Literary and film locations in Yorkshire

Days out

Posted by Clare Willcocks on 12th July 2022

It’s possible, when exploring Yorkshire, that you’ll experience an uncanny feeling that you know this familiar landscape without ever having visited it before.

But you do know it – sort of. Yorkshire has provided literary locations for some of our best-loved films and TV shows, including Dracula, Harry Potter and The Full Monty.

With its romantic moorland, stunning beaches, imposing castles and industrial heritage, it is no wonder that Yorkshire provides the backdrop for so many works of fiction. We’ve chosen some of the most iconic novels, films and TV series to give you some ideas of literary and filming locations in Yorkshire to visit during your stay.

Holiday cottages in Yorkshire

Harry Potter in the North Yorkshire Moors

Goathland - filming locations in Yorkshire

For those intrigued by fantasy and magic, a family day out aboard a steam train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a must. Meander through stunning countryside and rolling hills, calling in at Goathland Station, better known as its alias ‘Hogsmeade’ in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Pop into the ladies’ toilets, the unlikely location for the ‘Wizards’ Room’ in the film. Probably the most famous franchise of films set in Yorkshire, it's fascinating to be able to see these fantastical places in real life!

Don't miss: Wood-panelled carriages, friendly uniformed conductors and historic touches which make the journey itself a magical experience for children and big kids alike.

Special mention: Magic and wizardry aside, enjoy a wander through the olde-worlde village of Goathland where the TV series Heartbeat was also set.

Other Harry Potter filming locations in Yorkshire include: 

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay in Goathland

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey filming locations in Yorkshire

The film of the TV series Downton Abbey features a variety of different Yorkshire filming locations. While you’re watching the film, keep your eyes peeled for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and opulent Wentworth Woodhouse, an elegant stately home which is open to the public. The building’s stunning interiors were used to double for Buckingham Palace, and the Harewood House ballroom.

Harewood House is featured, and Little Germany, a collection of neoclassical buildings in Bradford, shows up in the movie as the location of the police station.

Don't miss: The breathtaking Marble Saloon at Wentworth Woodhouse, set of the glamourous ballroom scene.

Special mention: Little Germany has also been used as a filming location in Peaky Blinders, Gentleman Jack, and the English Game, among others.

Other Downton Abbey filming locations in Yorkshire include: 

  • Dalton Mills
  • Highclere Castle

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay near Sheffield

Emmerdale at Harewood House

Emmerdale - filming locations in Yorkshire

Harewood House, between Harrogate and Leeds, is a popular filming destination, having been used in productions including Downton Abbey, Gentleman Jack, Death Comes to Pemberley, and Victoria. The long-running TV series of Emmerdale has been filmed at Harewood House since the 1990s, before which it was shot in the village of Esholt, also in Yorkshire.

The Emmerdale set is purpose-built within the grounds of the stately home, with buildings from the original site at Esholt being replicated in Dales limestone. The Woolpack, Café Mainstreet, David’s Shop and many more familiar places from the series were rebuilt here.

Don't miss: A 90-minute fully guided tour of the Emmerdale set, to walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters!

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay near Harrogate

Picturesque Brontë Country

Bronte country - Filming locations in Yorkshire

The rugged West Yorkshire Pennines with their windswept moors have inspired many well-known novels, and as such, there are many books set in Yorkshire. Nestled in their heart is the picturesque village of Haworth, which was once home to the Brontë sisters, where you can stroll down cobbled streets, visit quaint shops and stop for afternoon tea in one of the welcoming cafes. 

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway offers another scenic steam adventure and is the best way to experience the breathtaking landscapes of Wuthering Heights of which there's been quite a few film adaptations, the most recent being Andrea Arnold's 2011 revision. Make a few stops en route and follow in the footsteps of Heathcliffe and Catherine on one of the spectacular walking trails.

Don't miss: The world-renowned Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, where you can learn more about the lives of the Brontë sisters and their books set in Yorkshire.

Special mention: The railway also takes in Oakworth Station, the setting for the classic 1970s film The Railway Children. With exciting events throughout the year, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is perfect for couples and families. Visit their website to start planning your literary journey.

