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Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

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The video below refers to Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton where we explore the idyllic village of Hovingham, Yorkshire’s food capital Malton, and Malton’s surrounding settlements Old Malton and Norton on Derwent.

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Useful Links for Malton and Hovingham

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Norton on Derwent

Malton Museum

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Narrative from Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Britain’s most scenic bus route Thornton le Dale. In May 2018, the Coastliner bus service from Leeds to Whitby, the 840, became an award winner as it is the most scenic bus route in Great Britain. This is encouraging because bus services have had to struggle with cutbacks over recent years. In any case, we wanted to explore some of the attractive calling points along this route including YorkMaltonPickeringThornton le DaleHole of HorcumGoathland and Whitby. We’ll show you some walking routes, interesting landmarks, historical areas and beauty spots.

You can board the 194 to Hovingham at the Bus station waiting at Stand 3 in Malton and alight in Hovingham village. It might be an advantage to call into the office and pick up a timetable for the 194. The journey takes you through some stunning villages en route and takes around 25 minutes.


Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

The village of Hovingham is situated on the Malton to Helmsley road and it falls under the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire. It is also situated in the Howardian Hills, an area of outstanding beauty. The village has a post office, a bakery, a hotel, a pub, tea rooms, a school, a church, a phone box and more, but there is something this village lacks. See if you can recognise what this is.

The village is mentioned in the Doomsday Book under its present name. Doomsday Book sounds apocalyptic, but in actual fact it was simply a survey carried out on request of William the Conqueror to find out what taxes had been owed during the reign of King Edward the Confessor.

However, the village dates back even further and evidence has been found of Roman activity as it sat on the Malton to Aldburgh road. A Roman bath, tessellated pavement and other artefacts were found during the construction of Hovingham Hall. 

The beck running through the village is known to locals as Hovingham Beck but more specifically it is called Marrs Beck with two R’s. 

The village once had a railway station at the Helmsley side of the village. The railway was the Malton to Thirsk branch of the North Eastern Railway. Of course, many of the unprofitable lines were closed during the 1960’s as part of the Beeching Axe.

Hovingham Hall

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Hovingham Hall was constructed by the Worsley family who have reside in the area since the 16th century at Hovingham Manor, and the hall was not constructed until the 18th century. It has also been the childhood home of the Duchess of Kent. So the village has a strong attachment with the Royal family. It was built in limestone ashlar and also contains Westmoreland slate roofs. Interestingly, this Grade I listed building has an attached stable wing that is actually the main entrance owing to there once being a riding school. So the rear of the house is in a way the front of the house too. Hovingham Hall has existed since 1750 although not completed until 1174 designed by Thomas Worsley. 

Hovingham Hall

Hovingham Hall also boasts the oldest private cricket pitch in England and Arthington Worsley was the Captain of Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 1928. Today the house is occupied by Sir William Ralph Worsley. The house is occasionally opened to the public in the form of a guided tour, typically for 4 weeks in June. 

The grounds in front of Hovingham Hall contain an ornamental bridge with a waterfall. The bridge is part of a permissible walking route but sadly dogs are not allowed. Having said that, Hovingham is situated on two major walking routes, Ebor Way from Helmsley to Ilkley, and Centenary Way from York Minster to Filey via Castle Howard and Malton where dogs are allowed. Today however, the grounds are adorned with livestock grazing and bathing in the cool beck. Some are even enjoying the shade underneath the arches of the ornamental bridge too. There are days when I envy them.

All Saint’s Church Hovingham

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

The first of many churches we encounter today is Hovingham All Saints Church which dates back to 1860. The church was rebuilt on the expense of Marcus Worsley, however it was originally a Saxon church and the tower remains so. There is also a 10th century altar cross inside the church. However, there is also a methodist church in the village too that is grade II listed.

Upon Marrs Beck that runs beside the fittingly named Brookside is a Ford. If you do not know what a ford is, this silver van will demonstrate. As pedestrians however, you are better using the bridge unless you are cleaning your shoes.

What Hovingham Has to Offer

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

This idyllic village has tea rooms as well as Hovingham Bakery that was once a garage and petrol station, or at least it was when I lived here. As I am very early this morning, I’ve stopped for breakfast which was delicious! 

