Yorkshire is the biggest and one of the most varied counties in England. From beautiful rolling hills in the Yorkshire Dales, to desolate moorlands around Haworth and charming fishing villages along the North Yorkshire Coast. It’s no surprise that when you combine fantastic landscapes with majestic manor houses and historic city centres plenty of tv producers have seen the appeal of the county and over many decades of the small screen they just keep coming back!
Some tv shows are set in Yorkshire and so are nearly entirely filmed there such as Heartbeat, Emmerdale & Happy Valley. Others return to locations in Yorkshire again and again. Peaky Blinders has returned a number of times to film and Victoria makes use of many historic houses across the region. For those towards the end of the list, Yorkshire film locations have only featured once or twice but they’re some of Netflix’s biggest hits!
1. Happy Valley
TV series of the moment, Happy Valley is set in the Calder Valley of West Yorkshire and was filmed in many of the towns around the area. Hebden Bridge, Bradford, Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge, Leeds, Heptonstall & Keighley among many other places can be spotted throughout the series. It was rumoured you could take a Happy Valley day tour to see lots of the locations!
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2. All Creatures Great & Small
The beloved series, All Creatures Great and Small, follows the life of vet James Herriot as he practices around Yorkshire. The series is based on the books of the same name written by real life vet James Alfred Wright which told tales of his work around the county. Both the original tv series and the more recent tv series feature scenes from around Yorkshire. Whilst the original series sees Askrigg in Wensleydale step in for the fictional village of Darrowby, the more recent adaptation uses Grassington instead. The gorgeous waterfall of Janet’s Foss in nearby Malham is the location for Helen meeting James having a morning dip…!
3. Open All Hours
Comedy legend David Jason stars with Ronnie Barker in the iconic Yorkshire sitcom Open All Hours which takes places in the suburb of Balby in Doncaster. You can visit the outside of Arkwright’s Shop which is on Lister Avenue and is Beautique Hair Stylists. Plenty of scenes were filmed on this street and number 34 (in the first series) and number 32 (from series two onwards) were the location of Nurse Gladys’ house.
The iconic TV soap Emmerdale is set in the fictional village of Emmerdale in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. A number of different places have doubled as Emmerdale beginning with the Dales village or Arncliffe from 1972-1976. It’s a pretty little village with lots of great walks nearby so if you’re a fan of the show and its history take a trip out into the lush Dales scenery. From 1976 until 1997, the soap was filmed in Esholt but when the number of episodes a week increased and production began to take up more time in the village, filming moved again. This time a purpose built set was built on the grounds of Harewood House which replicates Esholt and is still used today. You can take a tour of the set on The Emmerdale Village Tour here.
Beloved police drama series Heartbeat is set in the North Riding of Yorkshire and follows the local police department as they investigate cases around the area. The village of Goathland is the most famous filming location and it’s a tourist hotspot (although that is also because the train station featured in Harry Potter!). Goathland was used for exterior scenes of the village of Aidensfield and you can wonder round and still see businesses using Aidensfield instead of Goathland! Other Yorkshire favourites such as Whitby, Otley and Scarborough can all be spotted in some episodes of Heartbeat as well.
6. Last of the Summer Wine
Last of the Summer Wine is a Yorkshire favourite that aired for nearly forty years and nearly three hundred episodes making it the longest running sitcom in the world. The series follows the lives of three elderly gentlemen as they get up to mischief around their hometown of Holmfirth in West Yorkshire. Just a stroll through the picturesque town of Holmfirth will take you past a number of spots from the series that you’ll recognise. At Town Gate you’ll notice Sid’s Cafe which is Ivy’s Cafe. 30 Huddersfield Road is the site of Compo’s house and is now an exhibition dedicated to the show. You can actually stay in Nora Batty’s house if you’re visiting for a whole weekend and feel like you’ve stepped right into the show. Head down the road to the village of Jackson Bridge to find the White Horse Inn and have a drink in memory of the show.
