Last of the Summer Wine: Holmfirth
© 2010 by Kathy Noltze. All rights reserved.
A familiar scene: downtown Holmfirth
Real patrons at a real café: Sid's
Recognizable staircase next to Sid's
No, he's not Compo.
Sid's Café interior. It was full of activity, but I found a table straight away and ordered tea
at the counter.
Alley which is film location for Nora Batty's door and the Wrinkled Stocking Café. Access
to the Last of the Summer Wine exhibition hall is here, also. The River Holme to the left of
the alley is the venue for many scenes.
Looks like a bridge from which Compo was dangled.
Nora Batty's door.
Not on tourist maps: Bill Owen's final resting spot. Two headstones and a pair of Wellies
mark his grave. He dropped his real last name for the American market.
A fitting tribute to a man who delights millions even 11 years after his demise: Compo's Wellies.
Holmfirth has many pedestrian footpaths...
...and little lanes.
Area buses depart from Huddersfield Rail Station and nearby bus depot.
Serendipity. Bypassing London, I flew directly into Manchester from the States: business took me to Chester and York. On my return, train times to Manchester Airport did not dovetail with my flight arrangements. Thus I stopped at Huddersfield–due to its easy train trip to the airport–and found myself on a local bus to Holmfirth. Serendipity.
Aficionados of Last of the Summer Wine know that much of the sitcom is filmed in and near Holmfirth and they will recognize some of the locations in my pictures to the left. The area is also the filming location for many scenes in Coronation Street, Cranford, and other programs.
In the Pennines on the River Holme, Holmfirth is worth a visit even if you're not a sitcom fan. It's in an area of northern England that is designated as Outstanding Natural Beauty and would be an inexpensive base from which to explore northern England's villages and countryside, as well as Manchester, Chester, Leeds, and other cities.
I had tea at Sid's Café and walked over the bridge and river where many escapades are filmed. Nora Batty's blue door didn't look like the one on TV to me. (That's likely due to the fact that programming in the USA is probably 15 years behind filming.) Sid's Café is the only place where I encountered a slight "touristy" aura.
It was dejá vu all over again as I traipsed the town on its many foot-paths. Everywhere I went seemed to be somewhere I'd been before.
I saw no garish Niagara Falls-type tourism advertisements, nor did I run into any tour bus groups. Folks at the information office were helpful, clearly accustomed to individuals requesting walking maps. At the end of the day, I returned to their office for directions to something not on the map: the cemetery where Bill Owen is interred.
It's on a little lane up a hill about five minutes' pleasant walk from downtown.
A sign for an ale fest caught my eye several times as I walked through town. I succumbed to temptation and sampled a variety and Sunday carvery at The Old Bridge Hotel.
"Hello, again," said a familiar voice as I fumbled through my shoulder bag for my day-return bus ticket. It was the same bus driver who'd delivered me to Holmfirth earlier that day. He probably remembered me because I'd asked him at least twice if I'd missed my stop. You see, Holmfirth is only seven miles from Huddersfield and I expected the trip to take maybe 15 minutes, even allowing for driving on the left side of the road. But we zigzagged through hilly country and villages–I swear we did donut holes–and the outbound trip took over 45 minutes.
The return was only 20 minutes (not the zigzag path?) and I was deposited "right back where you started" at Huddersfield Rail Station, the last passenger off the bus.
May 4, 2010
These are Huddersfield pictures. Click on them to enlarge.
Statue of former
Prime Minister Wilson
outside train station
Outside the outdoor market
at the library
Interval at the
Lawrence Batley Theatre,
as viewed from a box seat.
Carousel was performed
on April 30. Good job!