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay in Haworth

Bram Stoker's Dracula in Whitby

Whitby Abbey - filming locations in Yorkshire

Romance and fantasy aren’t the only genres to have been inspired by Yorkshire’s varied landscapes. Its extensive coastline of family-friendly Blue Flag beaches and quaint seaside towns may get you thinking of happy holidays and long days spent in the sun. But don’t let the colourful beach huts and donkey rides distract you from a dark and sinister connection...

Towering above the charming beach town of Whitby are the imposing remains of Whitby Abbey, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, dreamt up while Stoker was holidaying in the seaside town. One of the most iconic Yorkshire film locations, a visit to this striking place leaves you in no doubt as to why it inspired such literary genius.

It would take all day to name every single vampire film that this book inspired. Nowadays, the abbey is managed by English Heritage and is one of England’s most important archaeological sites. Spend a morning soaking up the gothic splendour and enjoying the stunning views before taking a stroll along Whitby’s white sandy beach.

Don't miss: The climb up the 199 steps to the abbey which is mentioned in the famous novel.

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay in Whitby

Dad’s Army in Bridlington

Bridlington - Yorkshire filming locations

The 2016 war comedy film, Dad’s Army, based on the TV series of the same name, brought an all-star cast to some of Yorkshire’s favourite seaside spots. Big names including Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Gambon spent seven weeks at filming locations in Yorkshire. Visit charming Bridlington Old Town to spot some of the scenes set in fictional Walmington-on-Sea, and explore Flamborough Head which doubled as Walmington Beach.

Don't miss: The High Street, where you can spot locations such as the Black Lion pub, which was the Royal Oak Inn in the film, and other venues used as Jones the Butcher’s Shop, Mercers Shoe Shop and Marigolds Tea Room.

Other Dad's Army filming locations in Yorkshire include: 

  • Danes Dyke
  • Bempton
  • Sewerby Hall
  • East Riding Theatre
  • Scarborough
  • Leeds
  • Helmsley
  • North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay in Bridlington

The Full Monty in Sheffield

Sheffield - filming locations in Yorkshire

Yorkshire’s abundant industrial heritage has provided the backdrop for countless award-winning British films, the most famous of which may very well be The Full Monty, which follows six men laid off from one of Sheffield’s once-successful steel mills as they form a male striptease act. Still proud of its industrial past, Sheffield is now a vibrant cultural hub. Mixing high street shops with trendy independent boutiques, award-winning galleries and family attractions, it’s a great place for tourists, young and old alike. 

Don't miss: If you’re feeling adventurous you can experience the reality of coal mining 140 metres underground at the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield. A wonderful family attraction, the museum includes hands-on exhibits, underground tours and even a stable yard with ponies.

Special mention: Another film celebrating the region's impressive industrial heritage is Brassed Off. With several filming locations in South Yorkshire, it tells the story of a brass band formed during the decline of the mining industry. 

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay in Sheffield

The Calendar Girls in Kettlewell

Kettlewell - filming locations in Yorkshire

Nudity seems to be a running theme in Yorkshire comedies, with the internationally acclaimed Calendar Girls being filmed in charming Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales. The quaint village also welcomed another huge event when the Tour de France passed through in July 2014. Why not combine a visit with a walk or cycle along one of the many trails through the awe-inspiring scenery of the Dales?

Don't miss: Take a trip over to the magnificent reservoir at Great Whernside - the perfect summer day destination, ideal for walking and picnicking with fantastic views. 

Stay in a cottage nearby:

Stay in Kettlewell

Other films set in Yorkshire

The following films, some of which have been adapted from books, all feature scenes filmed in Yorkshire.

  • Brothers In Trouble

  • Amongst Giants

  • God's Own Country

  • My Son The Fanatic

  • Fanny & Elvis

  • Bait

  • Before Dawn

  • Inbred

  • The Darkest Light

  • East Is East

  • West Is West

  • Yasmin

  • The Selfish Giant

  • Catch Me Daddy

  • Four Lions

  • Wuthering Heights

  • Lady MacBeth

  • My Summer of Love

  • Summer

  • Looking for Eric

  • The Incident

Stay in Yorkshire

With a wealth of great places to visit in Yorkshire, from historic castles and abbeys to modern cities and family-friendly beaches, you can't fail to be inspired by Yorkshire, and the films set in Yorkshire! They say there is a book in everyone; perhaps your visit will sow in your mind the seeds of the next best-seller or blockbuster movie.

Holiday cottages in Yorkshire

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.