Located just off the A64, halfway between York and Scarborough, Malton is perhaps a less obvious destination than its larger near-neighbours, however, is very easily accessible and offers many rewards for those making the trip.
Malton is a picturesque Yorkshire market town neatly nestled amongst scenic rolling countryside. Known, deservedly, as Yorkshire’s Food Capital, the town is very well serviced with traditional artisan independents purveying the finest meats, pastries, and other goodies from the area (there’s even a local brewery); and, on every second Saturday of the month, there’s a delightful food market held in the town centre. As you’d expect, there’s a wide range of excellent eateries from which to choose, and then in May, Malton’s fabulous annual Food Lovers Festival is held which attracts some big foodie names such as Levi Roots of Reggae Reggae fame and Michelin starred chefs. Plus, if your waistline can take it, there’s now the Malton Game and Seafood Fest held annually in September.
Just a few miles north of Malton lies one of the country’s most diverse family theme parks, Flamingo Land Resort. First established in the 1960s as a small zoo (yes it did contain a colony of flamingos), the park has rapidly grown to now boast a large zoo and theme park all located on one site. The park is open to day visitors but, due to its large size, is best enjoyed over a few days with a stay in one of the many excellent onsite static caravans.
Flamingo Land really does cover all bases. Young kids will enjoy the many small rides liberally sprinkled throughout the park such as the junior drop tower ride, Frog Hopper, and the UK’s first interactive water ride, Splash Battle. For older children and adults there are some truly thrilling white knuckle rides to experience including the looping, inverted coaster, Kumali, and the UK’s steepest ride, Mumbo Jumbo, which takes you over a beyond vertical, stomach churning, 112 degree drop.
If you get bored of the 50+ rides around the park there is also a full sized zoo to enjoy. Containing over 120 different species including hippos, giraffes, penguins and lions, and located within beautiful grounds, you can easily while away an entire day ambling around. A must see is the excellent Sea Lion Show which strikes a perfect balance between educational and fun thanks to the excellent and knowledgeable trainer-cum-hosts. The cheeky Sea Lions delight showing off their amazing balancing and gravity defying tricks, whilst the trainer’s commentary explains how and why these traits are used in the wild.
Add to this some great evening entertainment, a variety of places to eat, onsite shop and leisure facilities, including swimming pool, and Flamingo Land makes for a terrific action packed short break. A good tip for those looking for a deal is to keep an eye out for vouchers in the national press and on social media during the summer months, for some great discounts.
Also just north of Malton is Eden Camp, an award winning WW2 visitor attraction, uniquely set in an actual ex-prisoner-of-war camp. Stepping into the camp you feel instantly transported back into wartime Britain thanks to the immersive sights, sounds and smells re-created from the era. The place itself, right down to its foundations, is living history where you can experience what it must have been like to be a wartime prisoner and there are plenty of other authentic exhibits, such as tanks and aircraft, to appreciate. Budding young commandoes will love the junior assault course and there is a newly refurbished café where you can grab hot meals and snacks (picnics are also welcome).
Offering a slight change of pace, a few miles to the east of Malton, is the Scampston Estate. This impressive Grade II listed country house is still the family home of the Legard family; however, it is opened up for the general public to enjoy over the summer months. The house contains many fine works of art, furniture and porcelain to admire, however, perhaps even more impressive, particularly on a fine day, are the gardens. Designed in part by ‘England’s greatest gardener’ Capability Brown, they provide a beautiful setting, splendid views and the ideal place for a gentle summer’s stroll. There’s also now a recently refurbished Walled Garden to explore, designed by the renowned Dutch landscaper, Piet Oudolf. This has a modern and contemporary feel, while cleverly designed to complement the adjoining 18th century park.