I am an avid fan of the TV programme Emmerdale. The exterior sets are filmed within the Harewood Estate. It was previously a closed set but now they are open to the public. I did some research and found out that Just Go Holidays offered a 3 day (2 night) Emmerdale Tour with included excursions to Otley (alias Hotten) and York.
Even though there were 3 dates available for this particular tour last year, the only one with a pick-up point nearest to us, i.e. Watford Junction was on 5th August. I couldn’t book it straightaway as my husband was waiting for an angiogram appointment to come through. The latter took priority obviously. By the time the hospital appointment came through and it didn’t clash with the August tour I booked it for us. However, by then there were only 4 seats left on the coach. I booked seats 49 and 50 for us, the last 2 seats together.
We were the last 2 couples to get onto the coach when we joined the tour. Seats 49 and 50 were not the same as the ones I booked from the seat diagram. Instead, they were the middle 2 seats in the back row of 5.
In my youth, every time we went on a school trip, the back row of the coach was the first to be occupied. Fast forward 50 years and nobody wants to sit in the back row! We wouldn’t have mind it so much had the seats been spacious and wide but they were cramped. It did not help either that the lady next to me was not sylph like and her bottom encroached on part of my seat. That seat in the middle of the back row is child size!
It is just as well the journey to our hotel in Leeds was just over 4 hours. We stayed at the Corn Mill Lodge for the 2 nights. The hotel was fine, no complaints. We were given a ground floor room as requested via phone a week earlier.
Our tour to the exterior sets within the Harewood Estate was definitely the highlight of our trip. The morning tour lasted about an hour and a half. It was very comprehensive. The guide was very knowledgeable of the cast and storylines. The afternoon was spent in Otley, the fictitious town for Hotten. Nothing much to do there but we did have lunch at their best fish and chips shop.
En route back down south the next morning we stopped in York. Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside York Minster as it was a Sunday and not open to the general public until the church services finish at 1pm. As our coach was leaving at 12.30pm we had to give it a miss. Betty’s Tearoom was very prominent in the town centre and there was a big queue to get in.
Just Go are offering the tour again in 2017. They have omitted Otley from the itinerary and have replace it with Harrogate which I think is an improvement.
Since going on the tour I have found out that Continuum Attractions offer both Emmerdale Village and Studio tours. If I were to do it again, I would advice to do it yourself, book a hotel in Leeds and book the tours separately. This will ensure you’ll see and do what you really want.
Also, do not take the seating plans on coaches, or even airplanes as gospel. They do vary.