Join
Join

Jobs matter

Historic houses and gardens employ more people now than at any time in history. They're vital drivers of their local economies.

Bamburgh Castle, staff

Today, washed-out laundry maids and overlooked under-butlers are, thankfully, a thing of the past; life for the two million or so Britons in domestic service in the early twentieth century was often not a pleasant one. 

But that doesn’t mean our great historic houses don’t still employ armies of people; in fact they provide work for more people than during the heyday of Edwardian service culture with which programmes like Downton Abbey have made us familiar. 

The contrast in what people do in historic houses now is as startling as the numbers employed. At Alnwick, broomstick flying trainers and costumed medieval tour guides have replaced footmen and valets. Holkham Hall employed fifty staff to look after the Earl of Leicester’s household in the Edwardian period; today the house and in-hand estate has a workforce of 260 (plus more than fifty seasonal workers taken on each summer), of which only three work in private service for the family. The rest have titles like ‘Learning and Engagement Gardener,’ ‘Café Manager,’ ‘Wedding & Events Planner,’ ‘Senior Sales Advisor,’ and Management Accountant.’ At Blenheim the ninety servants employed – indoors and out – at the time Winston Churchill was born there, in the 1870s, have been replaced by a team of 403 (404 if you include Betty the robot guide). Special events support a further 1,500 jobs in the surrounding area. 

Between them, Historic Houses member properties generate over 34,000 full-time equivalent jobs and directly spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds a year on other goods and services – around half of which goes on suppliers from their local communities. The bulk of this shift is recent. Just 25 years ago, 75% of Holkham’s income came from land; today 55% comes from leisure and tourism. It’s a typical picture across our member places, all of which are constantly adapting.

Tourism is the UK’s fifth biggest industry in terms of GDP contribution, and is the fastest growing sector in the UK in employment terms. Heritage is the product that makes our tourism industry so successful, and historic houses lead the way in attracting millions of visitors to rural Britain.

81% of inbound tourists state that visiting historic houses and castles are the reason that they come to the UK, and 63% of domestic travellers cited being able to visit a historic building or monument as their ‘sole reason’ or a ‘very important reason’ for their holiday.

Historic Houses places are the bedrock of this booming tourism industry. Between them, the historic houses, castles and gardens we represent attract over 26 million visits each year, which generates around £1 billion in visitor spend.

All of this tourism activity at Historic Houses places generates tens of thousands of jobs across rural Britain, as well as supporting thousands of local businesses in the supply chain, and creating a strong sense of place in local communities.

We recognise that heritage could contribute even more to UK GDP if given the right conditions, and work closely with networks such as The Tourism Alliance to improve the business conditions for heritage tourism – such as addressing rural transport and digital infrastructure barriers.

Between them historic houses generate

34,000

full-time-equivalent jobs

26,000

visits, many by overseas tourists

£1 billion

spend in the local economy

Between them, Historic Houses member properties generate over 34,000 full-time equivalent jobs and directly spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds a year on other goods and services – around half of which goes on suppliers from their local communities. The bulk of this shift is recent. Just 25 years ago, 75% of Holkham’s income came from land; today 55% comes from leisure and tourism. It’s a typical picture across our member places, all of which are constantly adapting.

Tourism is the UK’s fifth biggest industry in terms of GDP contribution, and is the fastest growing sector in the UK in employment terms. Heritage is the product that makes our tourism industry so successful, and historic houses lead the way in attracting millions of visitors to rural Britain.

81% of inbound tourists state that visiting historic houses and castles are the reason that they come to the UK, and 63% of domestic travellers cited being able to visit a historic building or monument as their ‘sole reason’ or a ‘very important reason’ for their holiday.

Historic Houses places are the bedrock of this booming tourism industry. Between them, the historic houses, castles and gardens we represent attract over 26 million visits each year, which generates around £1 billion in visitor spend.

All of this tourism activity at Historic Houses places generates tens of thousands of jobs across rural Britain, as well as supporting thousands of local businesses in the supply chain, and creating a strong sense of place in local communities.

We recognise that heritage could contribute even more to UK GDP if given the right conditions, and work closely with networks such as The Tourism Alliance to improve the business conditions for heritage tourism – such as addressing rural transport and digital infrastructure barriers.

Blenheim Palace UNESCO World Heritage Site Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace Shortlisted For Top Tourism Award

The Oxford UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of three finalists in the International Tourism Award, which will be livestreamed via YouTube on 17th August.

Longleat UKs First Drive-in Night Glow Event

Longleat Hosts UK’s First Drive-In Night Glow

Longleat hosted the UK’s first ever drive-in night glow event this weekend with more than 30 hot air balloons lit up against the stunning backdrop of its Elizabethan stately home.

Lilly James and the Countess of Sandwich filming Rebecca for Netflix in 2020

Mapperton stars in new Netflix film

Mapperton House and Gardens has another starring role in a new film version of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Gothic novel “Rebecca” released on Netflix today (Wednesday 21 October).

Danny Mawson Veteran

High Ground: helping veterans gain employment

Thanks to funding from The Royal Foundation, Tim Lever is joining Team HighGround in January 2021 as its first Rural Employment Manager. The Charity helps service leavers and veterans find jobs, careers and vocational occupation in the land-based sector.

Kiplin Hall's Alice Rose is the Project Officer for the Annie Marchant Collection in 2020

Kiplin Hall welcomes new team member

Following the recent acquisition of a new collection Kiplin Hall and Gardens welcomes a new member of staff to the team. Alice Rose, Project Officer, will work on the Annie Marchant Kitchen and Dairy Collection Project.

Syon Park greenhouse

New Garden Centre at Syon Park

Hillier Garden Centres and the Syon Park Estate have announced the Spring 2021 opening of Hillier Syon Park. Hillier will work with the Estate to transform the garden centre with both businesses investing significantly to improve the site.