Ed Sheeran's Framlingham 'Castle on the Hill' visitor boost
The castle which inspired one of Ed Sheeran's big hits of 2017 has seen a boost in visitor numbers as a result.
The singer's Castle on the Hill features lyrical references to Framlingham Castle in the Suffolk town where he grew up.
English Heritage, which owns it, says visitor numbers in 2017 were about 100,000 - up 15% on the previous year.
Kirstie Horne, castle site manager, said: "We've definitely seen an uplift in people under the age of 40."
Sheeran released his single in January 2017 and it immediately went in at number two on the UK Singles Chart, and was only kept off the top spot by another Sheeran song - Shape of You.
It spent 53 weeks in the Top 100.
The video, which features Framlingham Castle in the final scene, has registered more than 310,700,000 views YouTube at the time of writing.
Framlingham Castle - a brief history
- Built in the 12th Century by the Bigod family - whose head was the Earl of Norfolk
- Roger Bigod was one of the barons who challenged King John, resulting in the Magna Carta in 1215
- King John laid siege to Framlingham Castle in 1216, but it was later restored to the Bigods
- Passed to the Howard family in 1483, and Mary Tudor in 1552
- Castle buildings were demolished in the mid-17th Century and a workhouse was built inside
- The Ministry of Works (forerunner of English Heritage) took over guardianship of the castle in 1913
Upon its release, Sheeran described the song as his "love song for Suffolk".
"I've shot the music video in Suffolk and the cast of it are people from my high school [Thomas Mills in Framlingham]," said Sheeran.
"The main guy, who looks just like me, is weirdly from my sixth form."
Last year English Heritage spent £1.2m on visitor facilities, including building the castle's first cafe.
Ms Horne said: "It's been a fantastic year for us and Ed writing the song was one of the key factors.
"We've got cardboard cut-outs of Ed dotted around the castle walls, so people have their photos with 'Ed'."