Nestled high in the North York Moors and just a few miles from the coast, Goathland is easily one of Yorkshire’s prettiest villages. Sheep graze happily on a large village green, steam trains whistle through the moorland on their way to the coast and there’s a smattering of lovely shops and cafes that you may well recognise from ITV’s Heartbeat.
This North York Moors village has a gentle pace of life and it’s the perfect place to visit if you fancy slowing down, relaxing and enjoying some of Yorkshire’s natural beauty at its very best.
Our complete guide to Goathland will help you make the most of your time here and seek out some of the area’s hidden gems and best things to do.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the village green is Goathland Station which is part of the NYMR heritage railway line. Steam trains run through heather-clad moorland to Whitby in one direction and Pickering in the other, and the beautifully restored period carriages are the ultimate way to travel in style. Canine companions can join you on the trains too so it’s a great dog-friendly day out.
The platform at Goathland features characterful stone buildings and a distinctive red footbridge which may well look familiar to you. Goathland Station was featured as Hogsmeade in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone where you see the students arrive on the Hogwarts Express to start their first year at the famous wizarding school.
Very little about the station was changed for the film and Goathland/Hogsmeade Station is a must-visit filming location for any Harry Potter fan. There are lots of photo opportunities at the station with red benches, original luggage trolleys that were featured in the film and replica trunks in the ticket office that look just like they are on their way to Hogwarts.
There’s also a tearoom in the station’s former goods wagon where you can enjoy some light refreshments and a gift shop where you can stock up on Harry Potter memorabilia.
Heartbeat and Aidensfield
Goathland was transformed into Aidensfield for the longing running ITV series Heartbeat which enthralled millions of viewers with its tales of Yorkshire village life in the 1960s. Little has changed in Goathland over the years so it’s easy to see why it was chosen for the period drama and there are lots of reminders of its time as Aidensfield.
The 1960’s Ford Anglia police car that was used in the show has a permanent parking spot outside the village shop and is a great spot for a photo, and you can pay a visit to Scripps Garage, a regular filming location which now sells a range of gifts and Heartbeat memorabilia.
Grab a pint at The Aidensfield Arms, also known as The Goathland Hotel Bar, if you fancy following in the footsteps of characters like Claude Greengrass, and pick up some supplies at the Aidensfield Stores where you’ll, of course, find more Heartbeat-themed gifts and goodies.
The wonderful setting of Goathland combines the peaceful and sometimes rugged moorland of the North York Moors National Park with the clifftop pathways of Yorkshire’s heritage coastline. There are lots of options of scenic Goathland walks to try – here are some of our favourites:
Goathland and Grosmont Rail Path
This straightforward 3.5-mile walk involves following the route of a disused 19th-century railway line known as The Cinder Track from Goathland to nearby Grosmont and takes in ancient woodland, gentle streams and rolling moorland. You can then head to Grosmont station where you can get a drink at the Station Tavern and catch an NYMR steam train back to Goathland.
Mallyan Spout to Beck Hole
This circular 3-mile walk starts at the main village centre in Goathland before passing by the tumbling Mallyan Spout waterfall on the way to Beck Hole. This small village lies in a deep wooded valley at the head of two streams and you’ll walk much of the way alongside the water. The route takes in Carr Wood which separates the two villages and includes wonderful views over purple-hued moorland.
Hole of Horcum
Around 5 miles from Goathland is one of the biggest wonders of the North York Moors National Park: the mysterious Hole of Horcum. This natural amphitheatre is around half a mile wide and 400 metres deep and legend has it that it was created when a giant grabbed a mound of earth to throw at his wife!
We recommend parking at the Saltergate Car Park for this 5-mile circular walk, which takes in the big open skies and spectacular views of the North York Moors and is perfect if you want to enjoy an unspoilt landscape at its very best.
Cleveland Way National Trail
One of Yorkshire’s most popular walking routes is the Cleveland Way National Trail which runs through the North York Moors from Helmsley to Saltburn before taking in coastal paths that run all the way to Filey. We recommend travelling from Goathland to Whitby and following the Cleveland Way path to the pretty village of Robin Hood’s Bay. There are regular buses from Robin Hood’s Bay to Whitby and various transportation options from here back to Goathland.
The Gallon Walk
This 7-mile walk from Goathland to Egton, a pretty village near Whitby, is known as The Gallon Walk as you’re meant to call in at all eight pubs along the way and drink a pint in each. While we don’t recommend drinking a gallon of beer during your journey to Egton, this is a lovely walk which takes in the best of the rolling countryside and there are lots of options to stop at for refreshments including The Birch Hall Inn and The Wheatsheaf Inn.
Goathland has an idyllic location that’s high in the North York Moors National Park and surrounded by various streams, rivers and becks with a series of wonderful waterfalls to seek out during a visit.
Mallyan Spout lies just outside the village of Goathland and, with a vertical drop of 70 feet, it’s the tallest waterfall in the North York Moors. Moorland spring water flows into New Wath Scar then drops dramatically into a deep woodland ravine that’s created by the fast-flowing West Beck.
An abundance of lush green plants and trees makes Mallyan Spout very pretty in spring and summer and there are stone steps which take you into the valley so that you can get up close to the water.
A short and scenic walk from Mallyan Spout will take you to the Thomason Foss waterfall which lies between Goathland and Beck Hole and is a popular spot for wild swimming during the summer months.
