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Friday, 21 November 2014

Stars are drawn to Cumbria’s charms

THOSE who live in this part of the country need no reminding of the astonishing natural beauty and range of attractions that set the Lake District apart.

But increasingly it seems the rest of the world is starting to cotton on to that fact – thanks in no small part to the presence of some high-profile celebrities.

The last year has been a stellar one for celebrity sightings in the Lake District, with an unprecedented number of famous faces gracing our soil.

Hollywood power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron, teen queen Kristen Stewart, country crooner Taylor Swift and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff are just some to have crossed the Atlantic for Cumbria.

There has been no shortage of home-grown talent visiting either, with football legend Sir Bobby Charlton, actor Martin Clunes, One Direction star Harry Styles, singer Professor Green and Golden Globe-winner Bob Hoskins holidaying here.

The hyper-intensive interest in celebrities and power of social media platforms such as Twitter means that a celebrity’s visit to the Lake District creates a free publicity storm that money simply cannot buy.

Just one tweet from American singer Taylor Swift, who was spotted in Bowness on December 10 with boyfriend Harry Styles, will reach 22 million followers – equivalent to the entire population of Australia.

Cumbria Tourism managing director Ian Stephens said that tourism operators were acutely aware of the impact a celebrity’s visit could have on their business.

“Celebrities play an increasingly influential role in our society and like most of us they too like to take holidays,” he said.

“The Lake District, Cumbria, is one of the most beautiful and inspiring locations in the world and it’s no wonder that famous people want to discover this stunning place for themselves.

“The county offers amazing food and drink, quality accommodation and the huge range of activities ensures that the highest quality experiences can be enjoyed by everyone all year round.

“Endorsement of the area by celebrities can only help to raise the profile of our beautiful county and inspire others to visit.”

TV star Tony Robinson, who shot to international fame as Baldrick in the comedy series Blackadder, spoke glowingly about his visit to Barrow in October to the Evening Mail.

“This was my first visit to Barrow since I was a kid,” he said. “We used to come on holiday to the Lake District.

“I was absolutely blown away by the Dock Museum. A big pat on the back is deserved by Barrow Borough Council to be able to sustain it during such difficult times.

“It really is a jewel in the crown.”

It is not just celebrity holidayers the Lake District’s dramatic landscape is attracting, but film crews, too.

Hollywood blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman and the critically acclaimed Sightseers, which is nominated for seven awards at the British Independent Film Awards, were both filmed on location in the Lake District.

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