“Curfew still rings in this old market town astride the old Great North Road. The home of a few thousand folk, it has a medley of old houses and shops and inns along the broad street, one of the finest churches in the Riding and memories of far-off days.”

– Arthur Mee’s The King’s England 1941

Northallerton is a market town located in North Yorkshire with a population of nearly 16,000. It’s known for its markets, agricultural services, and tourism. The town is located between the town Yorkshire National Parks which makes it an ideal place to stay in order to explore the surrounding area. These are the Moors and the Dales.

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Places to Visit in Northallerton

Nearby Kiplin Hall and Gardens is situated a few miles North-West of Northallerton. It’s a stately home that was built in 1620 by George Calvert.George was the secretary of state to James I. He was also the founder of Maryland USA.

The property has since been owned by four families. Each family has made contributions to British history, most notably in war.


A new exhibition called “Duty Calls” charts the house’s links to conflict. It ranges from the Civil War to the Second World War and has recently opened on the site. The house is also filled with art, books, and artefacts from all of its previous occupants. 

The restored grounds cover 100 acres. This includes lakeside, woodland walks, several themed gardens, and outdoor games. There is also a family room, shop and tearoom amongst other facilities.

Mount Grace Priory is a historical attraction near Northallerton. Picture credit: Alison Stamp wikipedia creative commons.
Mount Grace Priory. Picture credit: Alison Stamp wikipedia creative commons.

Mount Grace Priory is another local attraction. It can be found North East of the town. It’s one of the best preserved ruins of a Cathusian monastery. The priory dates back to the 14th Century and it is only one of ten of its kind left in the country.

Carthusians were a silent and reclusive sect. This was different to other orders of monks such as Augustinians who were very active in their local communities.

This meant the would spend their days in silence, each occupying an individual cell. However, on a night, Sundays, and during feast days they would socialise.

Visitors can see a reconstruction of a monk’s cell. This resembles a small house in which its occupant would live a hermit-like existence.

There are also two renovated art and craft rooms. In the grounds, a monk’s herb garden can be found along with the famous Mount Grace stoat colony.

Religion in Northallerton

There has been a strong religious influence in Northallerton. It has been this way since the lands were granted to the Bishop of Durham in the 11th Century.

As a result of this, various churches have existed in the town since Saxon times. Their remains are on display inside the current All Saints Parish Church. This church was built in the 15th Century. However, the inside of the church contains something from the 9th Century onward.

In 1318, the tower was destroyed by the Scots and replaced. The font dates back to 1662 and later renovations have seen pews installed from Robert “Mouseman” Thompson, which bears his famous trademark, a carved mouse.

Entertainment in Northallerton

The Forum is the town’s main entertainment venue. It has a cinema, holds events, and has space for hire. Some of these events include live music, theatre, and comedy. Live events are also streamed along with lectures and talks.

Travelling In & Out of Northallerton

Northallerton is very well linked to other Yorkshire towns and beyond. It lies adjacent to two major roads, the A1 and the A19.

The motorway gives the town easy access to Wetherby, Ripon, and Harrogate. The other road links Northallerton to Thirsk and York in the South. The A684 travels in a westerly direction and links the town to the rural areas of the Yorkshire Dales.

In 1841, the train station opened. The town was an important point on the Leeds to Stockton line which linked these two heavy industrial areas.

Northallerton Railway Station was also on the original Wensleydale Railway. However, in the mid 20th Century, sections of this were closed. Nowadays, the two platforms are on the London to Edinburgh line. This stops at places in Yorkshire including York, Leeds, and Doncaster.

Bus services run to local towns such as Middlesbrough, Richmond, Bedale, and York. Tourist buses to the Yorkshire Dales run seasonally and on weekends to destinations within the National Park.

Places to Eat & Drink in Northallerton

The central location of the town and its hospitality traditions during the 18th and 19th Centuries have carried on into the modern era. These days, the many hotels, inns, and bed and breakfast places make it an ideal base for visitors to explore Yorkshire.

Many of the county’s top attractions are within easy travelling distance from the town. These are York, the Dales, Moors, and the coast. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink. The most notable being Betty’s tearoom.

People also often visit The Fleece Inn which is a 15th Century pub. Charles Dickens has visited this pub and is said to have written parts of “Nicholas Nickleby” during his stay.

Shopping in Northallerton

Northallerton has built itself around its market. Picture credit: Bob Embleton geograph wikipedia creative commons.
Northallerton market. Picture credit: Bob Embleton geograph wikipedia creative commons.

Northallerton has always been an important trading town. Since 1200, its twice-weekly market has operated and is a prominent feature in the high street.

The market is held on Wednesday and Saturdays along with an open air cattle auction. Stalls at the market have a range of produce, hardware, clothes, and computer accessories. Once a month, these are joined by a farmers market. Traders sell their fresh produce here.

The town centre contains a mixture of high street names and local independent retailers. For example, Barker’s department store which has been in Northallerton since the late 19th Century.

Education in Northallerton

In 1323, Northallerton Grammar School was founded which can be found adjacent to All Saints Church. Currently it is a combined secondary school and sixth form college.

The institution moved to its current site in 1909. It was here that it changed its name to Northallerton College in 1994. In 2015, Northallerton College and Allertonshire School joined together to create Northallerton School.

