Scotland is a long drive from Cambridge – 9 hours without stopping. Yikes! To break the trip up we stopped in Yorkshire for 1 night on the way up and 1 night on the way down. I may have also arranged the Yorkshire stops to be near some Harry Potter movie locations. Yes!
Our first stop on the way to Scotland was at the small town of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s a beautiful part of the country. I loved the criss-crossing stone walls marking out the paddocks on the hills.
A half-hour walk out of town, you come to the base of Malham Cove – an 80 meter high, 300 meter wide limestone cliff that was formed from melt water erosion after the last ice age. Pretty amazing.
You can climb up the Cove and walk around the top for an amazing view, but also our Harry Potter movie location.
The top of Malham Cove is covered in a stunning limestone pavement. The same melt water that eroded the cliff face, made crevices in the once solid limestone to form the limestone pavement. The view is pretty amazing too.
Of course, our initial reason for coming to Malham Cove was to see a Harry Potter location. Harry and Hermione camped up here while they were trying to work out what the Deathly Hallows were. They must’ve filmed there in winter with no green plants poking up through the gaps. A stunning film location.
On the way back from Scotland, we visited Hardwick Hall – a stunning Elizabethan manor that was built in the 15th century.
It was built by a woman, Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, known as the Bess of Hardwick. She was a formidable woman who married 4 times and, with her husband, had 3 manors including this one. Because of the number and size of the windows, there was a phrase at the time – “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall”. There certainly are a lot of windows.
Bess fashioned herself on the more well-known Elizabeth of the time – Queen Elizabeth I. The Queen was godmother to Bess’ first son Henry and Bess at one point tried to position one of her daughter’s as an heir to the throne. She was unsuccessful then, but one of Bess’ descendants did become queen – Queen Elizabeth II. Pretty cool, eh?
But the real reason we visited Hardwick Hall was because it was used in Harry Potter as Malfoy Manor. I don’t think anyone actually visited Hardwick Hall for filming, they probably just captured an aerial shot of the house and then applied computer graphics. The shape of the building and the windows are quite recognizable as Hardwick Hall.
If we had more time, we might’ve paid the extra to go inside the house. As it was, wandering around the estate was lovely enough.
Yorkshire has some beautiful national parks and attractions. We loved York when we visited last year, and these stops just confirmed how special the area is.
We’ll be back, I’m certain. Maybe for some more Harry Potter sightseeing, like finding Hogsmeade Train Station.