Saturday, June 22, 2024

The beautiful UK town that people travel 240 miles for for a special reason

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The final episode of Last of the Summer Wine may have aired nearly 14 years ago, but the show still draws fans to the West Yorkshire town of Holmfirth.

Regardless of the weather, enthusiasts of the long-running sitcom can be seen wandering the streets in true Compo-style.

This week, Glasgow residents Janet and Hugh Muir made the roughly 240-mile journey to visit Holmfirth. Despite not being a fan of the show herself, Janet surprised her husband with a three-day holiday in the town due to his love for the classic series.

Despite it being their first visit, the couple quickly fell for the charm of Holmfirth, with its old buildings, countryside walks, and various Summer Wine attractions. Their holiday accommodation was even Nora Batty’s Cottage, and they also visited the nearby Summer Wine Exhibition.

According to Yorkshire Live, Hugh, who has been a fan of the show for ‘donkeys years’ and still watches reruns on the Drama channel, said: “My wife is not that keen and says ‘oh you’re not watching that again’.”

Both agreed that Holmfirth is a ‘fantastic place’ to explore. They have visited Sid’s Cafe and Upperthong Cemetery to see the graves of actors Bill Owen and Peter Sallis.

Hugh added: “The Last of the Summer Wine museum was absolutely excellent with lots to see like old BBC props. We have been to all the main tourist sites and will be visiting all 12 of the blue plaques in Holmfirth on the Blue Plaque Trail.”

Janet hailed Holmfirth as ‘fascinating’, attributing its charm to the plethora of historic structures, ranging from quaint cottages to majestic churches.

Hugh, on the other hand, robustly counters any notion that Holmfirth should ‘move on’ from its association with Summer Wine to attract tourists. “That’s nonsense – I think Last of the Summer Wine, no matter what you say about it, will always bring tourists. You can’t ignore the fact that industry (created Holmfirth) but it was Summer Wine that put Holmfirth on the map.”

Their plans include another visit to the picturesque town of Holmfirth.

At Sid’s Cafe, a hotspot for fans, there’s been a bustling influx of visitors this week, including international tourists from Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales, all eager to purchase memorabilia like fridge magnets, teapots, and tea towels.

Sid’s Cafe’s manager Maxine has observed the sitcom’s enduring appeal, especially among younger audiences. “It’s surprising how many from the younger generation are getting into it now.”

She recounts the story of a young enthusiast: “We have a young lad aged 10 or 11 who visits (from Wales) with his grandparents two or three times a year. He dresses up in wellies and a cap and spends all his money on souvenirs.”

Michael and Sharon Potts, Newcastle natives, are enamoured with Holmfirth, drawn back time and again, initially by the allure of the Summer Wine series which introduced them to the stunning landscapes of Pennine Yorkshire.

“We live it here and have visited four times. The first time was because of Last of the Summer Wine and then we fell in love with the area,” says Michael.

When Peter Sallis died they visited his grave, and they love to wander the countryside much like Norman ‘Cleggy’ Clegg did for all those years.

“It’s so peaceful here,” says Sharon. “The scenery is amazing.Michael adds: “It was Last of the Summer Wine that drew us here.

“My mum and dad loved it. I think Compo is amazing.”

The couple are stopping for a couple of nights and then heading to Filey. Sharon doesn’t want Holmfirth to lose its unique charm, adding: “People love Holmfirth because it has got character. It’s like stepping in back in time.”

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