The settings for the TV dramas Downton Abbey, Poldark and Doc Martin have topped the list of 50 staycation destinations in the UK and Ireland, according to a survey.

Highclere Castle and Port Isaac ranked highest in a study of 2,000 adults to find the TV shows that are driving tourism at home this summer. Truro is ranked third, although the Cornish city was actually represented in the show by Charlestown near St Austell, about 14 miles away.

Gavin & Stacey's Barry Island in Galmorgan, Broadchurch's West Bay in Dorset and Bridgeton's city of Bath are also popular locations for people to visit after seeing them on television.

Brits are also exploring Cardiff on the Doctor Who trail, and the Scottish Highlands to the areas where Outlander was filmed.

Highclere Castle, the location for the TV series and subsequent film Downton Abbey
Highclere Castle, the location for the TV series and subsequent film Downton Abbey

The research found that more than half - 56 per cent - of those polled have already been inspired to visit parts of the UK they had never visited before after they appeared as backdrops in British and Irish dramas and comedies.

A spokesman for Virgin Media O2, which commissioned the study to launch TV Mapper, an interactive online tool that maps UK filming locations of the nation’s favourite shows, said: “TV became a lifeline in lockdown and during the periods when travel wasn’t possible, we were only able to escape to these destinations through our screens.

Port Isaac in Cornwall has proved a popular draw for fans of Doc Martin on ITV
Port Isaac in Cornwall has proved a popular draw for fans of Doc Martin on ITV

“With some of the world still cut off from us due to travel restrictions, there has been a rise in UK TV tourism, as many want to follow in the footsteps of their favourite characters or discover new staycation locations they’ve seen in shows.”

Other areas adults have taken it upon themselves to visit after tuning into a series include Chatham Dockyard in Kent, where some of the scenes for Call the Midwife are filmed, and the areas of Birmingham where Peaky Blinders is recorded.

The beachfront at Barry Island became famous after many scenes were shot there for the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey
The beachfront at Barry Island became famous after many scenes were shot there for the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey

London, meanwhile, was a top city destination for TV tourism with its streets seen in Bodyguard, Black Mirror, and Luther.
However, despite the difficulties of lockdown and quarantine, a quarter of holidaying adults have managed to head farther afield to other countries in their quest to explore the settings for their favourite shows.

More than a fifth - 22 per cent - have travelled to Dubrovnik in Croatia to take in the atmosphere surrounding the settings for many of the scenes for Game of Thrones.

Edinburgh and Arthur's Seat, which has played host to scenes for Outlander on Amazon Prime and More4
Edinburgh and Arthur's Seat, which has played host to scenes for Outlander on Amazon Prime and More4

Another 17 per cent have taken the opportunity to visit Melbourne, Australia, to see the set of Neighbours.

For eight in 10, visiting a location they’d seen on TV was "everything they’d hoped for", according to the OnePoll research. More than four in 10 have spotted a TV or film crew at work in their city and taken time to stop and watch the action.

Just under half - 48 per cent - of respondents believe the UK has some of the most scenic filming destinations in the world. Three in 10 even feel proud to be British when they see cities or locations from the UK used in TV shows and films.

Virgin’s spokesman added: “It’s natural to feel a bit of home pride when we see somewhere we recognise in a big-budget production.

TV fans can discover where their favourite TV shows are filmed by clicking here

Top 50 UK destinations Britons have visited - or would like to visit - as a result of seeing them on television

1. Port Isaac, Cornwall – Doc Martin
2. Highclere Castle, Hampshire – Downton Abbey
3. Truro – Poldark
4. Holmfirth, W Yorks – Last of the Summer Wine
5. Bath – Bridgerton
6. Scotland – Outlander
7. Barry Island, Glamorgan – Gavin & Stacey
8. West Bay, Dorset – Broadchurch
9. London – Bodyguard
10. Cardiff – Doctor Who
11. West Yorkshire – Happy Valley
12. County Clare – Father Ted
13. Buckinghamshire – Midsomer Murders
14. Margate, Kent – Only Fools and Horses
15. Belfast – Line of Duty
16. Birmingham – Peaky Blinders
17. London – Black Mirror
18. Scotland – Behind Her Eyes
19. Thetford, Norfolk – Dad’s Army
20. Bristol – Skins
21. London – Luther
22. Lyme Park, Cheshire – Pride & Prejudice
23. Derry, Northern Ireland – Derry Girls
24. Chatham Dockyard, Kent – Call the Midwife
25. Oxford Street – I May Destroy You
26. Glasgow – The Nest
27. Manchester – The Stranger
28. Lancaster House, London – The Crown
29. Halifax – Last Tango in Halifax
30. Kent – Gangs of London
31. Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire – Sex Education

32. St James’ – Killing Eve

33. Lancashire – The English Game
34. North Gower Street, London – Sherlock
35. Birmingham – Man Like Mobeen
36. Lacock, Wiltshire – Cranford
37. Hertfordshire – The Inbetweeners
38. Laugharne, Carmarthenshire – Keeping Faith

39. Sligo, Ireland – Normal People
40. Craiglang, Glasgow – Still Game
41. Dartmouth Park, Kentish Town – Fleabag
42. Hitchin, Hertfordshire – Dr Foster

43. Hackney – Top Boy
44. Larchfield Estate, Northern Ireland – Marcella
45. Hertfordshire – After Life
46. Burpham, West Sussex – Unforgotten

47. Paton Street, Manchester – It’s a Sin
48. Southmere Lake, Thamesmead, SE London – Misfits

49. Northleach, Gloucestershire – This Country

50. Rousham House, Oxfordshire – The Pursuit of Love

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