I visited the Harry Potter station and it was a huge disappointment - but I'd still recommend it

Goathland Station, North York Moors, which plays Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films
Goathland Station, North York Moors, which plays Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films Credit: Dave Himelfield -Credit:Dave Himelfield

The renowned Yorkshire station you ought to visit, even if Harry Potter isn't your cup of tea. Two decades ago, I found myself holidaying on Anglesey and we decided to pay a visit to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch while in the vicinity.

It was nothing more than a tourist trap, and I'm not sure why I had anticipated anything different. There was a station with an elongated sign, a shop brimming with Llanfair PG trinkets, and little else to pique one's interest.

The 58-character name was conceived as a publicity gimmick during the railway boom in the mid-19th century. Possessing the longest place name in Europe put the village, previously known as Llanfair y Pwllgwyngyll, on the map and ushered in much-needed tourism revenue.


We glanced at the sign for about half a minute, stepped into the shop, purchased nothing, and departed from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, never to return. Yet, this underwhelming tourist attraction still draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

I experienced a similar sense of indifference when visiting Goathland Station. For those unfamiliar with the spectacle-wearing student wizard, this station nestled in the heart of the North York Moors served as 'Hogsmeade Station' in the Harry Potter film series, reports Yorkshire Live.

Yet, here were Harry Potter enthusiasts flocking from all corners of the globe to see this quaint station. It's well-preserved and nostalgic, and the surroundings are, as one would expect from any location within a National Park, simply delightful.

However, in the end, it felt like just a station with a gift shop. I wasn't going to bump into Harry, Hermione or Ron.

The small Harry Potter chocolate frog, complete with a 'collectible' wizard card priced at £5, and a tiny box of Harry Potter jelly beans for £6.50 didn't exactly make the experience more appealing. The £3.50 parking ticket, valid until midnight, was another added expense.

I recalled the thrill I experienced when I visited Hadfield, Derbyshire, where much of The League of Gentleman was filmed. Back in 2000, it was an unassuming Pennine village.

Yet, seeing the high street that features at the start of each episode of the eerie BBC comedy series was exciting. Even spotting the lesser-known locations nearby was a delight.

I also thought about the pleasure Happy Valley fans get from exploring the ordinary and sometimes unsavoury backstreets of Halifax, where scenes for Sally Wainwright's hit crime drama were shot. I was certainly excited to have lunch in the 'Sheffield' cafe where Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) confronts Clare (Siobhan Finneran).

Harry Potter enthusiasts will undoubtedly feel the same excitement at Goathland Station, especially if they've travelled from another continent where a British village station itself seems exotic. If you're not a particular fan of JK Rowling's superstar creation but you enjoy steam trains and/or stunning scenery, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which stops at Goathland, is definitely worth the ticket price. And if none of the above appeals to you, you're probably Tom Riddle.