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Cottagecore: The must-follow subculture for heritage attractions

Imagine a time when civilisation was simple – no technology, cornfields stretching as far as the eye can see, artisanal produce in abundance locally. This is the foundations of Cottagecore – a 2018 fashion trend that quickly became a lifestyle choice supercharged by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’ve taken time out to unpick this accelerating European subculture and put it into context as to what it means for heritage attractions, in particular, in 2022 and beyond.

Cottagecore origins

The founding of this movement started on blogging site Tumblr, where distressed teenagers and millennials, were seeking an alternative lifestyle to the “hustle culture” and advent of personal branding that has become endemic across social media platforms. Across the world:

  • 1-in-3 teenagers have anxiety disorder (Healthy Children)
  • Teenagers spend on average 8 hours per day looking at screens (New Folks)
  • 10% of teens meet the recommended sleep and exercise guidelines (The Guardian)

The trend develops

As NYMag describes Cottagecore as, “the back-to-the land aesthetic that peddles in picnics, frilly dresses and crafting.” Self-sufficiency, home baking and purchasing second-hand vintage furniture was swallowed into the trend too.

The trend was accelerated further when we all spent more time at home living a simpler life during the toughest lockdown periods of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a chance for people around the world to review their previous lifestyle and ask themselves, “why isn’t this way of living working for me?”

Since then, the trend has become a subculture influencing more than just its original Tumblr readers.

  • 52% of teens have identified cottagecore as the top lifestyle trend (NYMag)
  • Cottagecore becomes the most Googled home decor trend in 2022 (Sharetobuy)
  • 541% increase in ‘likes’ for Cottagecore content on social media (Fashinza)

For heritage & outdoor attractions

Castles, houses, halls, museums and nature-based attractions should all be taking note of Cottagecore, due to the similarity between your offer and the subculture’s origins. Not to mention the chance to engage a younger audience who typically wouldn’t visit. Consider:

Narrative-driven attractions

What was it like to live in times before guests were born? Guide guests through the lives of those who enjoyed your destination, before it became an attraction. The millions of millennials who have watched Bridgerton on Netflix is further proof of their interest in these stories.

Pop-up events

Why not become your local destination for Cottagecore followers? Seasonal events such as vintage fairs and other co-created events can help drive awareness and engagement of your attraction, gaining repeat visits and entertaining new audiences.

Nature-based experiences

How can you better incorporate the wildlife and nature around your heritage attraction? Whether you offer a foraging course, forestry exxperience, or you simply highlight the best places to have picnics within your attraction boundary, these will help to bring the origins of Cottagecore to the fore.


For all other attractions

There are some fundamental parts of Cottagecore that large theme parks, to small pop-up experiences, need to be made aware of – and it goes right back to the origins of the trend.

  • Technology – Guests want less screen time, despite being addicted to their mobile phones. What can you do to cut out unnecessary technology, or, remove the need for guests to be glued to their mobile phones while visiting your attraction?
  • Sustainability – Conscious of the environment and impact on wildlife, take action to increase your sustainability credentials throughout the attraction – and remember to tell you guests what you’re doing too.
  • Self-creation – Homemade food, arts and crafts are continuing to rise as trends. Give guests the chance to be ‘active’ within your attraction to make something from their imagination.

How Katapult can help

Here at Katapult, we believe in insights driven design – creating themed attractions and experiences that are underpinned by the desires of guests, shown through trends and consumer insights data.

To better understand and tailor your visitor attraction to your key consumers and markets, get in touch with us today to see how we can help inform, design and create an even better visitor attraction for you.

Robbie
Jones

Insights Analyst Lead at Katapult. He works on providing data-driven audience and market trends, as well as operational insights, to assist the client and design team in creating immersive, commercially-successful experiences. Robbie has over 10 years' experience in the leisure and tourism industry and has worked with iconic brands, theme parks, family entertainment centres, museums and visitor attractions around the world.