Literary and film days out in Yorkshire

Days out

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 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 film days out in Yorkshire.

Harry Potter in the North Yorkshire Moors

Goathland station

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. Magic and wizardry aside, enjoy a wander through the olde worlde village where the TV series Heartbeat was also set.

Wood panelled carriages, friendly uniformed conductors and historic touches make the journey itself a magical experience for children and big kids alike.

Picturesque Brontë country

Top Withens, near Haworth, said to be the inspiration for Bronte's Wuthering Heights

The rugged West Yorkshire Pennines with their windswept moors have inspired many well-known novels. Nestled in their heart is the picturesque village of Haworth where you can stroll down cobbled streets, visit quaint shops and stop for afternoon tea in one of the welcoming cafes. The former home of its most famous occupants, the Brontë sisters, now houses the world-renowned Brontë Parsonage Museum, where you can learn more about their lives and works.

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 Heathcliff and Catherine on one of the spectacular walking trails. The railway also takes in Oakworth Station, the setting for the classic 1970s film The Railway Children. With exciting events on throughout the year, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is perfect for couples and families. Visit their website here to start planning your literary journey.

Vampires in Whitby

Whitby Abbey

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. 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.

Yorkshire’s Industrial Heritage

Kettlewell, the setting of Calendar Girls

Yorkshire’s abundant industrial heritage has provided the backdrop for countless award-winning British films. One such example is Brassed Off. Filmed at several locations in South Yorkshire, it tells the story of a brass band formed during the decline of the mining industry. 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.

Another film with roots in Yorkshire’s industrial past is 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.

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.

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. 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.

If you'd like to explore the county's famous cities and scenery, we have a range of beautiful holiday cottages in Yorkshire to provide the perfect base.

Other films set and filmed in Yorkshire (many of which are based on books and plays) are: 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, to name a few.

Posted by Clare on 12th April 2019