Perhaps the least known of the four is Kirkbymoorside. The town’s charm lies in its unspoilt character, supported by locals who come to shop and chew the cud. There is everything most people could want, from an independent electric shop with attended petrol pump, newsagent, butcher, a diverse vegetable shop and bakers. Perhaps less obvious is Towler’s, an old school chemist with a difference; Mr Towler is a keen oenophile and stocks a fine list of wine. If you are lucky you might catch the award-winning Kirkbymoorside Brass Band, which has been going since 1886.
The last stop on this tour of market towns is Pickering, the gateway to the North York Moors, Yorkshire Forests and Coast, which is famously known for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. An outing to Pickering is not complete without a visit to the steam trains, which you may recognise from the TV series’ Heartbeart, Downton Abbey and Dad’s Army. A short walk from the station, you will discover the Market Place, with excellent local facilities, and a cracking coaching inn, The White Swan. If you fancy some sustenance, call into Elizabeth Botham’s Tearooms, opposite the railway station. And for culture and entertainment, Pickering has no fewer than three theatrical venues, including the renowned Kirk Theatre; not bad for a town of only 7000 inhabitants!