Written by on Mar 11, 2015. Posted in On Location

Harry Potter and Downton Abbey help boost England film tourism for 2014

Harry Potter and period drama Downton Abbey helped drive film tourism in England in 2014. Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, and the Dorset filming locations used for child murder drama Broadchurch, contributed to an overall spend of up to GBP 140 million.

Alnwick Castle appeared as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films (right) and more recently appeared in Downton Abbey.

Film tourism spending at the castle reached GBP 4.3 million in 2014, making it by far the most popular of the eight locations looked at in the study carried out by Olsberg SPI for Creative England.

Bampton in Oxfordshire, the main village filming location for Downton Abbey, came second on the list with GBP 2.7 million, while West Bay in Dorset, home of Broadchurch (below), took third place.

“The positive impact of screen tourism to the economy is clear to see, but there is still much more we can do,” said Kaye Elliott, Head of Production Services at Creative England.

“At Creative England we work hard to both encourage production teams to film in the English regions, and also work with locations, local businesses, local authorities and tourist agencies to help them maximise the benefits of this growing trend, something that has the potential to add even more money into the UK economy.”

General tourism spending in England is still largely focussed on London, but other parts of the UK are starting to get more exposure. This is partly because the UK’s TV tax credit now makes regional England a feasible filming location.

The BBC’s period drama Wolf Hall filmed across southern and south-west England and found a massive domestic audience. Should this success be repeated internationally, it could have a dramatic impact on regional film tourism in England.

Game of Thrones is among the most significant film tourism drivers in the UK. The show is a fundamental part of how Northern Ireland markets itself internationally.

(Harry Potter image: Warner Bros; Broadchurch image: ITV)


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