House of Dragon Sky Atlantic: Cornwall locals fear influx of fans of new Game of Thrones prequel

House of Dragon Sky Atlantic: Cornwall locals fear influx of fans of new Game of Thrones prequel

Cornwall locals fear an influx of House Of The Dragon fans after the popular tourist spot was chosen as the filming location.

The Game of Thrones prequel, which will air Monday at 2am on Sky Atlantic, is expected to draw visitors to Mounts Bay, St Michael’s Mount, Kynance Cove and Holywell Beach to recreate the magic of George RR Martin’s latest adaptation want.

But residents fear the new series, which stars Matt Smith, 39, and Emma D’Arcy, 30, both playing members of the royal family, House Targaryen, will put further strain on local infrastructure and an already strained housing market for millions of visitors per year come to the Staycation hotspot.

A local business told the Guardian that holidaymakers can’t continue to gorge themselves on Cornwall’s “communities and the environment” and instead tourists should go to less popular spots to protect the local area.

This isn’t the first time locals have criticized the production, as holiday park owners lashed out at House Of The Dragon filming in September 2021, saying the noise drove visitors away.

Cornwall locals fear an influx of House Of The Dragon fans after the popular tourist spot was chosen as the filming location. Pictured: Matt Smith transformed into the character of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen

View of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall at sunset, another filming location

View of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall at sunset, another filming location

The Game of Thrones prequel, which will air Monday at 2am on Sky Atlantic, is expected to draw visitors to Mounts Bay, St Michael's Mount, Kynance Cove and Holywell Beach (pictured) trying to experience the magic of the latest George RR Martin replica adaptation

The Game of Thrones prequel, which will air Monday at 2am on Sky Atlantic, is expected to draw visitors to Mounts Bay, St Michael’s Mount, Kynance Cove and Holywell Beach (pictured) trying to experience the magic of the latest George RR Martin replica adaptation

FIRST LOOK: Matt Smith is filming for the highly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel in April 2021 as he joins co-star Emma D'Arcy in Holywell Bay in Cornwall

FIRST LOOK: Matt Smith is filming for the highly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel in April 2021 as he joins co-star Emma D’Arcy in Holywell Bay in Cornwall

Stunning scenery: During filming, the two actors were seen chatting on the golden sands and walking along the beach before Emma headed to the water last April

Stunning scenery: During filming, the two actors were seen chatting on the golden sands and walking along the beach before Emma headed to the water last April

It is true that Game of Thrones has caused a huge increase in the number of visitors to its filming locations. In the 10 years since GOT came out in 2011, Iceland’s visitor numbers have grown from 500,000 to over 2.5 million.

While the filming location of King’s Landing, Dubrovnik in Croatia, where much of the political action in the HBO series takes place, has seen twice as many tourists, Northern Ireland, where much of the North is filmed, has netted £250m in additional tourist revenue.

And that has raised concerns for Mike Bevens, chief executive of accommodation company Sawday’s, which owns glamping specialist Canopy and Stars, who said: “The constant desire for insatiable growth by some holiday operators is unsustainable.

“The industry cannot continue to get fed up with the bounty of local infrastructure, communities and the environment without considering the longer-term implications.”

He tells people not to go to the filming locations, but to “Restormel Castle, Botelet, or the Lizard and Roseland Peninsulas.”

Here's how it looks: Matt transformed into the character of Prince Daemon Targaryen, donning a long black jacket and knee-high boots, and Emma wore a red dress, both colors representing House Targaryen

Here’s how it looks: Matt transformed into the character of Prince Daemon Targaryen, donning a long black jacket and knee-high boots, and Emma wore a red dress, both colors representing House Targaryen

Fire will reign as the House Of The Dragon premiere this Sunday, August 21 on HBO Max and Monday, August 22 on Sky Atlantic

Fire will reign as the House Of The Dragon premiere this Sunday, August 21 on HBO Max and Monday, August 22 on Sky Atlantic

It happens!  Dozens of crew members were seen working on set in April 2021 while Matt and Emma walked through the middle of what appeared to be pieces of wood

It happens! Dozens of crew members were seen working on set in April 2021 while Matt and Emma walked through the middle of what appeared to be pieces of wood

His view parallels a 2021 report by Mark Duddridge of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, who said: “Simply adding more visitors to our existing pattern of peak-to-valley seasonality is not what we’re referring to want jobs, regular income, our environment or our experience of living in Cornwall.’

And it’s true that two million people visited the area during the Covid pandemic in 2021, sparking major concerns about Cornwall’s flooding with tourists.

Reacting to the news, Ethel Winslow wrote on Facebook: “I am absolutely delighted with House of the Dragons and it is exciting to see my beloved Cornwall, even as a substitute for a fictional location.

“But I understand your concerns about tourism. After Doc Martin came out, Port Isaac was overrun with fans wanting to see Mrs Tischell’s Pharmacy, the Doc’s house and the Crab Pub.’

While Nicola Power said: “Cornwall needs more work in the local areas. My daughter and grandchildren live there and when she moved in she couldn’t find a job for a long time. Unemployment in Cornwall is very high.”

Preparations: The crew were seen testing wooden rowing boats, which are believed to have been prepared for the shoot

Preparations: The crew were seen testing wooden rowing boats, which are believed to have been prepared for the shoot

Great Location: The Castle at St. Michaels Mount in Marazion Bay seems to be a key production location

Great Location: The Castle at St. Michaels Mount in Marazion Bay seems to be a key production location

Flying dragons and ships in the trailer for the upcoming series House Of The Dragon

Flying dragons and ships in the trailer for the upcoming series House Of The Dragon

Fascinating: The wreck of a ship was built by the crew on set Busy schedule: The crew was seen operating cranes to complete the set

Fascinating: The wreck of a ship was built by the crew on set

Location: The castle in Cornwall offers stunning views of the North Sea, with much of the filming reportedly taking place in the lower reaches of the mountain

Location: The castle in Cornwall offers stunning views of the North Sea, with much of the filming reportedly taking place in the lower reaches of the mountain

St. Michael's Mount, where production is said to have taken place, bears a resemblance to Queen Cersei's castle in the HBO series

St. Michael’s Mount, where production is said to have taken place, bears a resemblance to Queen Cersei’s castle in the HBO series

Other locals aren’t sad either that scenes from the Hollywood blockbuster series are recognized by fantasy fans.

“I saw the caravans and recognized several places,” said Malcolm Bell, Managing Director of Visit Cornwall: “Including Mounts Bay, St Michael’s Mount and Holywell Beach.”

Cornwall also has a long tradition with film and TV viewers with the old Poldark series filmed there in 1975, along with the new version and Doc Martin.

Kynance Cove and Holywell Bay were chosen as locations, as was the Dragon’s House.

“That was big in the 50+ age group,” says Bell. “But we hope that House of the Dragon will introduce us to a younger audience around the world.”

Meanwhile, Dave and Krys Humphrey, owners of The Meadow Holiday Park in Holywell Bay, Cornwall, said filming Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon last September was a nightmare for their business.

The couple, whose park is next to the National Trust site where the show is filmed, said guests had left this week because of the noise, which lasts from 5am to 10pm.

They say noise levels could be improved if generators were moved to the opposite side of the car park, but claimed they were told it wasn’t possible.

Other UK locations included Warner Bros Leavesden Studios in Watford and the village of Castleton in the Peak District and Mam Tor.

Jo Dilley, Marketing Director of the Peak District and Derbyshire, said: “We have over 500 square kilometers of open country to explore – plenty of places to escape the crowds.”

House Of The Dragon will air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW in the UK and HBO and HBO Max in the US from August 22nd.