Dominic Cummings says he left Durham self-isolation to drive to Barnard Castle ...
BBC News

The Dominic Cummings scandal from May 2020 which saw Boris Johnson's former adviser travel to Barnard Castle during the first lockdown has reportedly done the tourist site a huge favour as it has just had its “best year” ever for tourism.

Despite nearly ruining the career of political advisor Cummings and those, including Boris Johnson, who questionably backed him, English Heritage reports that 2021 saw a 20 per cent increase in tourist numbers compared with pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

In 2021, 30,721 people visited the 12th Century fortress in County Durham thanks to the Cummings effect.

The castle first made headlines in 2020 as the prime minister’s adviser at the time, Cummings, was forced to admit he travelled to the tourist destination during the first lockdown when travel was heavily restricted.

Cummings claimed he did it to test his eyesight as he had experienced vision loss due to suffering from Covid.

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At the time, Cummings suggested he has acted “reasonably” when he made the decision to travel 260 miles to the market town of Barnard Castle, but he later left his role in government.

It’s not the only English Heritage site to have benefitted from our recent societal shift that has seen many remain in the UK and go no “staycations”.

Boscobel House in Shropshire, for example, saw 82 per cent more visitors last year than in 2019.

English Heritage’s chief executive, Kate Mavor, said: “In the past, those lesser-known, more intimate local sites in our care have often been overlooked in favour of our more iconic ones, despite having just as rich and important a history.

“This has been a long and hard pandemic but one silver lining appears to be that with people staying closer to home, they have discovered historic places nearby.”

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