Market Towns & Villages in Yorkshire
The buzz and hustle in Yorkshire market towns and the hum of folks getting the freshest meats, veggies and cheeses from their local farmers is intoxicating. Not to mention the deliciousness of picking up hot and fresh Yorkshire pies and other delicacies. Villages in Yorkshire don’t hold a market every day but generally speaking each Market Town in Yorkshire hosts a market on specified days of the week. This allows the market vendors to take part in more than one market.
North Yorkshire is a strikingly beautiful area to visit in England. We were lucky enough to take on a house-sitting job in a little village called Snainton which was perfectly positioned to visit historic cities like Scarborough, Pickering York and Whitby and to really enjoy the Yorkshire coastline and country.
From all the pretty Yorkshire Villages to the Yorkshire Market Towns spending over a month in Yorkshire in spring was an absolute treat. If you love the English scenic countryside then you will find no shortage of gorgeous villages and towns redolent with history to visit.
One of our favourite activities is to make sure we visit market towns and see all the farmer’s markets we can and Yorkshire has an incredible variety of markets to check out. From the gourmet heights of Malton’s Market once a month to the delights of Pickering every Monday we make it our mission to find a market.
England is awash with market towns and Yorkshire is no exception. Market towns have a long history here dating back to Medieval times when farmers would come into the villages once a week to sell fresh fruit and vegetables along with meat, eggs and poultry.
Market towns in Yorkshire do vary – some are strictly farmers selling their produce, fresh meat and so on and others are a combination of vendors from those selling Bric a Brac to bras and fresh baked goods.
Most markets unless otherwise stated will sell a range of products so don’t be surprised to see you can pick up some incredible meat pies and a couple of pairs of boxers at the same time.
Helmsley is a small market town nestled on the edge of the moor and was named Market Town of the Year. There are over 60 independently owned shops in Helmsley selling various items from kitschy souvenirs to some of the best pastry and meat pies I have ever tasted.
The village square is full of traders on a Friday and there is an abundance of tea shops to enjoy some Yorkshire cakes in.
You can also visit Helmsley Castle at the edge of town and learn how the castle evolved over the centuries, from a mighty medieval fortress to a luxurious Tudor mansion, to a Civil War stronghold and a romantic Victorian ruin.
Take a short journey down the road and check out Rievaulx Abbey, as you drive down the hill this perfect gothic ruin looms romantically in the gorgeous valley.
Malton is known as Yorkshire’s Food Capital and its twice-monthly market is a feast for the senses. From fat beautiful sausages to some of the best homemade cider this market is simply a must-see. Malton was by far my favourite Yorkshire Market Town beyond a doubt.
Great restaurants, tons of free samples and great local produce make this a great day out. The Food Market in Malton will have its own post shortly.
Malton market days are every Saturday in Malton’s central market place where you’ll find gifts, interiors, fashion, food, art and lots more.
Whitby is outstandingly atmospheric, with the brooding Abbey ruins that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula Whitby has charm and history.
The narrow little streets in the town centre give you a feeling of having gone back in time and are full of independent retailers with some funky things for sale providing the perfect setting for a charming and unique shopping experience. Renowned for its unique blend of local craft shops and jewellers (including highly sought-after Whitby Jet Jewellery).
Don’t miss England’s oldest medieval street in York – The Shambles
Pickering is a pretty and amiable market town on the edge of the North York Moors. Nestled between a Castle and the river Pickering is a charming village with little alleyways lots of tea shops and a great market on Mondays. Don’t forget to take a look at St. Peter & St. Paul’s Anglican Church with its world-famous 15th Century wall paintings.
Besides the Malton market, Pickering is my favourite market town in North Yorkshire. They have a great little market on Mondays that encompasses baked goods, the fish van, a cheesemonger with some awesome Yorkshire cheeses, and of course a couple of fruit and veg guys.
Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay is historically known as smugglers’ haunt and has a long history of evading the law which is where the name comes from, not as in the Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. There are absolutely stupendous views from the top of the village, you cannot take your car down into the village but must park at the top and walk down.
