X Factor’s Gary Barlow prompts surge in visitor interest in Northants

The X Factor Judges Houses - with Gary Barlow and guest judge Cheryl Cole
The X Factor Judges Houses - with Gary Barlow and guest judge Cheryl Cole

Northamptonshire has experienced a huge surge in visitors thanks to ITV1’s hit series, The X Factor.

Travel website Hotels.com reported a 318 per cent increase in searches for the county compared with last year after Take That band member and programme judge Gary Barlow picked Boughton House, near Kettering, as the base for the latest stage of the competition in which the final singers are selected for the live shows on Saturday nights.

Hotels.com claimed the county far outstripped St Lucia, where Tulisa Contostavlos was based, Dubai, temporary home to Nicole Scherzinger and Las Vegas where Louis Walsh was.

Kate Hopcraft, from Hotels.com, said: “Surprisingly, it was Gary Barlow’s visit to the less-than-exotic destination of Northamptonshire that sparked the biggest tourism boom, with searches to the area increasing by a massive 318 per cent.”

The Take That singer, who elected to stay closer to home to be near his family after his wife suffered a miscarriage during the summer, mentored his group, the over-28s, with the help of Cheryl Cole.

Kate Hopcraft from Hotels.com said: “The Judges’ Houses episode remains a firm favourite with viewers. With such massive ratings and in the light of this year’s amazing destinations, it is little wonder that the X Factor has caused this tourism spike – though it’s interesting to see how the popularity of the judges varies.”