Millions of people have been fascinated by the tales of a Yorkshire Dales vet in the books by James Herriot (real name Alf Wight). His novels If only they could talk and It shouldn’t happen to a vet tell tales of the many characters and wonderful locations found around the fictional Darrowby in North Yorkshire.
The TV series All creatures great and small helped bring the story to life further showing the places in the books that James Herriot and his boss Siegfried Farnon and his brother Tristan frequented.
Our tour today allows you to see these locations in the flesh, covering a number of locations in beautiful Wensleydale & Swaledale.
Firstly, we will travel to the brewing town of Masham then onto the cistercian ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, before carrying on into Wensleydale. We will stop in Middleham for a photo stop at the castle where Richard III spent his childhood and also at Castle Bolton where Mary Queen of Scots was once imprisoned. We will then travel past Aysgarth Falls to The Wheatsheaf pub in Carperby where the real James Herriot spent his honeymoon. From here we drive through stunning Yorkshire Dales scenery past Wensley Church where James’s wedding was filmed before stopping at Askrigg where the Kings Arms Pub featured as Darrowby’s Drovers Arms in the TV series and Skeldale House played Herriot's practice.
We will visit Hawes – the Yorkshire market town before stopping at The Wensleydale Creamery for some free cheese sampling. There are plenty of options for lunch from traditional country pubs to village tea rooms before ascending over Buttertubs Pass with its spectacular views into Swaledale - one of England's truly iconic roads.
We will pass through Muker, Gunnerside and Reeth with their wild flower meadows, dry stone walls and field barns before heading up Langthwaite where the watersplash scene from the opening credits of the TV series was filmed before returning home. This is a great day where we have the flexibility to stop where we want and really get to know Herriot Country.
NB. Many people choose to visit the market town of Thirsk (Darrowby in the books) under their own steam, with a visit to the actual vetinerary practice where Alf Wight worked. It has now been turned into a fascinating visitor attraction – The World of James Herriot. This is a real treat and the house hosts a TV studio, agricultural displays as well as many parts of the house being refurbished to show what the house would have looked like in the 1950’s. Whilst there is so much to cover in the Yorkshire Dales, we can add The World of James Herriot and Thirsk into our tour by special request.