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July 17 2024 / 02:03 PM
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Blenheim Palace, as seen in Bridgerton and also Napoleon (photo credit VisitBritain Blenheim Palace Pete Seaward)

By: Vivian Vassos


With season three of Bridgerton now in full streaming mode, the locations, the palatial homes and the lavish gardens are all once again in focus.

The beauty of Bath, in England, where much of the series is filmed, takes a starring role, from circular Royal Crescent to the shops in Abbey Green (The Abbey Deli stood in for La Modiste’s fashion house) and the promenade along Alfred Street, and it’s all the more appealing that we can visit these places in real life.


A mansion in Greenwich, used as the facade of the Bridgerton family home (photo credit Historic England.English Heritage Trust.Christopher Ison)


Yes, dear agent, you can have your clients follow in the footsteps of Penelope Featherington (aka Lady Whistledown) in Bridgerton, along with many other set jetting itineraries.

And agents are a priority. VisitBritain acts as liaison to connect Canadian tour operators and agents with the UK industry in helping them develop and promote trade-ready products and itineraries.

Working with partners, VisitBritain hosted a series of successful travel agent training workshops in the autumn of 2023 and earlier this year. The DMO is also in the planning stages for additional workshops across Canada this year and will share those dates with Travelweek when confirmed.

The workshops come as the Canadian market recently passed the one million mark for visits to Britain.

England has long been a place where dream locations meet the big and small screens, and the trend of film and screen tourism, coined ‘Set Jetting’ by industry insiders, is motivated by some of the entertainment industry’s greatest hits.


Set-Jetting: More Than a Trend in Britain

According to VisitBritain, more than a third – 34% – of visitors consider “visiting locations from my favourite TV/film shows filmed on location in Britain,” as a dream activity to do in Britain.

VisitBritain also notes that almost half (47%) of survey respondents were interested in riding the scenic ‘Hogwarts Express’ train through the Scottish Highlands.

According to the British Film Institute, in 2019, inbound tourists spent an estimated £892 million in film-related screen tourism in the UK, up from £729 million in 2017.

Birmingham is the backdrop for Peaky Blinders (the film after the series finale is coming soon); Bath for Bridgerton (Timothee Chalamet’s Wonka, too); London is the modern day set for the espionage thriller, Slow Horses, oh, and did we mention Killing Eve, the last few 007 films, and so much more.


Black Country Living Museum outside Birmingham is used for the set of Peaky Blinders (photo courtesy VisitBritain Rod Edwards)


And then there’s The Crown, arguably a poster child for jet setting around England. The locations that doubled for Buckingham Palace (Lancaster House), Windsor Castle (Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire), St George’s Chapel (York Minster) and Balmoral (Ardverikie House near Inverness) in Scotland are not so secret anymore, and open to the public during certain times of the year.

England also stands in for other places. The recent bio-pic Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix, wasn’t all filmed in France. Boughton House and Blenheim Palace played body doubles for Versailles and the diminutive Emperor’s war rooms.

Few would argue, however, that Downton Abbey is the leader of the pack. With another film in the works, the television phenomenon continues to draw tourists to its real location: Highclere Castle. There are Downton Abbey themed tours of the castle available to be booked, as are Bampton Village in the Cotswolds, which is the stand-in for Downton Village.


Highclere Castle, well-known to Downton Abbey fans (photo credit VisitBritain Anastasia Ustenikova)


Not to leave out the action-film and locomotive lovers, along with the Hogwarts Express, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway was front and centre in both Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, and Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny.


Harry Potter fans flock to Northumberland’s Alnwick Castle, a familiar sight from the movie franchise (photo credit VisitBritain)


Riding the rails has never been so fascinating, and trains are also a sustainable and efficient way to travel through the UK, especially for those who would rather not drive on the left-hand side of the road.


Agent Resources & Looking Ahead to 2025

For 2025, start planning now: The year marks the 250th birthday of author Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice, anyone? Austen spent many of her writing years in Hampshire and Bath and, just like her protagonist Elizabeth Bennet, was known to love to walk. Retrace the author’s footsteps with a Jane Austen walk, from Alton to Chawton, where The Jane Austen House is also worth a visit.


Pulteney Bridge in Bath was a backdrop for the 2012 movie adaptation of Les Misérables (photo credit VisitBritain)


In the meantime, agents can check out VisitBritain’s dedicated new trade website. The website features a new look and design, user-friendly navigation and refreshed content, video and images, and provides improved access to the information needed to help you promote and sell travel to Britain.

Key features include the latest data and research on tourism to Britain, and resources for the travel trade, including destination content to inform and inspire.


The Old Royal Naval College’s courtyard was used extensively in The Crown (photo credit VisitBritain_Hand Luggage Only)


Agents can sign up to receive the Canadian travel trade newsletter for monthly updates on Britain.

Meanwhile the VisitBritain Shop (visitbritainshop.com) gives access to more than 500 visitor experiences, transportation and tourist products. For VisitBritain Shop discount codes, email VBShopTrade@VisitBritain.org requesting the latest list of travel trade discount codes.


The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, as seen on Bridgerton (photo credit The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa)


Travel advisors can also contact their preferred Canadian tour operators for the latest experiences and travel product in Britain.

Jul 03, 2024

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