Netflix film helps attract visitors to Sutton Hoo in post-lockdown boost

Replica of the king's helmet

Sutton Hoo is attracting more visitors after lockdown thanks to the popularity of The Dig - Credit: Phil Morley

Hundreds of people have been visiting Sutton Hoo daily after the release of Netflix film The Dig sparked a nationwide interest in the Anglo-Saxon burial site.

Released in January, The Dig retells the story of archaeologist Basil Brown's discovery of a 27-metre long 7th century ship near Woodbridge.

Laura Howarth, archaeology and engagement manager at the National Trust-run Sutton Hoo site, revealed the BAFTA-nominated film has helped tickets to the attraction sell out almost every day since it reopened in April.

Sutton Hoo underwent a £4million transformation in 2019 as the National Trust aimed at improving the visitor experience - including an overhaul of the exhibition hall showcasing the legendary tale.

The National Trust typically welcomes tens of thousands of people to the site every year, but visitor numbers have been restricted so far this year due to Covid measures.

Netflix film The Dig with Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes is centred around the burial mounds at Sutton Hoo

Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan starred in the film - Credit: Larry Horricks/Netflix


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Miss Howarth said tickets to Sutton Hoo for the week go on sale every Friday and are quickly snapped up by tourists from across the country.

She also revealed the release of the film has helped reignite interest in the burial ground from Suffolk residents.

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Miss Howarth said: "The film was released in January, and we started to see a lot of interest in Sutton Hoo online. We are now seeing a lot of people visiting having seen the film - it's definitely been a driver.

"We are a bit of a destination site, a place on your bucket list that you want to tick off.

"It's been quite nice to see local people returning having not been here for a few years. People are really taking an interest in what happened on their doorstep.

"It's been great to welcome people to the site and seeing them leave inspired."

Miss Howarth revealed The Dig's stars, such as Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, paid a visit to the real Sutton Hoo while filming elsewhere in Suffolk.

She also praised the how true the film was to the original tale.

Miss Howarth added: "A couple of us were lucky to go on the film site. It was amazing to stand in the fossil of the ship - it was a pinch-me moment.

"Some of the cast also visited Sutton Hoo itself.

"The writers really did their research, with a bit of creative licence."

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