From walking tours in Bath to visiting the sweeping coastal scenery of Hartland Quay in Devon and stately Mapperton House in Dorset, hits from Bridgerton to the period film Rebecca are providing the southwest of England with a TV tourism and production boom.
The region has emerged as a fertile location for a string of big-budget series and films by deep-pocketed US streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video, as well as domestic broadcasters including ITV.
Netflix, which spends $1bn annually on UK-made productions, estimates that it has contributed £132m to the UK economy from making big-budget series and films such Bridgerton, Rebecca and David Attenborough: Our Planet across the region in the past two years. The spend covers investment related to the actual production and subsequent TV-inspired tourism.
Bath has estimated it will benefit to the tune of £1.5m from fans visiting real world locations from Bridgerton, Netflix’s second biggest global hit after Squid Game. Visit Bath has even created walking tours to showcase locations such as the Assembly Rooms and Holburne Museum that helped create the series’ backdrop of Regency London.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in visitors after featuring in Bridgerton,” said Dr Amy Frost, the curator at No 1 Royal Crescent Museum in Bath, which served as the front of Featherington House in the period drama. “You hear people talking about Bridgerton in the street when you walk past some of the locations.”
The film Rebecca has inspired fans to flock to Hartland Quay in Devon and Mapperton House in Dorset, home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, which was used as a location for Manderley, the mansion central to Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel.
“It is a natural home for Netflix productions,” said Anna Mallett, Netflix’s vice-president of physical productions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We’re committed to the south west for the long term and have created over 1,000 jobs while generating opportunities for local communities.”
Netflix is not the only big player to provide a boost to the region with ITV’s production of Jane Austen’s Sanditon providing plenty of location draw cards for viewers.
The main house at Dyrham Park featured as Sanditon House, while Brean beach in Somerset, at seven miles one of the longest stretches of sand beach in Europe, made for eye-catching TV.
“It is good to see Netflix and other production companies investing in our fantastic region and bringing in highly skilled jobs,” said Dan Norris, the West of England mayor. “They truly help put our area on the map.”