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Goathland – the ‘magical’ village that’s the ‘Heartbeat’ of the North York Moors

Nestling in a wide valley, just a few short miles from Whitby and the North Yorkshire coastline, lies the pretty, tranquil village of Goathland. It is surrounded by the hills, dales and heather moorland for which the North York Moors are best known. And it’s famous!

Visit Goathland with Grand Yorkshire: ‘Steam Trains, Whitby & the Moors

The village has a small hotel, a variety of guesthouses and B&Bs and at least two tearooms. And then there are the familiar bits… the post office, the pub, the garages which is also a funeral home, all of which carry the name of ‘Aidensfield’, not Goathland. There are also lots of visitors; 900,000 of them every year. Why? Because it is famous!

Famous for its starring role on the hugely popular TV drama series ‘Heartbeat’, images from the village of Goathland were brought into the living rooms of people all over the UK and across the world for almost 20 years (and repeats of the series can still be seen on TV in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada… to name just a few).

Heartbeat’s popularity certainly explains why the village has been a popular visitor spot for over 20 years, but today Goathland is welcoming a new, younger audience thanks almost entirely to Harry Potter. The young wizard is connected to Goathland by its railway station – in the Harry Potter films the young wizards would travel to Wizard School from London on the Hogwarts Express, boarding at Kings Cross Station (platform 9 ¾) and arriving at Hogsmeade Station. For the filming of the first Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone), Goathland station was transformed into Hogsmeade Station.

Goathland locals welcomed an entire film crew – dozens of vehicles, trailers, catering trucks, filming lorries and mobile editing suites. A helicopter circled the villages for several days and the crew stayed in local hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. Many Goathland residents (including some children) were used as extras, with others called to help with sewing badges onto costumes and even adjusting the length of Robbie Coltrane’s trousers. At the station, signs on the walls, benches and beside the track were all changed. With the help of CGI editing the scenery around the station was also changed, with a lake located at the end of the platform and Hogwarts Castle visible in the distance.

Today there is no evidence of Harry Potter at the station, but fans of the JK Rowling movies will recognise the station and will be able to relive some of the magic of the films as steam trains pass through the station throughout the day from April until October. For fans of Heartbeat, there is plenty to remind them of the TV series, including the Aidensfield Arms, Aidensfield Stores and Scripss Garage & Funeral Home.

Whatever your reason for visiting Goathland, you’ll find yourself in a delightful village where sheep graze openly on the wide grass verges, and where the world moves at a slightly slower pace.