The World Of James Herriot
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The Great and The Small
Alf Wight was born to humble beginnings in Sunderland and grew up in Glasgow. However, the place he is most associated with is 'Skeldale House' in Thirsk, where he spent the great majority of his adult life and penned most of his famous works.
Still operating as a veterinary surgeon, he only began writing at aged 50 and published his first story, If Only They Could Talk in 1970.
Not being allowed to advertise as a vet, Wight needed a pseudonym. After watching Birmingham City take on Manchester United in the FA Cup, he was impressed by the performance (and the name) of Scottish goalkeeper, Jim Herriot. And so, a soon-to-be legendary name was created.
From Thirsk to Darrowby
Herriot's stories were based around a vet who moved to the fictional Yorkshire village of Darrowby. Engaging in endearing animal misadventures, the stories told were recounts of Herriot's early years as a veterinary surgeon. It was this heart-warming and earnest approach to writing that led to the books' success, which in turn led to adaptations under the title most associated with the works of Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small.
Following a 1975 film starring Anthony Hopkins, a hugely successful BBC show would begin in 1978 and would run for 12 years, becoming a worldwide hit in the process. It also led to an acclaimed remake arriving in 2021, showing that Herriot's legacy is still as strong as ever today.
In terms of appreciating this legacy, there's no better place to visit than the World Of James Herriot in Thirsk. Located at 'Skeldale House', the very place where he penned his works, the site now also acts as an impressive display of everything related to Herriot's incredible life.
Discover the Wider World
In The World of James Herriot, you'll find all kinds of things that relate to Herriot and the age and time of which he lived in. One aspect of the site is the recreation of the home, including Herriot's living room, writing room and also the room where he would carry out his veterinary practices. Located around the site is newspaper articles, memorabilia, awards and other objects of significance from Herriot's life and career, including potions and remedies that were used to treat many poorly pets in the past.
Aside from Herriot's life you can also find fascinating displays that depict the key aspects of veterinary and rural life through the ages, as well as props and set recreations from the All Creatures Great and Small show and films. There's also an interactive animal-themed gallery that's bound to keep children and grown-ups entertained as you learn critical vet skills from the TV show, like how to correctly put your hand up the... rear end... of a cow!
The Bright and the Beautiful
It'll be tough to not be totally enamoured by the wonderfully charming World of James Herriot. In his 78 years of life, his work made us laugh, cry and feel all warm and fuzzy inside while also improving the health and even saving the lives of countless animals.
Every aspect of his legacy is on show, so whether you've read the books, are a superfan of the TV show, a mad animal lover or if you want to discover his work for the first time while exploring in the gorgeous Thirsk countryside, then you're in for an amazing and charming world to discover!
Suitable for all ages, come down to the World of James Herriot and appreciate the legacy of an extraordinary author and vet like no other.
Exclusive discounts for The World of James Herriot!
How to find us
By Road Thirsk is just off the A19 and close to the A1(M). Postcode is YO7 1PL.
There are a number of nearby car parking sites in Thirsk town centre.
9th August 2022 - 25th December 2023
- Museum shop
There are parking sites nearby, but none directly at the site
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