Emmerdale Farm, as it was originally called, was first broadcast in 1972.
Back then, it was filmed in the quaint village of Arncliffe in the valley of Littondale in North Yorkshire. The Falcon Inn doubled as The Woolpack and the village forge, shop, vicarage and church also made cameos.
The Woolpack today
However, by 1975, transporting cast, crew and equipment was proving too time-consuming and expensive, and ITV decided to move the fictional village of Beckinsdale nearer to the Yorkshire TV studios in Leeds. So in 1976, the fictional village of Beckindale (as it was known before the villagers changed its name to Emmerdale in 1994) moved to West Yorkshire and was filmed in the village of Esholt.
The village pub, The Commercial Inn, even permanently changed its name to The Woolpack because the landlord was sick of the frequent pub sign changes.
Emmerdale was filmed in Esholt for 22 years. By 1998, the villagers tired of the camera crews and tourists clogging up the roads.
Nowadays, the interior scenes are filmed in a studio in Leeds, while the exteriors are shot on a purpose-built set on the Harewood estate on the outskirts of the city – a replica of Esholt. There’s even a full-time gardener who makes sure that the roses flower six weeks before they do around the rest of the country, as the show films six weeks in advance.
The purpose-built set on the Harewood estate – complete with real flowers
The studios are closed to the public but a guided walking tour has just been launched at weekends (see below).
Oh, and if you fancy a day’s shopping in Hotten, it’s actually the market town of Otley, which is also located in West Yorkshire, between the cities of Leeds, Bradford and York.
Radio Times Travel offer:
Discover the magic that breathes life into one of Britain’s most loved and most enduring TV shows at the brand-new Emmerdale Studio Experience. See full-scale set reconstructions, and hear the truth about past storylines and tales from behind the scenes from your expert Emmerdale studio guide. Don’t miss your chance to be among the first to enjoy this fascinating new tour. Click here for more information and to book.