As seen on screen: the UK's hottest tourist spots

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The Downton Abbey effect is being felt at stately homes across Britain as visitors flock to see real-life sets

In 2008, Tim Burton praised the National Trust's 18th-century historic home Antony House as a "perfect, pocket-sized mansion". Burton pimped the Cornwall property for his Alice in Wonderland film shot that year. Luckily for the National Trust, when the movie was released two years later, audiences were as impressed by the bricks and mortar as the star-studded cast of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

According to new figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva), Antony House is one of a slew of historic properties, museums and galleries which have enjoyed a rise in visitor numbers in 2010 as a result of film or broadcast projects. Burton's adaptation helped the property to increase its visitor numbers from 25,000 to 100,000 last year, while the Natural History Museum and the British Museum have benefited from similar boosts.

"I think [it is] unfortunate for the Antony House that it is slightly out of the way of the route between Plymouth and Cornwall and a lot of people previously hadn't discovered it," said Harvey Edgington, the National Trust's broadcast and media manager. "But this film was a great opportunity for us to blow the trumpet. We conducted a small straw poll and half of adults and half of people with children had come specifically because of the film. The producers allowed us to boast about that fact. That turned out to be a solid marketing ploy."

In October, it emerged that "high Elizabethan" pile Highclere Castle in Berkshire, the filming location of ITV1's Downton Abbey, had experienced a similar surge in requests to view the property.

The house is currently undergoing an £11m refurbishment programme; when it reopens to the public later this year, its owners, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, hope to charge visitors in order to finance repairs to the property.

The British Museum, which topped Alva's list with 5.8 million visitors and enjoyed a 5 per cent increase in visitors on last year, was heard in Radio 4's A History of the World in 100 Objects, hosted by the institution's director, Neil MacGregor. In it, MacGregor explored artefacts such as a Victorian swimming costume and Bonnie Prince Charlie's silver canteen.

"People like these projects because they are employing familiar buildings but in an interesting way," said the British Museum's deputy director, Andrew Burnett. "Institutions haven't used the media as much as they should have done in the past. But even the most poorly watched programme has a couple of million visitors. Now, we are managing to connect."

The British Museum was followed by Tate Modern, with 5.1 million visitors last year, a 7 per cent increase on 2009, and the National Gallery, which saw a 4 per cent increase to 5.0 million visitors. "Tate Britain had a successful year with well-attended exhibitions including Henry Moore attracting 167,790 visitors and Fiona Banner's Harrier and Jaguar installation as part of the Tate Britain Duveens Commission 2010," a Tate spokesperson said.

The National Trust's land and properties remain popular filming locations. The final, two-part Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was filmed at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, transformed for the film into Malfoy Manor, home to the Malfoy family and used as the centre of operations by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

Never Let Me Go, the high-profile adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's best-selling novel, was filmed at Ham House in Surrey. Gulliver's Travels, starring Jack Black, took in Osterley Park and House in Middlesex, while Russell Crowe's turn in Robin Hood was filmed at Hertfordshire's Ashridge Estate and Pembrokeshire's Freshwater West.

According to the National Trust, for that film, local volunteers were brought in to assist the cast and crew, and transported Crowe around in a tractor. Alva said around 50 per cent of its members saw a rise in visitors and 50 per cent a fall. It also surveyed its member institutions ahead of the royal wedding in April. Around 90 per cent of respondents said they expected an associated increase in visitor numbers. "The tourism industry is of huge value to the British economy, and financially it represents an excellent return on investment," Alva director Robin Broke said. Unfortunately for the public, 33 Portland Place, the party venue used by royals and celebrities and employed as a location by the film-makers of The King's Speech, this year's big British film, is unlikely to become a destination on tourists' "to-do lists".

Grace and favoured: The buildings boosted by surge in visitors

Antony House, Cornwall

Location for Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland'

Set on its own peninsula, this historic house was the only location used in Alice, notably in the party scenes which bookended the movie's vast use of CGI. The Grade I-listed house saw 75,000 extra people visit it last year.

The British Museum

Its artefacts were featured in Radio 4's hugely successful The History of the World in 100 Objects presented by museum director Neil MacGregor, and it was also seen in Richard Linklater's period-drama Me and Orson Welles, starring Zac Efron, filmed in the Enlightenment Gallery.

Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle

Both seen in 2010's Burke and Hare, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Isla Fisher about the two 19th-century grave robbers. Edinburgh Castle, pictured, was visited by 1.2 million people last year, according to Alva's latest figures.

The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

The college saw a 28 per cent surge in visitor numbers to 1.27 million last year after it was used as a filming location for the latest film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. The movie's star, Johnny Depp, brought the college national attention when he visited a nearby school in character to surprise and delight pupils.

Natural History Museum

This London museum, already a popular school-holiday haunt, saw a 13 per cent increase in visitors last year to 4.6 million, in part thanks to BBC2's behind-the-scenes documentary, Museum of Life, which explored the institution's inner workings. The programme was fronted by Jimmy Doherty, a former volunteer.

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

This estate and grounds date from the 13th century and have been seen in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, BBC television drama Jonathan Creek and, most recently, Sir Ridley Scott's new version of Robin Hood. The National Trust claims it has been inundated with requests for viewings since Russell Crowe's Robin hit the silver screen.

Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all faied
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?