The Award Winning Worsley Arms

The village also has a thriving general store and post office conveniently situated on the busy Malton to Helmsley road. The Malt Shovel may have a name change by the time you visit as it is to be known as The Hovingham Inn. In any case, it promises to serve excellent food and drink when it reopens.  The village is also known for fireplaces as it is the home for Hovingham Fireplaces. 

It was at one time, not uncommon to have a Police House with an uninformed policeman in a village. However, these days the police are organised differently. You can still see the former police house in Hovingham today and it was still an active police house when I dwelled here during the 1970’s. 

Hovingham was also known for its quarrying as two limestone quarry’s exist in the area including a quarry site at Wath half a mile away. 

In 1881, a census recorded Hovingham as having a population of around 600 people. Today however, there are just over half this figure possibly because family’s tend to be smaller in present times. 

Places of Interest

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Another prominent building in the village is the well known Worsley Arms Hotel. Not only is it a traditional and elegant place to stay, the restaurant has recently been awarded Two AA Rosettes. It also has a fantastic garden for outdoor dining and is available for weddings as well as other functions.  

The school I attended and is still a functional school today is Hovingham Church of England Primary School that was built by Lady Worsley in 1864 then extended in 1888. Of course, for secondary education Malton is the nearest school available. 

Certainly Hovingham has a lot to offer but we are going to venture forward to Malton. The 194 service will arrive in the village from Malton and will turn around before collecting you from either of two stops, near the village shop or close to the Worsley Arms Hotel. 


Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Malton is a North Yorkshire market town that is also known for being Yorkshire’s Food Capital. Every year, an annual food festival is held typically at the end of May. However, do not be sad if you have missed it this year because the town also boasts a monthly Food Market held every second Saturday of the month and consists of 35 specialist food stalls. This is obviously popular with professional and amateur chefs as well as the general public. Diet starts next year. 

However, failing that, the main market square offers a weekly market between 9 and 4pm. Additionally, the town is adorned with independent retailers both food and otherwise, so no matter when you plan a visit you won’t be missing out. There are food tours available as well as gin tours too! Come up and talk to me in the queue.

Market Town

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Malton’s strong relationship with food isn’t anything new. Malton has always been a market town and its history reflects in the architecture.  It’s independent shops are in the shade of St Michael’s Anglican Church and is fittingly known as the church in the market place. The church dates back to 1150 A.D. and was established with another church St Leonard’s in Norman times we visit shortly. The original church, St Mary’s Priory is found in Old Malton that we also visit later. All three serve as historical landmarks in the area of Malton. 

Malton is Yorkshire's Food Capital
Malton is Yorkshire’s Food Capital

When we hear the term The Shambles we might think of York, but most historic towns and city’s had a Shambles including Malton. It was simply a place were meat was sold upon sheltered window ledges. 

The Milton Rooms although a place of entertainment is also a landmark in itself. It is a venue for both professional and amateur arts and it also boasts the largest sprung dance floor in North Yorkshire, two left feet or not.

The historic commercial properties within the market town are decorated in pastel colours, sat in an oval around the church which adds to its character. You don’t just know you’re in North Yorkshire, but you also feel it in Malton too.

The first recorded building in Malton was a Roman fortress north of the River Derwent built around the same time as the fortress in York during the first century. Much of the town came to fruition however in the 1100’s and the first record of it being a market town was recorded in 1283. However, in the 18th century, facilities were improved for the traders selling their wares. 

The Shambles Malton
The Shambles Malton

Talbot Hotel and Food Court

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Another prominent landmark in Malton itself is the 17th century Talbot Hotel. Your first glimpse of the building may have been on your bus journey as you entered Malton on Yorkersgate. It was originally a riverside coaching inn but today it stands as a charismatic 4 star hotel that is bristling with historical value. This 26 bedroom hotel stands in attractive gardens made up of fruit trees and wild flowers and is in keeping with its style and history. It has been an inn since 1740 and was once a hunting lodge prior.  Today it is a warm eye-catching greeting as you enter Malton as well as an extremely comfortable place to stay. 

