Visit The Quaint UK Town That Inspired A Christmas Carol

The holiday season is typically packed with themed events and traditions to enjoy. While some people decorate trees together and reminisce over nostalgic ornaments, others are inspired by the seasonal dishes waiting to be baked and savored. In many households, "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens, holds a special place in the annual holiday experience. Though it was first published back in December of 1843, today the story remains a beloved part of the holidays with adaptations to enjoy on stage and film.

The moral revelations of Ebenezer Scrooge come to light in this fan-favorite story. As he's faced with the many "what if" scenarios of his life, it's easy to assume Charles Dickens had London in mind for the tale's English setting. However, a closer look at the author's trajectory from inspiration to the written word reveals that "A Christmas Carol" is actually inspired by the charming Yorkshire town of Malton.

According to the Yorkshire Reporter, Charles Dickens frequented Malton throughout his lifetime after becoming good friends with a London-based lawyer named Charles Smithson, who hailed from the town. The long-held belief is that the counting house featured in "A Christmas Carol" reflects the very same law offices Smithson kept in Malton, on Chancery Lane. Fans of Dickens' work also credit Malton as the inspiration behind the scenery and unique aesthetic of the story, with many characters inspired by the local townspeople Dickens met during his visits.

A delicious destination with a side of literary inspiration

Malton is a place where markets and makers thrive in the scenic Yorkshire countryside. The town of just over 6,000 residents, according to City Population Review, is bursting with artisan producers and boutique shops to explore, while farm-to-table eateries showcase local fare. The emphasis on fantastic flavor has earned Malton the nickname, "Yorkshire's Food Capital."

Whether you come for the restaurants, the markets, or to explore its unique shops, you're in for a treat. There's something special about roaming the same narrow streets and admiring the stone facades that inspired Charles Dickens' most iconic story. Even the accommodations here have links back to Dickens. If you book a stay at The Talbot, it's said you'll be within reach of a rare copy of "A Christmas Carol" signed by Dickens, that they keep on-site. The copy was a gift from Dickens to Charles Smithson's widow upon his friend's passing, shortly after the book was published.

It took Dickens just six weeks to write "A Christmas Carol," which was published on December 19 and had sold 6,000 copies by Christmas Eve 1843. If you happen to have six weeks of your own to explore Malton, you'll find plenty to add to your itinerary. A visit to Malton Museum connects you with the town's past, while nearby Eden Camp highlights recent local military history. If you're longing to try your hand at creating something savory, you can book a cooking class at The Cook's Place.

Enjoy a holiday trip to Malton

If you're looking to embrace the most authentic holiday travel experience inspired by "A Christmas Carol," a trip to Malton in December is your best bet. The beginning of the month marks the annual 2-day Malton Christmas Festival, which is free to enjoy and sees crowds arriving in droves. It's a favorite event for locals and visitors alike looking to stock up on last-minute holiday gifts, at vendor stands showcasing one-of-a-kind goods. There's also live music to listen to, plenty of street food to go around, creative workshops to attend, and a blue Christmas train that runs through the market for little ones to enjoy.

A Dickens-inspired event you'll want to purchase tickets for early is the annual performance of "A Christmas Carol" presented by Be Amazing Arts. Far from any traditional rendition of the story you've enjoyed before, this show is bound to be unforgettable because you'll be an integral part of its telling. The performance is designed as an interactive, promenade-style show where audience members follow the cast through town, reliving the story in the places that inspired the book. It's a theatre and dining experience that begins at Kemps Books and takes you on a real-life tour of the story, told by Ebenezer Scrooge. Performances run on select nights through December, which means there's plenty of time to pick a performance that works for your itinerary.