Hockney magic gets boost from wizard in tourist drive

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He is best known for his role in Harry Potter but now actor Rupert Grint is trying to bring some magic to a campaign encouraging people to take a holiday in the UK.

Grint was recently filmed on Yorkshire’s East Coast for his part in a campaign to promote “staycations” in what is expected to be a bumper year for domestic tourism.

The actor, who played Ron Weasley, one of Harry Potter’s best friends at Hogwarts, shot the advert at a popular surfing spot at Fraisthorpe, near Bridlington, which can be seen on March 8.

Grint, who stayed overnight at the Crown Spa Hotel in Scarborough, is one of four actors who front the campaign, along with Stephen Fry, Julie Walters and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery.

Bridlington has shot into national prominence as the home of David Hockney, whose hugely successful exhibition, A Bigger Picture, showing landscapes painted in East Yorkshire, is expected to draw many new visitors this year.

The artist has dropped his reservations about the resort being included on a new Hockney trail, which he is working on with Welcome to Yorkshire and which includes Woldgate Woods, Garrowby Hill, Sledmere and Thixendale.

Andrew Denton, from Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Bridlington is one of the most talked about destinations in the UK right now thanks to the Hockney exhibition.

“The advert starring Rupert will add to the already significant interest in the town but it will also boost interest in the Yorkshire coast as a whole.”

Mayor Cyril Marsburg said: “We are getting exposure through Hockney all the time and we are already receiving visitors who want to see where he did his paintings.

“I think we are going to have a very good year. All my relatives and friends down south are talking about it.”

According to research for VisitEngland last year 70 per cent of people took a holiday at home - and around the same number are planning to do so again in what will be a historic year, with the London 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Tourism Minister Jeremy Hunt said: “This will be an incredibly exciting year, and the UK will be the very best place in the whole world to holiday.”

The campaign, led by VisitEngland, will also showcases Blackpool, Skegness, Merseyside and Birmingham.

It will also feature a website offering thousands of special deals.

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive said: “I am honoured that four national treasures such as Stephen, Julie, Michelle and Rupert are helping us to inspire UK residents to take a break at home in this momentous year! “Their involvement is key in creating the highest profile campaign this country has seen in terms of boosting domestic tourism.”