You can follow a path from the Birch Hall Inn pub to get down to the falls and, if you’re lucky, you may get to see a steam train whistling by on tracks that run close to the top of the Eller Beck ravine.
Just a short drive (or scenic walk) from Goathland is the popular Falling Foss Tea Garden. Follow a family-friendly walking trail around the magical tea gardens and ancient woodlands to find the tumbling 30-foot Falling Foss waterfall and listen to the water cascading into the pool below.
With a gentle stream running through the forest, there are plenty of places where you can go for a paddle and there’s even an old packhorse bridge that’s perfect for a game of pooh sticks. It’s an idyllic day out for the whole family and you can enjoy a cuppa and cake in the tearoom after your adventures.
Goathland pubs, cafes and restaurants
There are plenty of places to stop for refreshments in and around Goathland including traditional dog-friendly pubs, lovely tea rooms and even a Michelin-recommended restaurant.
This traditional village pub doubled as The Aidensfield Arms in Heartbeat and features a cosy lounge with a roaring fire and a lovely beer garden for the summer months. There’s a good selection of real ales and house wines on the menu to wash down their traditional pub grub.
Inn on the Moor
Just down the road from The Goathland is the Inn on the Moor which has three different dining areas, including the dog-friendly Hydro Bar which has a spectacular 20-foot solid oak bar at its centre. Dishes range from sandwiches to hearty pies with lots of local Yorkshire food and drink on the menu.
Birch Hall Inn
Little has changed in the Birch Hall Inn over the years and walking through the door here is like stepping back in time. It’s quite possibly the smallest pub in Yorkshire; two tiny rooms are separated by the village sweet shop which all adds to the quirky charm, and the location in the pretty village of Beck Hole is picture-perfect too.
Goathland Tea Rooms
Homemade cakes and a classic Yorkshire cream tea are just what the doctor ordered at this charming tearoom that’s housed in a former GP surgery. There’s plenty of vintage charm at Goathland Tea Rooms and lots of options on the menu for a light lunch or snack. When the weather is warmer, there’s also a tea garden outside where you can sit out and enjoy the lovely village location.
Housed in an 18th-century stone farmhouse with views across the moors, Homestead Kitchen is a lovely little restaurant that’s listed in the Michelin guide. Guests can enjoy fine-dining food in a relaxed atmosphere with a small menu designed to showcase local seasonal produce at its very best.
Stargazing at Goathland
The North York Moors was named an International Dark Sky Reserve in December 2020 and the national park is a wonderful place to see thousands of stars twinkling above you as the night draws in.
Goathland’s lack of light pollution and elevated location makes it a top choice for stargazing and there’s plenty to see in the dark night sky.
Along with shooting stars and meteors you can see the Milky Way, which is particularly visible during the autumn months, and the Geminids meteor shower during the winter. Look out for the Perseid meteor shower in summer and The Plough and Cassiopeia star constellations which can be seen throughout the year.
- You should also be able to see Polaris, also known as The North Star, when you look up into the sky.
- To make the most of the dark skies, we recommend bringing along a red-light torch to help with night vision and a pair of binoculars as you’ll be able to see much more than with just the naked eye.
- There are several great smartphone apps so that you can pinpoint specific stars and understand exactly what you are seeing. We recommend downloading Star Walk 2 and Star and Planet finder before your stargazing session in Goathland.
Whitby and the Yorkshire Coast
The Yorkshire coast is just a short drive or scenic train ride from Goathland and there’s lots to see and do in nearby seaside villages such as Whitby, Sandsend and Robin Hood's Bay. Here are just some of our favourite coastal activities to try:
Climb the 199 steps to Whitby Abbey
The 199 steps were famously featured in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and will take you from the characterful cobbled streets of Old Town to the towering cliffs above and the gothic remains of Whitby Abbey. You can enjoy stunning views out over the coast as you wander amongst the sprawling ruins and there’s an on-site museum telling the story of Dracula.
Take a boat trip out to sea
On any given day, the colourful harbour at Whitby is filled with an array of boats that can take you out to sea. Journeys range from 20-minute jaunts along the coast to nearby Sandsend to sunset cruises and full-day fishing trips. Popular options include travelling on a replica of James Cook’s HMS Endeavour and special whale-watching trips.
Explore the streets of Robin Hood’s Bay
The pretty fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay is one of the most photographed places on the Yorkshire Coast thanks to its maze of narrow streets and collection of charming cottages that seemingly cling to the side of the cliff. The journey from the top of the cliffs to the beach below is very steep but there are lots of lovely shops and pubs hidden around every corner.
Watch the seals at Ravenscar
Just along the coast from Robin Hood’s Bay are the dramatic cliffs of Ravenscar which are one of the most peaceful places on the Yorkshire Coast and a great spot for wildlife watching. Ravenscar is home to a large colony of grey seals which, as long as you keep a sensible distance, you can watch bathing on the rocky beach.
Spend the day at the beach
The Yorkshire Coast is home to lots of beautiful beaches with several of them easily reached from Goathland. West Cliff beach at Whitby is framed by colourful beach huts, and the town’s smaller Tate beach is a sheltered dog-friendly bay. There’s a long stretch of beach at nearby Sandsend and it’s a great place to build a sandcastle, hunt for fossils or explore the series of rock pools that appear at low tide.
Plan your getaway to Goathland
If you have been inspired to visit Goathland and the North York Moors National Park, there are lots of lovely holiday cottages where you can rest your head after days of exploring.
Browse our range of Goathland and North Yorkshire cottages to find your perfect base.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.