The Talbot is in Malton, a lively market town close to the North York Moors. The inn overlooks the fields and meadows beyond the town, and the River Derwent runs right past the foot of the garden.
The closest airport is Leeds-Bradford, around an hour’s drive away. You can fly directly from London Heathrow in an hour flat.
Malton is served by TransPennine Express trains running between York and Scarborough. The station’s around seven minutes’ walk from the hotel.
There’s little need for a car in town as everything’s within walking distance. You will want one, though, if you’re going to explore the North Yorks Moors or the Yorkshire Wolds. There’s free parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Generations of travellers have relied on the Talbot to slake their thirst and warm their bones. The cosiest place to hole up is the Snug, an inviting drawing room strewn with velvet armchairs and soft sofas – in winter, the grate will crackle and glow. If the sun’s doing the honours instead, settle on one of the lawns or pull up a pew on the lavender-lined terrace.
The inn’s old coach house and yard is now the Talbot Yard Food Court, home to a gelateria, coffee roastery, butcher, gin distillery, baker and macaron maker, all proudly carrying the Made in Malton stamp. Peruse them in your own time or join hotel owner Tom Naylor-Leyland on his Malton food tour, a three-hour journey punctuated by plenty of tasting stops. Tom’s also the director of Malton Cookery School, where you can hone your dinner-party repertoire with expert guidance and the help of North Yorkshire’s choicest produce. The Rare Bird Distillery also does a hands-on experience run by master distiller Matt. You’ll begin with a tour, learning about the gin-making process and getting acquainted with Florence, the distillery’s 300-litre copper pot still. Armed with your newfound knowledge (and fuelled by free G&Ts), you’ll then be turned loose on the distillery floor, creating your very own bottle of gin with botanicals of your choosing. If the free samples leave you feeling a little fuzzy-headed, hop in a cab to Scampston Hall, where you can stroll in head-clearing parkland and award-winning gardens by Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf. In summer, a plunge into the deep pool at wild swimming spot Stainforth Force will also do the trick.
Fans of Brideshead Revisited should make the most of Malton's proximity to Castle Howard, which has taken on the role of Brideshead twice – once for the TV adaptation and again for the film. Even if you’ve never seen them, go for the grandeur and 1,000-acre grounds. Toting a teddy bear is optional.
Brunch favourite Chapter One Bistrot gets all of its ingredients from local suppliers, ensuring it does its part for Malton’s foodie credentials. You can’t go wrong with the garlic mushrooms, paired with crispy bacon and served atop a toasted brioche roll. For lunch, try gastropub the New Malton, a cosy 18th-century inn with open fireplaces and mix-and-match furniture. It’s an unassuming place but the food is no afterthought; the chefs cook with the finest ingredients they can find, turning out British classics and Asian-fusion dishes with aplomb. Pair with a pint of local ale for the true Yorkshire experience. Linking a budding foodie town with an all-time great, La Pizzeria brings a slice of Naples to Malton, serving wood-fired pizzas, soulful pasta and bang-for-buck Italian wine. If you’re torn between pizzas, go for the finocchiona, topped with fennel salami, smoked mozzarella, slow-roasted leeks and punchy gorgonzola.