The school extended in 2018 after receiving £8.7 million from the Department of Education and built a sixth form centre. It was then renamed Northallerton School & Sixth Form College. It’s the sole provider of education in the town and its sixth form offers numerous courses. These range from art and childcare, to engineering and applied science amongst other more traditional subjects.

Sport in Northallerton

There are numerous sports played in and around the Northallerton area. This includes football, cricket, and shinty. In 1895, the town’s football team was founded. Currently they are playing in The EBAC Northern League. Footballing brothers Michael and Andy Dawson both started their careers at the club.

The town has also had a long history with cricket. Matches have been recorded dating back to 1812. Northallerton’s team was a founding member of the Yorkshire cricket league in 1893.

Uniquely, the town has an association with the sport of shinty. This is a form of hockey which is usually played in the Scottish Highlands. The stick is known as a “caman”, and unlike hockey, players are allowed to use both sides of it. They can even hit the ball high into the air.

Since the 1970’s, Northallerton Camanachd have played competitively but have since stopped. A new club was formed in 2012 to try and revive this unlikely sport to North Yorkshire.

Northallerton is a pleasant corner of North Yorkshire. Set between two national parks, its an ideal base for visitors to explore God’s own county.

History of Northallerton

Over the centuries, Northallerton has had a colourful history. It was the centre of mediaeval conflict and religion before prospering as a thriving market town noted for its hospitality.

The Romans were the first to settle here. They established a small military station on the route of an ancient road from Hadrian’s Wall to York.

In Anglo-Saxon times, the town was known as “Alvertune”. It was an important battleground between the English and the Vikings for their right to rule the kingdom of Northumbria around 865.

Norman Invasion

The Norman invasion saw the town bear the brunt of William the Conqueror’s “Harrying of the North”. Virtually the whole place was destroyed and in the Domesday book, Northallerton was put down as waste.

Once the town had recovered, the area was granted to the Bishop of Durham by William II. This then started Northallerton’s association with religion. Several important buildings were built during this period. The buildings included a castle, palace, and priory all of which were destroyed in later centuries.

People found it hard to distinguish the town from another borough called Allerton Mauleverer near Harrogate. As a result, the town’s name was changed to Northallerton.

Battle of the Standard

Northallerton played a huge role in defending England from Scottish invasions during numerous mediaeval battles. One of the biggest but lesser known conflicts was the Battle of the Standard in 1138.

This monument marks commemorates the Battle of the Standard in
This monument marks commemorates the Battle of the Standard in 1138. Picture credit Roger W Haworth

In London, there was a huge dispute between the incumbent King Stephen and his cousin Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I. The two were arguing over their claims to the throne.

An opportunistic King David I of Scotland took advantage of the situation. He led troops over the border into Northern England. By doing this, David expanded his empire. He also supported his niece, Empress Matilda’s, claims to the throne.

While King Stephen was occupied fighting barons in the South, the Scots had already taken important northern locations. These were Carlisle and Bamburgh Castle.

Both the English and Scottish armies met just outside of Northallerton. They arrayed themselves around a chariot bearing various standard flags of English Saints such as St John of Beverley and St Wilfrid of Ripon which gave the battle its name.

In the end, the English won. Over 10,000 Scots were slain in the process, sending King David’s army retreating across the border.

The victors regrouped and claimed back their taken lands further north. Two Centuries later, Scotland gained revenge when Northallerton was burned to the ground by Robert the Bruce and his army in 1318.

Trading Town

During the mediaeval times, Northallerton thrived as a trading town and in 1200 it was given a market charter. The market became an important trade point for rural areas around the town. It hosted two fairs and a cattle market.


In the 18th and 19th Centuries, Northallerton was classed as an important hospitality town. It’s four inns accommodate many weary travellers.

Also, the town was located next to the Great North Road from London to Edinburgh. The arrival of the railways made the town an important link between Middlesbrough and the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Northallerton Workhouse

One of the most notable features of Northallerton around this time was the workhouse which was built in 1857 and housed 120 destitute inmates. These people would engage in menial work under the Poor Law. In 1930 this closed and was merged with the Friarage hospital in 1948.


In modern times, Northallerton has focused on tourism. The town is an important location in Yorkshire with its Moors to the East and the Dales to the West. Both are within easy reach.

Northallerton has been the home of the North Yorkshire County Council. Since 1906, the council has been housed at County Hall. The town also still remains an important agricultural centre. It still holds regular livestock auctions, two annual fairs, and two market days where farmers can also sell their produce.

Northallerton has been burnt to the ground twice throughout its history. Yet each time the town has reformed and helped defend the nation from foreign invaders.Nowadays, Northallerton has developed into a wealthy market town with plenty to offer both its residents and visitors to the area.

Northallerton Trivia

Northallerton is one of the few English places to play the sport of shinty, which originated in the Scottish highlands.

Northallerton was re-named to avoid confusion with Allerton Mauleverer which is 25 miles away.

Since its formation in 1895, Northallerton Town FC have never played a game in the town itself. The ground is at nearby Romanby.

Northallerton is twinned with Ormesson-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris.

The Battle of the Standard was waged here in 1138 under the reign of King Stephen as part of his fight with his cousin, Matilda for the English throne. She just happened to be the niece of King David of Scotland, who sent his forces to confront the English at Northallerton.

In 1816 it took three days for Northallerton workhouse yard to be cleared of rubbish.