Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A visit to Hogsmeade on the Hogwart's Express!

Dad has been dying to take Noah on a steam train ride through Yorkshire since the day he was born. Those of you that know my Dad, know him to be rather young at heart. However, tell him he gets to ride on a steam train and this 71 year old man become a 7 year old boy. This morning he was utterly bubbling over with excitement at the prospect of riding the train from Pickering Station to the village of Goathland.
With a quick google search to learn the train schedule the day became even more exciting for all of us. Goathland Station was the location chosen to be Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. They used the platform as the backdrop with Hogwart's Castle cleverly photoshopped into the distance. Pretty cool.
With this info in our pockets were off the Pickering Station to catch the "Hogwart's Express". We arrived in plenty of time to buy our tickets and sit on the platform.

When the Yorkshire Coast Express pulled into the station Noah' face lit up.

The steam train looked just like all the toys he played with for hours on end as a littler boy during his Thomas the Tank Engine days. We boarded and found a car with plenty of seats for the 6 of us. As the train started on it's journey we began passing other engines. Toby, James, Mavis and even a few of the troublesome trucks. There was Cranky the Crane too, in the station yard.

Noah was thrilled! Grandad was pretty excited too. The ride took about 50 minutes and Matt spent the majority of that time with his head out the window, snapping some wonderful shots of the journey.

Once we arrived at Goathland Station (or Hogsmeade, if you will), we walked over the footbridge and down the platform, searching the scenery for a glimpse of a scene from the movie. Certainly the ambiance is there and you could visualize Hagrid loping down the hill to escort the young wizards back to Hogwart's.

Goathland is also the location for the English television program Heartbeat. It is where Catherine Zeta Jones got her start. The pub and the garage from the show act as real tourist attractions in this tiny village known as Aidensfield on the show.

We walked another steep hill to the village and found a lovely little teahouse for a nice lunch.

There wasn't much more to see so we opted to return to the station for the 2:50pm train back. We enjoyed that ride just as much as the first one. Steam trains are just plain cool.

Back at Picking Station we realized it was almost 4pm and we hadn't been into a pub yet. We decided to find a place for some dinner. We drove for about an hour to a pub we had visited late last week but found that they didn't serve food until after 6pm so instead we carried on to Thirsk and found a Fish & Chip shop. The kids were thrilled and we enjoyed a delicious dinner including pickled onions. LOVE!
Back to the car and still not a pint all day! An embarrassment! What if the kids forgot what the inside of a pub looked like? Enough is enough. It is was straight to the Hound and Hare. We walked in and Noah and Eden sighed with relief...oh wait...maybe that was Dad and Matt. It's really hard to say. We enjoyed our refreshments, chatted with a couple of old boys at the bar and got back in the car to head back to the cottage.
Kids to bed and the day is done. Man, this holiday thing is sure a lot of fun.
Snacking on a clotted cream rice pudding and now it's bedtime for me too.
Sweet dreams friends and family! xox

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