Malton is an Historic Market Town
Malton is an Historic Market Town

Talbot Yard Food Court resides on the opposite side of the road and this consists of six artisan producers including a gin distillery, gelateria (this is Italian ice-cream to you and I), butcher, baker, coffee roaster and a macaron maker. 

First World War Memorial

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

On entry to Malton on the Coastliner you may have noticed the First World War memorial, which I personally think is the most aesthetic one I’ve seen. Of course, most city’s, towns and villages have some form of memorial. 

Malton War Memorial
Malton War Memorial

Another 4 star hotel is the Mount Hotel opposite the Talbot. It was formerly St Michael’s School and has existed since 1870. Eventually the school moved to other premises and the building then was converted to a hotel. 

Malton Museum and Palace Theatre

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Yorkersgate is actually quite an astonishing street as far as historical concerns go. Not only have we two hotels, the food court, and a memorial but also Malton Museum fittingly resides here too. This fully accredited museum is run by volunteers as well as a part time project manager. The museum is free entry and open between Thursday and Saturday from April to November. The exhibits relate to the history and heritage of the area, from Roman times in fact, and the museum is financed with voluntary donations.

Originally the museum was situated in the Milton Rooms since 1935, but when exhibits increased it was then moved to the town hall until its current location in the Subscription Rooms built in 1814. 

Yet another structure I find of interest is almost next door, the old Palace Theatre. Today it is home to the so called world wide shopping mall known as The Lanes. However, The Palace is also a cinema showing the current films. The Palace is family owned and the building contains art deco character. They also serve coffee in real mugs! One of the 3 screens apparently is the smallest commercial screen in the country. Did I mention it has all the latest digital projection equipment? 

Before or after a screening, there are plenty of opportunities for an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink in Malton. Remember, its all about food and drink in Malton, being the food capital. 

Malton High Street

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Another popular street in Malton is the main High Street comprising of banks, retailers and independent shops throughout. If you’re a fan of the Yorkshire Vet, you can obtain Ryedale shirts from Yorkshire Trading which I was told in Ripon is what they wear on the series. 

Malton Post Office was built in 1911 marked by two also historic red phone boxes. The architect was Walter Potts and is a grade ii listed building. The post office prior to this building was situated on Yorkersgate. 

As most towns, Malton also has its own library tucked snuggly away on a side street between the high street and market square.  

Saville Street links the market square with Yorkersgate which also has some points of interest. At the top of the street resides a bicycle shop and a cafe, but further down the street you will find the Wesley Centre. The Wesley Centre is not just a Methodist Church but also has concerts such as Julian Lloyd Webber and Leslie Garrett, and also features exhibitions. 

R Yates & Sons have been a presence in Malton since 1845 when Ralph Yates established a blacksmiths and foundry here. By 1895, the current building was built to be a warehouse, and as the business grew, by 1960 it change its practice of manufacture to retail. The farming and rural store still holds strong today.

Along Railway Street Malton and Norton are partitioned by the River Derwent and technically the Bus and Rail stations are in Norton, but you could also say that they reside on the border.  

St Leonard’s Church and Malton Castle

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

One obvious structure en route of the scenic bus route is St Leonard’s Church aforementioned closely associated with St Mary’s Priory and St Michael’s. It was built by the Gilbertine order relating to St Gilbert of Sempringham, and both St Leonard’s and St Michael’s were built to ease St Mary’s Priory in Old Malton we shortly visit. The church was built around 1190. 

Did you know that Malton had a castle? Just a few steps up the hill towards Old Malton you will see The Olde Lodge which is currently a hotel and a Tudor mansion. It was built on the west grounds of Malton Castle known as Orchard Fields. The first castle was built in wood and was situated in what is now Castle Gardens in 1138. It was later rebuilt in stone by 1189. It is in the same location the Roman fort Deventio was built of which plaque we see in a moment. The castle was important in the sense it welcomed both Richard the Lionheart in 1189 and Edward II in 1307. 

