A few days ago for my mam's birthday I surprised her with a trip to The Emmerdale Studio Experience. Emmerdale is her favourite soap and I knew she'd love to go behind the scenes. I visited the Coronation Street Tour a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to this one. It's located in Leeds, about a 2 hour drive away from us. We'd booked in at the midday slot which seemed like a good time to go as when were finished at about 2 it was really busy. I was very pleased to hear that you were allowed to take as many photos as you want, unlike the Corrie tour where you couldn't take any of the indoor section of the tour.
After getting your tickets scanned in and given a lanyard we were introduced to the tour guide, our tour had about 15 or so people, which was a nice number and wasn't too packed. Our first stop was a mock up of the script writers room, where we were told all about the writing process and how episodes get put together. We then moved onto the costume department, I loved seeing famous pieces from the show, wedding dresses and Edna's hat! Next we saw a mock up of where the actors get their makeup put on and let into some TV makeup secrets too.
Then we moved into a corridor full of props that were used in the show from over the years. It was fun to spot some things you could recognise from the past. We were also told about how some props are replicated, like when something is used as a murder weapon they'll recreate it using rubber so not to harm the actors. We also saw signs that had been created for Hotton Magistrates Court etc.
After that we moved onto the sets section of the tour. They filmed in this studio up until 2011 when they moved to the studio next door as it's bigger, so they recreated the sets as they were here. Firstly there was Beaty and Bernice the salon in the village, here we also got told about lighting on the show and could control it ourselves. Next we moved onto the Dingles house. This was so fun to see, picking out bits and pieces you could see. It's instantly recognisable! Finally we were shown to Paddy and Rhona's house, where you had the opportunity to film a ten second video on the sofa and have it emailed to yourself.
From there we were shown around a miniature version of the village, you can also do a tour of the actual village which I think would be quite good. We could have photos taken with the Emmerdale sign here too. The special effects section of the tour showed us how they do the weather effects in the village, as well as big scenes like the cellar flood at The Woolpack and the helicopter crash, which was fun to see behind the scenes of. We ended the tour in The Woolpack set, where you weren't allowed to take photos (I took some sneaky ones!), but could have a professional one taken behind the bar to purchase later, which we obviously did!
The final step of the tour was through David's shop into the gift shop, we couldn't resist a David's Shop shopping bag! The gift shop wasn't anything special, just random bits with Emmerdale written on, we also stopped off at the cafe before heading home which was better than expected, although having people queuing for the tour right next to the tables is a bit weird. Our tour was really good and we both enjoyed it, our tour guide was fab and we had a fun time pointing out all the things we recognised, with tickets being a reasonable £20 each (the tour lasted about an hour and a half) I'd definitely recommend a visit if you're a fan of the show.