Attracting more than 8 million viewers per episode, BBC1’s adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels is the biggest drama of the year so far. But it’s not just dashing Aidan Turner pulling in the ratings – the glorious Cornish backdrop is proving popular too.
The National Trust’s Levant Mine, doubles as the fictional Tressiders Rolling Mill in the series. Visits to the mine have increased by 91 per cent in the first seven weeks of the year, thanks to Poldark.
Located seven miles from Penzance, Levant actually opened 40 years after Poldark’s fictional Wheal Leisure in 1820, yet mining methods remained the same – a painstaking extraction of tin and copper by candlelight.
Cornwall as a whole has also seen more interest from potential visitors. Web hits to Visit Cornwall were up 65 per cent in the 12 hours following the first episode of Poldark, and this spike has continued each week. Meanwhile, Porthgwarra Cove, has enjoyed a substantial increase in visitors. This pretty spot is where Demelza spies on Ross while he swims in the sea, and where Ross helps Mark escape in his boat.
“Many of our customers during the Easter period told me that they have been inspired to visit Cornwall as a direct result of watching Poldark,” explains local cottage manager Kerry Baillie, of St Aubyn Estates Holidays. “We envisage that once the summer arrives we will receive many new visitors to the Cove.”
Other local businesses are looking to cash in on the Poldark effect. In the coastal village of Portreath luxury resort Gwel an Mor is offering a ‘Poldark break’, which will include a tour of the filming locations and the chance to ride off into the sunset on a horse like our protagonist, with the same company that provided stunt riders for the series.
“Film and TV is proven to have a significant influence on holiday decision-making,” explained Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall. “Poldark has been incredible gift to Cornwall. We couldn’t ask for a more powerful showcase and with the second series confirmed it can only get better.”
The finale of Poldark airs at 9pm this Sunday (26th April) on BBC1. You can find our locations guide to the series here.