The town itself is charming and atmospheric with its lovely beach. On a summer’s day or any warm day for that matter, you will see the Brits out crabbing and looking for cockles and whelks in the tide pools of the beach. Absolutely brilliant place for fish and chips by the shore.
There are no markets in Robin Hood Bay but you will see plenty of farm shops on your way to find it. These farm shops have a superb range of products including the family farm’s produce and food made on the farm itself.
Thornton le Dale
Thornton le Dale charming little Yorkshire Village with lovely stone houses, a river running through and some delightful architecture. You can’t help but fall in love with this place.
Check out Mathewson’s fabulous antique car museum where they have great auctions once a month. You can see vehicles and motorcycles, mopeds and scooters plus tons of interesting car and vehicle memorabilia. I was pretty sure I spotted some British Celebs at the auctions, not to mention a few cars and bikes I could happily own.
If you love antique steam trains take a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Lady Lumley’s Almshouses are a restoration project that provides subsidized housing for older folks on the edge of the town square. Lovingly restored and renovated the original almshouses date back to 1657 when Lady Lumley bequeathed her estate for the creation of a school and almshouses for the poor.
The Square is in the centre of the village and here on the village green, you will see the Market Cross and Stocks. There isn’t a market in the square anymore and the last time the stocks were used was in 1874.
If you are a Downton Abbey fan you may recall the name Thirsk which is used in the show. You never actually see Thirsk but if you are up that way in North Yorkshire Thirsk is a charming town with a great artisan market. There are cobbled streets, lovely stone houses and the Thirsk Racecourse if you love watching the horses run. The market days are every Monday and Saturday all year long.
Skipton is another of those small market towns in North Yorkshire and it is known as the Gateway to the Dales. You can visit Skipton Castle or stroll down the Leeds-Liverpool Canal while enjoying a snack you picked up from the Market. The High Street in Skipton is where you will find the market and market days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Different merchants are set up on different days.
On the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, you will find Richmond. A very popular town to visit Richmond has some gorgeous Georgian architecture, a Norman Castle, lovely cobbled streets and views of the beautiful River Swale. Founded in 1071 by the Normans Richmond has a fascinating history. Market days here are every Saturday and on the 3rd Saturday of the month, there is an artisan farmers market.
These are just a few of my personal favourites from my time in Yorkshire. The list below is from the North Yorkshire website
Yorkshire Market Towns list
Kirkby Stephen, Pickering, Selby, Scarborough, Skipton, Thirsk
Bedale, Hawes, Kirkby Lonsdale, Richmond (indoor), Scarborough, Settle, Whitby
Knaresborough, Kirkbymoorside, Masham, Northallerton, Scarborough, Sedbergh, Skipton
Guisborough, Kirkby Lonsdale, Richmond (indoor), Ripon, Scarborough, Tadcaster, Wetherby
Easingwold, Helmsley, Leyburn, Reeth, Redcar, Richmond (indoor), Scarborough, Skipton, Stokesley
Appleby, Guisborough, Malton, Masham, Northallerton, Richmond, Scarborough, Skipton, Thirsk, Whitby
Yorkshire’s market towns offer a unique blend of history, culture, and commerce. From the vibrant streets of Skipton to the charming alleys of Helmsley, each town has its own character and charm that make it worth exploring. Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, handmade crafts or simply a pleasant day out with family or friends, these towns have something to offer everyone. So why not plan a trip to one or more of these delightful destinations and discover all that Yorkshire market towns have to offer?
Inspired to read more about Yorkshire?
14 Things to do in Whitby England
37 Fabulous things to do in York
The North Yorkshire Coast – 9 perfect seaside places to visit
16 Evocative Ruined Abbeys in Yorkshire
Helmsley Castle an atmospheric ruin in North Yorkshire
Whitby Abbey Exploring the gothic masterpiece
Visiting Bronte country, home of the Bronte sisters
Scarborough England – 31 entertaining things to do
16 of the best things to do in North Yorkshire England
Rievaulx Abbey a haunting ruin in North Yorkshire
Inspired to visit some Yorkshire market towns?