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“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”
If you’ve been a recent visitor to Devon or Cornwall you might have heard this phrase uttered rather more than expected. Recent figures released by VistBritain indicate that the number of German visitors heading to the South of England has risen by 14% over the past year, with Germans now making up more around 40 per cent of the region’s overseas visitors. What has caused this sudden surge in German visitors? Would you be surprised to hear that it’s all the work of an 88 year-old author?
Since the 1980s the stories of Rosamund Pilcher, an author native to the South of England, have been adapted for German television, and they have proven to be rather popular. Although the primetime television movies star German actors and are shot by German crews, they are shot in the beautiful landscapes of Devon and Cornwall, enticing our European neighbours to come and explore the area for themselves. Some have even called the adaptations the Downton Abbey of Germany, often drawing over seven million viewers on a Sunday night. Not bad for a series of books that began their life in 1949!
So where should you visit to get a taste of Pilcher Mania?
The Day of the Storm, or Stürmische Begegnung as it’s known in German, was the first of the Pilcher novels to be adapted for German TV and it was shot in one of Britain’s most atmospheric areas, Land’s End and Penzance. A visit to the most westerly point in England is filled with sweeping coastal vistas of dramatic cliffs and glistening sea, as well as the glowing fields of rapeseed beautifully described in the story.
Don’t get caught unawares while visiting St. Michael’s Mount, the dramatic cliff top castle that features in both Coming Home and Shell Seekers. If you aren’t careful you might not be able to get there, or back, should you fail to time the tides right. Though you can take a boat ride the 366 yards from the shores of Marazion, Cornwall, half the fun is making the trek along the briefly traversable man-made causeway on the bottom of the sea.
If you’re looking for a bit of Olde English elegance don’t miss Prideaux Place, which features in both Winds Across the Sea and End of Summer, amongst others – many others as a matter of fact as this stately home has featured in no less than eight of the Pilcher movies. Take a guided tour of the house, indulge in a spot of afternoon tea, or just spend the afternoon enjoying the extensive gardens and grounds.