is a huge choice of eateries and for a spot of retail therapy, Helmsley is hard to beat. It’s jam-packed with a wide range of quality independent shops, offering products you won’t find elsewhere. Everywhere you go, you’ll experience a warm welcome.
This was taken from our 2017 Spring Guide.