The bold open spaces of Yorkshire have been captured on film since the medium’s birth over 100 years ago. Locations have been used most effectively in some of the UK’s most popular exports for film and TV, such as Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice. National treasures such as TV’s second-longest-running TV soap opera, Emmerdale, is also filmed here. Fans of arthouse cinema are frequently blessed with interesting and challenging watches on a frequent basis, top award winner God’s Own Country was lensed in Yorkshire, as were the dark and edgy thrillers and dramas, Among Giants, The Selfish Giant and Catch Me Daddy.
We have compiled a guide to some of the best-known locations for Yorkshire-based TV and films of the past. Why not stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages in Yorkshire? It’s a fun outdoor pursuit seeking out the filming locations to your favourite movies.
Top ten film and TV locations
1. Goathland - Heartbeat and Harry Potter
The very pretty village of Goathland will be familiar to many people as the fictional Aidensfield in the popular ITV drama Heartbeat. Stop by this village that’s just a few miles from Whitby and you can see the classic cars used in the series. You can also pay a visit to the local Aidensfield store to stock up on some memorabilia.
While in Goathland, you can also visit the North York Moors Railway station that doubled up as Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. Harry Potter featured in seven novels by JK Rowling and eight movies; the popularity of both make this fantastical character and his world one of the most successful works of fiction of the modern age.
Stay at: The Potting Shed | Sleeps: 2 guests
2. Kettlewell - Calendar Girls
Calendar Girls recounts the wonderful true story of 12 ladies from a Yorkshire Women’s Institute (WI) who dared to bare all to raise money for Leukaemia Research. The film released in 2003, starring Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton, and Penelope Wilton was filmed in and around Kettlewell. Visitors can even buy a ‘Calendar Girls Trail’ brochure at the local shops and pubs. It contains information on the landmarks and buildings used in the film.
Stay at: Elbeck Barn | Sleeps: 4 guests
3. Esholt & Otley - Emmerdale
This beautiful village of Esholt near Shipley was home to Emmerdale from 1976 until 1994 (back when it was called Emmerdale Farm) with the pub doubling as the show’s famous local, The Woolpack. Although it’s now filmed in at a Leeds studio with the village recreated on the Harewood House Estate you can still pay a visit to The Woolpack in Esholt where you can see the many original cast photos hung on the walls inside. If you fancy following in the footsteps of the Emmerdale locals, you should head to the market town of Otley that doubles as the fictional town of Hotten.
Stay at: The Pump House | Sleeps: 2 guests
4. Newby Hall - Mansfield Park
This Grade I-listed 18th-century country house is situated on the banks on the River Ure near Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire. Within the house, there are collections of paintings, furniture, and other historic items while outside there are woodland walks and herbaceous borders. Newby Hall was used for a 2007 ITV adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park starring Billie Piper, Hayley Attwell, and James D’Arcy. It’s an absolute delight of a place to spend an afternoon on your Yorkshire holiday.
Stay at: Bramley Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests
5. Thirsk - All Creatures Great and Small
The well-loved TV series ran for seven series between 1979 and 1990 and was based on the classic books which told the stories of Yorkshire vet, James Herriot.
The main visitor attraction for fans is the World of James Herriot in Thirsk which allows you to get immersed in his universe. Housing the world’s largest collection of Herriot memorabilia, you can also head off to local Dales towns and villages such as Askrigg, Hawes, and Malton to find more filming locations afterward.
Stay at: Sebright | Sleeps: 6 guests plus 2 dogs
6. Malham Cove - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Fans of the Harry Potter films will remember the scene when Harry and Hermione set up camp in the Yorkshire Dales whilst preparing for their final battle with Voldemort. The spot they picked was the Limestone Pavement at the top of Malham Cove; the film also highlights some of the most stunning scenery in Yorkshire with views across Malhamdale to Cawden and Kirby Malham.
Stay at: Underbargh Cottage | Sleeps: 2 guests
7. Keighley and Worth Valley Railway - The Railway Children
The Railway Children, released in 1970, starring a very young Jenny Agutter was filmed at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Relive this classic film by visiting Oakworth station which was one of the main locations for the film. Alternatively, a circular 2.5-mile walk from Haworth station takes in many of The Railway Children’s iconic scenes. A classic British film that has never faded into obscurity, if you’ve never seen it, we thoroughly recommend it.
Stay at: Poacher’s Den | Sleeps: 2 guests
8. Castle Howard - Brideshead Revisited and Downton Abbey
Castle Howard is a magnificent 18th-century building set within the stunning Howardian Hills. It is best known as the setting for two adaptations of Brideshead Revisited and, for many, the impressive stately home is eponymous with this classic novel.
Castle Howard has also been used in a variety of other film and TV series including Julian Fellowes' immensely popular series and film spin-off, Downton Abbey starring Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Jim Carter. Other series have included Death Comes to Pemberley and Victoria.
Stay at: Cedar Cottage | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 2 dogs
9. Harewood House - Victoria
Harewood House is one of the key filming locations for Victoria and its magnificent rooms have been transformed into Buckingham and Kensington Palaces on many different occasions. In celebration of this many of the costumes used in the drama formed part of a Victoria exhibition back in 2017. The series stars Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, and Peter Bowles.
Stay at: The Penthouse | Sleeps: 4 guests
10. Aysgarth Falls - Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
The stunning backdrop of Aysgarth Falls was used to great effect in Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves, released in 1991. You may remember Kevin Costner in his heyday ending up in the river after battling with Little John. It’s a classic scene from this iconic movie and showcases the magnificent falls beautifully. There have been so many film and TV adaptations of the Robin Hood story, but this Kevin Reynolds directed caper is still perhaps the one that lingers most in the memory thanks to Kevin Costner’s shocking English accent and that Bryan Adams song that was on the radio every few minutes back in 1991.
Stay at: Walden Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs
Even more films made in Yorkshire:
Phantom Thread, Ghost Stories, My Summer of Love, Red Riding - In The Year of Our Lord, The Full Monty, Rita Sue & Bob Too, Billy Liar, Wuthering Heights (every British adaptation), Lady Macbeth, The Secret Garden (1993), The Hawk, The Woman In Black, God’s Own Country, Dark River, The Selfish Giant, The Arbor, Fanny & Elvis, Little Voice, Four Lions, Room at the Top, Journeyman, Tyrannosaur, Sightseers, This Sporting Life, Brassed Off, and Kes. There are many others too.
Stay at one of our holiday cottages in Yorkshire. We have properties large and small for couples and families. No matter how many film locations you have on your itinerary, we have cottages, apartments, and townhouses all across Yorkshire from the coast to Forest of Bowland in the west. Visit our collection of holiday properties in Yorkshire to find your perfect escape to the land of movie backdrops.
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Kettlewell @ cat_thompson
Aysgarth @ paulsphotolens