Bath braces itself for Bridgerton's return

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton and Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton
Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton and Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton -Credit:Liam Daniel/Netflix

Bridgerton, the show that has been making waves and ripples in the heart of Regency romance fans, is once again ready to bath us in its drama and grandeur. As it prepares to waltz into our screens for a third series, it’s not just the viewers who are set to be swept off their feet.

The city of Bath and the wider West of England region, where the show has been filmed, are ready to ‘court’ the benefits. With the show’s popularity skyrocketing among Netflix’s 200 million viewers, it’s clear that Bridgerton is not just a ‘fling’, but a ‘marriage’ of success for the local economy and tourism industry.

New stats from Visit West commissioned by Mayor Dan Norris show the popular period drama has contributed more than £5 million to the local economy with UK and international visitors, and expects that figure to increase in 2024 after the release of part one on Thursday, May 16 and part two on June 13 of the latest series.

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Bridgerton has even sparked the development of a new industry surrounding the show, with thousands of extra visitors to The Guildhall, Royal Crescent, and other brilliant, historic Bath attractions featuring in the popular period drama with a modern take. This includes the creation of new tours and experiences. Bath Walking Tours has specifically designed a new tour taking in the show's most memorable filming locations.

Mr Norris has hailed a “Bridgerton effect” as “a huge boost for Bath’s economy” and the wider West of England – which he called “quite simply: the Hollywood of the UK.”

Dan Norris, West of England Mayor, said: “Some people say Bath is ‘one of the stars of Bridgerton’. I would say that actually the reverse is true - Bridgerton is one of the stars of this incredible city, and our amazing West of England region. The series showcases the brilliant sites and attractions that make Bath what it is, and all at their most romantic. It's no wonder it put people in the mood for some West of England romance.

"The 'Bridgerton Effect' is huge for our region - generating millions for the West, and sparking a whole new tourist industry as thousands from every part of the world flock here.”

But the streets of Bath and some of the most familiar landmarks in the West of England are to appear more frequently on the big screen as a slew of TV dramas and films follow Bridgerton’s lead, including the new series of the hit comedy thriller The Outlaws, based in Bristol, the much-anticipated BBC drama Wolf Hall and Disney series Rivals, all of which were produced in the region.

The series follows a number of positive developments in the West of England film and TV sector in the last 18 months, including the opening of not one but two new film studios - the £12 million Mayoral Combined Authority-funded Bottle Yard Studios expansion (TBY2) as well as the £1 million Box7 studio that doubles up as a nightclub – both opened by Mayor Norris.

The West of England currently has the largest concentration of production companies outside of London churning out content watched by 800 million people each month. The region is best known for its natural history focus, with 35% of all natural history content is produced here.

Mayor Dan Norris has also launched his £3 million Culture West scheme to open up the creative sector to more talent, including offering every child in the West of England at least one “cultural experience” per year, and a brand-new Film and TV training course to train up 200 young people at the brilliant Bottle Yard.

West of England Mayor Dan Norris, who has backed the region’s “world-leading” creative industries with more than £4 million in funding since his election in May 2021, added: “The creative industries are thriving in the West of England.

"Ten years ago, much less drama and other TV and film was being made in Bath and the West of England. Now we have completely changed the picture. People in the West of England feel very proud that these productions are being made here."

Adapted from a series of historical romance novels by author Julia Quinn, the drama follows members of the Bridgerton family as they navigate London's high society in the 1800s.