Thursday, 28 July 2011

Harry Potter... and the Welsh beach - IOL Travel Europe | Shell Island Llanbedr Gwynedd

Harry Potter... and the Welsh beach

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Hermoine and Ron in a scene from the latest Harry Potter movie, with Shell Cottage in the background. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros

The final installment in the highly successful Harry Potter series has worked its magic for tourism in Pembrokeshire in the south of Wales. The beautiful Freshwater West beach has been added to the list of must-see Harry Potter film locations since being featured in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2.

Shell Cottage, which features in the seventh and final film in the series, was built on the beach in 2009.

News of the construction prompted hundreds of fans to visit the location in the hope of glimpsing the cottage and gathering autographs from the cast. Freshwater West was already known as one of Wales’s top surfing beaches, offering visitors unspoilt, golden sand.

It is not the first time the beach has provided the backdrop for a Hollywood blockbuster – Sir Ridley Scott filmed battle scenes there for his 2010 version of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe.

And now it seems the Hollywood sparkle has rubbed off on the county.

The latest tourism figures released show that visitor numbers in Pembrokeshire rose by almost 30 000 to 4.2 million in 2010, while visitor spending is up by 5.4 percent to £544 million (R6 billion).

Alison Belton, chief executive of Pembrokeshire Tourism, said the films had provided a big boost to tourism in the region: “There is no doubt that any part in films of such magnitude works as a fantastic marketing tool for the tourism industry. Because films like Harry Potter reach a worldwide market, particularly of a younger generation, it is important that we keep embracing the marketing opportunities here.”

Other famous Harry Potter locations across the UK include Oxford University’s famous Bodleian Library, which doubles up as Hogwarts’ library, Alnwick castle where Harry had his first flying lesson and Leadenhall Market in London where the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron is located. – Daily Mail