Film and TV draw in UK tourists

Many UK locations have experienced a dramatic rise in visitor numbers thanks to being shown on the silver or small screen, according to a new report published today. Commissioned by film and tourism bodies, the report by Olsberg|SPI, Stately Attraction - How Film and Television Programmes Promote Tourism in the UK, reveals the locations most likely to inspire tourism are stately homes; historic and religious buildings; and rural or village landscapes.

With the recent surge in period films such as forthcoming production The Young Victoria set in historical London locations, heritage attractions are now exploring other ways to benefit from filming.  At the recent Brideshead Revisited shoot at the art deco Eltham Palace (Greenwich), the film’s production manager gave a short talk to visitors to engage them with the filming process, whilst special tours at Osterley House (Hounslow) have been tailored around what has filmed there.

Rebecca Kane, English Heritage Visitor Operations Director for London said:
“Filming at our London sites not only brings in much needed income to help with their high running costs but also raises the profile of our historic properties. The power of film is clearly demonstrated by its ability to literally more than double the number of visitors coming to our properties overnight and more importantly it enables us to engage with entirely new audiences who might not have considered visiting a historic site before. It’s fair to say that location filming has become part of English Heritage’s very lifeblood.”

Harvey Edgington, National Trust Broadcast & Media Liaison Officer said:
“Every time we participate in a big feature there is a positive effect on visitor numbers. Filming is also very useful in terms of exposing stately homes to new audiences - working with Bollywood titles and children’s programmes has helped the National Trust reach a new demographic.”

Building on this growing trend in film tourism, Visit London and Film London have produced a range of movie maps highlighting key hotspots and lesser-known locations from recent London hit films, as well as general maps covering Bollywood and other London-shot productions.  The maps have been distributed at information centres around the UK and overseas and hundreds of restaurants, bars, cafes and cinemas in London’s West End.


James Bidwell, CEO of Visit London said:
“London is an inspirational setting for films with a mixture of traditional, modern and diverse locations across the capital. Together with Film London, Visit London has produced movie maps to give all fans of cinema the chance to visit the locations and landmarks immortalised on the silver screen. From Notting Hill to The Da Vinci Code the axis of movies adds to the amazing range of visitor experiences London, as the most visited city on the planet, has to offer.”

Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London said:
“The worldwide reach of new movies such as The Bourne Ultimatum and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, attracted here thanks to the London Filming Partnership which has made filming in the capital much easier, brings profile to London that advertising just can’t buy.  The success of our movie maps demonstrate the appeal of discovering film locations both on and off the beaten track, with ‘set-jetters’ eager to discover the capital from a movie-perspective and share in the glamour of the big screen.”

As the primary destination for visitors to the UK, London also benefits from the wider ‘branding effect’ which takes place in screen productions, promoting positive general perceptions of the UK’s people, society and atmosphere, not related to particular sites or locations.  This is demonstrated through films such as Bend it Like Beckham, which raised the profile of the UK overseas, especially in China.

The report features several London examples of films and television programmes attracting both local and overseas tourists:
Notting Hill gave international prominence to an area of London relatively unknown outside the city.  The film provoked a huge and lasting influx of tourists searching for the famous ‘blue door’ and the travel bookshop, and also brought new visitors to the grounds of Kenwood House in Hampstead.
James Bond film The World is Not Enough has inspired several special tours such as the London Taxi Tour which goes past the MI6 Building.  There are several location initiatives on a more general Bond theme including an Original London Walk named Spies and Spycatchers.

Location fees paid by The Da Vinci Code allowed Temple Church to open an extra day a week to accommodate tourists.
The National Portrait Gallery Café received requests from customers to sit at the table where Julia Roberts and Clive Owen sat in the film Closer and additionally created a special drink.

London’s King’s Cross station erected a plaque marking ‘Platform 93/4’ in response to visitor demand following the Harry Potter phenomenon.