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Owner of real 'Saltburn' house inundated with visitors inspired by TikTok

This image released by Amazon Prime Video shows a scene from 'Saltburn.' (Amazon Prime Video via AP) This image released by Amazon Prime Video shows a scene from 'Saltburn.' (Amazon Prime Video via AP)
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A TikToker whose video showing where to find the real house featured in the hit movie “Saltburn” said she had “no idea” her footage would go viral.

Rhian Wiliams, a 47-year-old PR and marketing consultant in the United Kingdom, told CNN that TikTok’s algorithm “added rocket fuel” to her posts about Drayton House, the stately home that provides the palatial setting for much of the movie written and directed by Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell.

This weekend, the owner of the ancient building in Northamptonshire, central England gave an interview to British tabloid the Mail on Sunday, in which he said he had been forced to hire extra security as crowds of people have been turning up to take pictures and film themselves in front of it.

The influx of visitors appears to be the result of two TikTok videos that Williams made and posted at the start of this year.

One of the clips shows Williams posing outside the estate, under the caption “when you live near the Saltburn house.” The second gives specific instructions for those who would “like to visit the Saltburn house.” Williams goes on to narrate detailed instructions for how to reach Drayton House, showing maps, landmark features and even a good place to park. Together, the clips have garnered 5.6 million views.

She told CNN that she decided to post the content online to highlight the attractions of her local area. In an email, she wrote: “As a business owner in Northamptonshire, who also has a passion for movies, stately homes and gardens, I couldn’t help but go and visit early on New Year’s day when the country was nursing a hangover.

“It’s brilliant to see such a hidden corner of our beautiful Northamptonshire in such a major film like Saltburn. Our county is so beautiful but often gets overlooked in favor of the countryside in places like the Cotswolds or Cornwall but it is very beautiful. I’m a huge advocate of Northamptonshire as a county to live, work and visit.”

This image released by Amazon Prime Video shows a scene from 'Saltburn.' (Amazon Prime Video via AP)

Williams, who has fewer than 3,000 people following her account under the name “Better Be Known,” said: “I had no idea that the two videos I made would be viewed 5.6 million times and it all happened really quickly. I haven’t got many followers on TikTok so didn’t think it would go viral—but because the way the TikTok algorithm works, when hundreds of people started sharing and commenting on my video, it added rocket fuel to my posts.”

The movie stars Irish actor Barry Keoghan as a student invited to spend a summer at a rich classmate’s estate, Saltburn. In an interview with CNN, Fennell said that in many ways the movie is a take on “classic British country house gothic,” inspired by the likes of “Brideshead Revisited” and “The Go-Between.”

There is little factual information about the property in the public domain but according to national heritage body Historic England it dates back to the late 13th century.

Charles Stopford Sackville, owner of Drayton House, told the Mail on Sunday that he had underestimated the amount of interest the movie had generated in his property.

“I never envisaged the amount of interest there would be. It’s quite weird,’ he said. ‘I don’t take it as flattering.”

He told the newspaper that hundreds of people turn up there each week to pose for videos and film themselves dancing outside, in tribute to a scene in which Keoghan dances naked around the mansion. The property is not open to the public, so visitors cannot enter.

Most are respectful, but the behavior of some has prompted him to lay on extra security, he said, adding that more than 50 people had strayed off the public path.

Williams told CNN that she did not promote or condone this kind of behavior. She said: “Whatever the circumstances, visitors should stick to the public footpath—nor drop litter—and be good ‘Countryside Citizens’. There is absolutely no reason for people to stray from the public footpath.”

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