Next door is a similar looking building owing to its style which is currently the estate office. The Olde Lodge was built by Lord Eure in 1569 and remains and impressive structure and boasts 28 rooms in which to stay. 

Ryedale District Council obtained Orchard Fields in 1995 and of course the land itself was once the site of the Roman auxiliary fortress Deventio in AD71. In Norman times it was the site of the castle and later an Elizabethan house. Today it is a huge green area with picnic benches so if you have your own lunch or want to take a break this is an opportune moment. 

However, there is more to Orchard Fields than what is strikingly obvious. Excavations began in 1930 with Philip Corder and John Kirk, and this plaque was put in place that we see here. The area is still of archaelogical interest today. 

Walking a little further downhill you will find a tree lined walk that takes you to an entrance to a further garden on the right. This garden takes you around the rear of the olde Lodge and of course is Castle Gardens. If you have a few moments it makes an interesting walk. You will find trees that are adorned with mosaics inset in the trunks. 

Some of the paths around the gardens are laced in bark and weave you around the trees within the Castle Gardens. Although a some steps were found to Castlegate the door at the bottom was locked so it was a lengthy climb back up! Therefore you will have to leave the gardens the way you came in!  However, you will notice some interesting memorials to Malton’s Roman past. This of course tests your skills in reading Roman numerals.

No doubt the gardens, albeit in a town centre, will be a dwelling place for plants, birds and insects. Perhaps even a squirrel or two. We can pass under the arch and turn left to visit Old Malton. 

Old Malton

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

We might immediately come to the conclusion that Old Malton is a town but in actual fact it is simply a village a mile outside of Malton.   The village however makes its mark in the Domesday book under the name of Maltune which means Middleton in fact. Still, as you would expect, Old Malton came before New Malton we’ve just explored. 

In any case, you are greeted with some historic stone cottages which create an attractive village. You an imagine it being quite a desirable place to live even with the somewhat busy B1257.  Having mentioned this, if you need to cross this road, do it safely! As mentioned it is a busy link road, heading to the A64 and Pickering and also forms part of the 840’s route to Whitby. You might not necessarily alight at Old Malton but there’s some interesting buildings to look out for on the bus. 

St Mary’s Priory

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

One of these buildings we’ve already mentioned, St Mary’s Priory. This impressive stone structure was built around 1150 by Eustace Fitz John of the Gilbertine order. After the dissolution of the monasteries, it was bought by Robert Holgate who was the master of the Gilbertine order. 

The structure is set upon a grassy church yard with headstones impressed against the stone walls of the boundary. We’ve seen many churches today as they deliberately tend to serve as obvious local landmarks and are of course historic buildings. This one in particular seems to quite an interesting one to take note of on your travels, especially when it was the original and oldest church in the area. Morbid as it is, you can also take a look at some of the headstones and find out who they belong to.

However, churches are far from the only historic building around Old Malton as you are surrounded by grade ii listed cottages and outbuildings. If you have already been to Old Malton, you’ll no that there is a lot more on offer. 

Other Buildings of Interest

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

I said you might not necessarily alight the bus here but here are two reasons why you might. If you desire food and drink it is a optional calling point owing to the first of two public houses the Royal Oak and Wentworth Arms. The Royal Oak is a traditional fireside pub with traditional pub food and of course drink.

Just across the road is another community focused building being Old Malton’s community centre, a village hall if you like.  Still on the same theme of community buildings, this takes us to the second public house in Old Malton, The Wentworth Arms. 

The Wentworth Arms is not just a public house serving food and drink but it is also a place to stay too. It has a traditional theme to the public house as you would expect but it also has a modern twist with available wifi. Of course, the Coastliner bus has free Wifi too and somewhere to charge your smartphone. Both pubs have a bus stop conveniently placed outside the front door which is extremely helpful after a drink or two. 

On the opposite side of the road you will be glad to know that this landmark isn’t another church as we’ve seen quite a few today. To break the mould, this chapel looking building was actually the former grammar school. 

If you have watched the Thornton le Dale episode you will remember the most photographed thatched cottage in England. Well, they may not be the most photographed but they are certainly eye catching and photogenic. In the same area as the Wentworth Arms you will see these attractive thatched cottages that emphasises that you are in an idyllic village. 

