Malton has existed on two other sites prior to its current location.
The town has been the historic centre of Ryedale since Roman times, originally with a fort established on the northern bank of the River Derwent, at what is now Orchard Fields.
The village of Old Malton, an Anglian settlement, developed as the original town around a Gilbertine Priory, fragments of which remain in the Church of St. Mary's.
The present town of Malton is a busy market town with a street market on Saturdays and a twice-weekly livestock market. Farmers markets are also held regularly.
An eclectic mix of architectural styled shops, inns and tearooms surround the market place, in the middle of which stands St. Michael's church and the old town hall.
Norton on Derwent lies to the south of the River Derwent and was linked to Malton as early as Roman times by a 15 foot wide bridge. It is noted as a centre for racehorse training, and horses can often be seen on their way to and from nearby gallops.
Another attraction is Eden Camp, situated just outside Old Malton, on the site of a former prisoner of war camp. This unique museum, which won the England for Excellence Award in 1998, transports the visitor back to wartime Britain, where the civilian way of life during World War II can be relived.