World of James Herriot
World of James Herriot
Real life vet Alf Wight lived and worked at a modest cottage in the market town of Thirsk. The house is now a fascinating museum dedicated to the life of Wight and his fictional creation, James Herriot. There are displays depicting the life and practice of a country vet, and the history of veterinary medicine. In addition, there are exhibits about the popular television series, including the Austin 7 used in the series as James's car.
The house has been restored to the way it looked during the 1940s. The attention to detail is amazing; you feel like the family has just stepped out of the room. There is a huge collection of Herriot memorabilia, and a TV set used for 'All Creatures Great and Small'. Visitors can step into the set and become one of the cast members.

As far as 'real' history goes, there is a fascinating collection of veterinary tools, showing how the practice of caring for animals developed over time. When I say 'collection', I do mean it; there are over 4000 instruments to enjoy and - for most ordinary visitors - scratch your head over!

'Alf Wight' relaxing at home
'Alf Wight' relaxing at home
The World of James Herriot has been awarded a status of 'Highly Commended' Small Visitor Attraction by the Yorkshire tourist board.

Visiting
We visited as a family, with a couple of children. My wife was a big Herriot fan, and I'd read a few of the books, but our children weren't old enough to have had the pleasure. But that didn't stop them from enjoying the experience; there's so much packed into this small house, it seems like Dr Who's Tardis; bigger on the inside than the outside! The recreated living areas were wonderfully authentic, right down to the clutter on the sitting room floor.

It was fascinating to see the bottles and potions that a real vet would use, and you could try your hand at grinding some potions yourself. The video detailing Alf Wight's life was fascinating, and really gave me a new appreciation for the man and his work. And it was great fun to step right into the TV set used for the series. As far as our children were concerned I think the most memorable moment was getting to sit behind the wheel of the Austin 7 and pretend to be driving it!

IMAGES
The family dining room
The family dining room
Veterinary medecine cupboard
Veterinary medecine cupboard
The storage shed
The cluttered storage shed
Alf Wight's vet office
Alf Wight's vet office
The kitchen
The kitchen
James Herriot's Austin 7
James Herriot's Austin 7