This bus route covers many attractions including Flamingo Land theme park and zoo, but Eden Camp is situated on the outskirts of Old Malton and has a bus stop. It reflects the plot of land that was once a prison of war camp for captured Italians and German’s in Europe and Africa. 

Norton On Derwent

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Norton is actually an abbreviation of its full name, Norton on Derwent. Not unlike Malton and Old Malton, it resides in the Ryedale District.  The name Norton actually means north farmstead or village, or a settlement north of another. Again, it is mentioned in the Domesday book as Nortone and between 1894 to 1974, was part of the East Riding of Yorkshire. In 1974, these districts were abolished. 

As you may have guessed, Norton doesn’t reside on Britain’s most scenic bus route except for its arrival at Malton bus station. However, as the two towns are adjoined it is technically a calling point. However, you will see the frequent Coastliner buses to Scarborough here. 

Commercial Street Norton

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Probably the most interesting part at Norton is Commercial Street. This is the high street if you like of Norton and takes us not far away from the bus station. Along commercial street you will find Norton Library which carries a selection of books and DVD along with information and other tools. 

In honesty, I always think this building looks like a small railway station but in fact is the town hall for Norton. The building isn’t huge but then Norton is the smaller of the two towns. 

Further landmarks and points of interest include, you’ve guessed it, further churches. This is Norton’s grade II listed methodist chapel that was established in 1804. Just a few more paces down the road is Norton on Derwent’s Methodist Church which is more of an attractive stone building with leaded arched windows. However, these aren’t the only historic buildings. 

As you’d expect, Commercial Street is exactly that, commercial. Norton has many independent traders such as this Trophy and Print shop. There are also butcher shops in the town that no doubt retail locally produced meats extending Malton’s food theme to the opposite side of the River Derwent.

Norton and Malton have several supermarkets including Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Lidl and other smaller local stores. However, these independent stores not only reflect local food but many other trades too including pet shops, lighting, home furnishings and more. 

Of course, like its neighbours, Norton on Derwent also has public houses, three on Commercial Street such as The Union Inn which is not only a pub but a place to stay overnight with good reviews.

The Railway Tavern is another sizeable public house that is family friendly. Another attractive public house just a stones throw from the bus station is the Derwent Arms. This pub is quite a stylish public house inside and serves food and drink. It also has good rating on Trip Advisor. 

St Peter’s Church

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Our last landmark church is the rather more grand St Peter’s but it is not situated on Commercial Street. We can find this on the turn off to Langton and Birdsall. 

The foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Thompson in October 1889. The stone font is mount on a modern base, but the bowl is apparently from the 12th century. The organ has kind of an parallel to York Minster because they have both had organs installed by Harrison and Harrison who specialise in such. 

What is an interesting feature to this landmark is also the church house to the right of the structure. This is much more modern as it was built in 1937 but was requisitioned by Northern Army Command shortly afterwards and it became the officers mess. After the war however, electric lights were installed. 

A quick walk back to Commercial Street we turn left towards the level crossing and signal box after passing another local butchers shop. 

We also meet the boundary fence of Norton being the River Derwent. Much of the water from the Derwent comes from Fylingdale Moor but is a confluence of rivers and streams. It weaves its way through Malton and Norton and onwards to Barmby on the Marsh. 

If you have some time to wait for your bus, you might consider walking a few paces upstream of the river as there is a riverside walk with a seated green area, rather than wait at the bus station. However, allow yourself plenty of time so that you don’t miss your connection. 

Railways in Malton

Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route Malton

Without playing Devil’s advocate, opposite the bus station is the railway station that resides on the York to Scarborough Line. Originally there was a junction at Rillington near Malton that continued to Pickering and Whitby which is now the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. You will have seen the level crossing and signal box if you have been in Norton. The box and station was built in 1845, the station being designed by George Townsend Andrews. 

However, the bus station that sits on the boundary of Malton and Norton is of more modern architecture. It is also serves as a depot and has public toilets as well as an information office. We hope you enjoy your journey on Britain’s most scenic bus route. Until next time!

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