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TV and film locations

Daniel-Day Lewis stars in Phantom Thread Credit Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy Stock PhotoDaniel-Day Lewis stars in Phantom Thread Credit Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

From the silver screen to much-loved TV dramas, the North York Moors plays a starring role. If it’s not the stunning coastline or panoramic moorland, then it’s the charming villages, heritage steam trains, ancient castles and abbeys that have film and TV companies knocking on our door. 

Ones to watch out for...

Downton  Abbey: The Movie

Expect to see Pickering station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in the film's opening scenes, as well as views of the train steaming through Newton Dale, along with Castle Howard, Hovingham Hall and Ampleforth College in the film adaptation of Downton Abbey.

The Secret Garden

Colin Firth and Julie Walters are leading a new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's novel The Secret Garden. Key locations include Helmsley Walled Garden (the secret garden), Helmsley Castle and Duncombe Park in Helmsley, plus moorland shots in Farndale, all in the North York Moors National Park. The film is due for release 17 April 2020.

The Runaways

The North York Moors will take centre stage for a modern children’s adventure film, ‘The Runaways’, starring Yorkshire legend Mark Addy. An uplifting film about childhood love and loss, three siblings and their donkeys, run away across the Moors towards the coast, taking in a scenic journey from Osmotherley, towards Robin Hood’s Bay, through Sutton Bank and Levisham Estate. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway stations at Goathland and Grosmont also feature as the children climb aboard the train, with donkeys in tow! Set almost entirely in the National Park, check their website for current festivals and screenings.

North York Moors - in the spotlight 

We take a closer look at some other locations you can visit for film-inspired days out.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

With stunning views and stylish carriages, the heritage railway is hard to beat for a scenic backdrop. It’s played a starring role in favourites such as ITV’s ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ and films including ‘Dad’s Army’, and the upcoming Official Secrets, a spy thriller starring Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith, plus Downton  Abbey: The Movie. 

The railway also featured in ‘Testament of Youth’, the BBC Films/Heyday Films adaptation of Vera Brittain’s World War One memoirs, which was shot in several locations including Goathland, Egton Moor, Fylingdales and along the coast.

Not forgetting the wizarding world’s most famous train station, Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films, is in fact the North York Moors very own Goathland station!

Duncombe Park

Helmsley’s stately home masquerades as the German HQ in the recent 'Dad's Army' film, alongside cameos in the 2012 BBC drama ‘Parade’s End’ and the 2013 BBC film 'The Thirteenth Tale’.

Robin Hood's Bay and Staithes

The National Park’s dramatic coast played a starring role in Daniel Day-Lewis’s much anticipated final film ‘Phantom Thread’ about 1950s dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock. To capture the atmospheric beauty of the film, locations such as the stunning fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, the cobbled streets of Staithes, St Oswald's Church in Lythe and the classic interior of the Victoria Hotel formed the backdrop. It's possible to walk in Day-Lewis’ footsteps along the clifftops above Robin Hood’s Bay, by venturing north on a short stretch of the Cleveland Way National Trail towards Whitby.

Sit down with your pre-schooler and see Staithes in CBeebies ‘Old Jack’s Boat’, which features Bernard Cribbins as 'Old Jack', a retired fisherman who tells stories from inside his fishing boat, ‘The Rainbow’.

Castle Howard 

Well-known as the location for both the hugely popular 1980s ITV series and film versions of ‘Brideshead Revisited’, majestic Castle Howard also turns up in the BBC’s ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’  and ‘Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties’. Most recently it appears in the second series of the hugely popular ITV drama ‘Victoria’, when the house doubled as Kensington Palace.

Rievaulx Abbey

The stunning ruins of Rievaulx Abbey forms the impressive backdrop for King Arthur and his metallic knights for the latest Transformers movie, ‘Transformers 5 – The Last Knight’.

Sutton Bank

Channel 5 TV’s popular animal doctors in ‘The Yorkshire Vet’ hail from Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk, the original James Herriot practice, and often features Sutton Bank on visits out across the North York Moors.

Rosedale

Scenic Rosedale and the village of Fadmoor featured in ITV’s comedy ‘Bad Move’ with Jack Dee, setting the scene for a married couple’s new life in the countryside.