7. Gentleman Jack
Sally Wainwright is one of the best known screen writers from Yorkshire and she loves setting her series in the county she’s local to. Gentleman Jack marks the second of three series on this list that Wainwright has written and is the only period series. Happy Valley (1) & Last Tango in Halifax (10) are both contemporary series. Gentleman Jack tells the story of Anne Lister, a landowner in 1830s Yorkshire and is based on excerpts from her diary. Her lengthy diary was written in code as she had a female lover, Anne Walker. Shibden Hall in West Yorkshire was actually Anne Lister’s house and you can visit it today! There are so many wonderful film locations around Yorkshire featured in Gentleman Jack that you could pack a whole schedule full of them! To name a few, you can visit Grays Court in York, Temple Newsham in Leeds, Bramham Park, Harewood House, Wentworth Woodhouse, the National Railway Museum in York and Rievaulx Abbey.
8. Ackley Bridge
Ackley Bridge is a young adult comedy drama set at the fictional school of Ackley Bridge in Yorkshire. The series is filmed at St Catherine’s Catholic High School in Halifax which closed in 2013 making it the perfect film set for a high school teen drama! Other scenes from the show have been filmed in Halifax, Leeds and Hebden Bridge.
9. A Touch of Frost
The classic detective drama, A Touch of Frost, starring the classic sit-com comedian David Jason, is set in the fictional town of Denton but nearly entirely filmed in Yorkshire. A lot of filming was done around Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford with many outdoor scenes around using the stunning landscape around West Yorkshire and Scarborough has also featured. I must admit, this is the show I’ve found hardest to pin down exact locations for but a walk around the towns mentioned above and you’ll be sure to feel right in the midst of the investigation!
10. Last Tango in Halifax
Another of Sally Wainwright’s productions is the comedy-drama Last Tango in Halifax. I’m sure you can guess from the name that a lot of filming was done in Halifax and extended further out into the Calder Valley showcasing the beautiful scenery of the area. Other scenes in the series have been filmed at Bridlington, Ilkley and the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
Much of the riveting tv series Victoria, is filmed in Yorkshire with plenty of the county’s stately homes playing roles as England’s regal residencies. Harewood House (above) is a substitute for Buckingham Palace and Castle Howard as Kensington Palace. You can also see Wentworth Woodhouse, Bramham Park and Brodsworth Hall featured. Take a trip to the coast and you’ll see that the west pier in Whitby was a film location as was Flamborough Head standing in for the Isle of Wight. One of my favourite historic places in Yorkshire is the city of York and of course plenty of locations were used in the series. The Merchant Adventurers Hall, Fairfax House and York Crown Court to name a few.
12. Peaky Blinders
Whilst Peaky Blinders is not set in Yorkshire it has filmed plenty of scenes in locations around the county although West Yorkshire seems to be a particular favourite. Bradford City Hall & Leeds Town Hall are both used where the latter doubles as an art gallery. Also in Leeds, you’ll spot the City Varieties theatre and St Chad’s Church. Near to Leeds, the mills of Saltaire & Keighley were used as well as the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, an iconic filming location in West Yorkshire with its beautiful, quaint stations. Further afield, Newby Hall near Ripon has made an appearance in the gritty crime series.
13. The Witcher
The pandemic forced the producers of fantasy drama series The Witcher to find all of their filming locations within the UK and they found a few that they liked in Yorkshire! In series 2 you’ll spot three Yorkshire locations make an appearance: Fountains Abbey, Plumpton Rocks and Gordale Scar.
The first season of Bridgerton captured audiences around the world with its tales of seduction and scandal in Georgian England. But perhaps one scene in particular stole the limelight. And THAT scene was filmed at none other than Yorkshire’s Castle Howard! Visit this stately home near the city of York and you’ll recognise the front of the house, the gardens and the Temple of Venus. Castle Howard is no stranger to having a film set on site and has featured in a number of films as well.
I actually took these photos in November 2020 before Bridgerton actually hit the small screen!
15. The Crown
One of Netflix’s most popular series is The Crown which follows the life of the UK’s Royal family throughout the late Queen’s reign. In the most recent series (5), both Wentworth Woodhouse (as Russia’s Ipatiev House bedrooms and banqueting hall) and Hull city centre are featured when film crews descended in 2022.
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