Northallerton is between Edinburgh and London on the train line, and was the site of a significant victory by the English against the Scots in the Battle of the Standard in 1138. Although the sport of shinty is rarely played outside Scotland, Northallerton houses a shinty team. A palace in Northallerton, now in ruins, was home to the Bishops of Durham between 1130 and 1658 and during that period Northallerton was an important focal point for the royalty and notable individuals that paid homage to the bishops.
Present-day Northallerton has the head offices of the North Yorkshire County Council as well as the Hambleton District Council and a prison which once had the honor of hosting the world's largest treadmill. Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles lollies are manufactured nearby, and another industry of the town is the making of manure for agricultural use.