Annual Attractions Survey shows that gardens attract highest growth in visits

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

VisitEngland’s Annual Attractions Survey shows that gardens saw the highest percentage growth in visitor numbers last year.

Visits to England’s gardens increased by 10% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Farms and Places of Worship also saw strong growth in visitor numbers, up 8% and 7% respectively. And Historic Houses/Castles and Wildlife Attractions/Zoos saw good growth in visits, both up by 5%.

Overall England’s visitor attractions saw a rise of 3% in visitors, the highest year-on-year increase since 2014, and 4% growth in revenue compared to the previous year.

Most visited paid attractions 2019

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:

“From world-renowned museums, galleries, castles and historic houses to rural, wildlife and outdoor experiences, England’s outstanding range of visitor attractions are a crucial and valuable part of our tourism offer, boosting local economies right across the country.

“England’s attractions continued to provide a rich and varied canvas to capture the imagination of domestic and international visitors and our stunning gardens were a proven tourism draw, admired at home and across the world for their beauty and variety.

“Millions of jobs and local economies rely on tourism and this annual survey is also a timely opportunity to highlight the dedication of visitor attractions across the country who have been working so hard to welcome visitors back safely, adapting and innovating to meet new ways of working and still providing a great experience.”

Most visited free attractions 2019

Topping the list of free attractions was the British Museum with 6.2 million visitors followed by the Tate Modern with nearly 6.1 million and the National Gallery with 6 million.

The Tower of London remained the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction in 2019 with almost 3 million visits followed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which saw a 25% increase in visitors to 2.3 million and Chester Zoo with 2.1 million. 

Visitor admissions grew in most types of attractions in 2019 with many of England’s regions seeing an increase. Attractions in the East Midlands and East of England saw the highest percentage growth, with increases of 7% and 6% respectively.

The survey, which gathered information from 1308 English attractions, also showed increases in international visitors overall in 2019, up 2%, and more local day trips to attractions than in the previous year, also up 2%.

Almost 2500 visitor attractions in England have applied for VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and consumer mark to date, supporting visitors to book a break with confidence, reassuring travellers that tourism businesses are following official guidelines to welcome them back safely. In total, more than 22,000 businesses across England have signed up to ‘We’re Good To Go’ since its launch, giving customers, staff and local residents confidence and reassurance that the correct procedures are in place.

To see the results of the VisitEngland Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions in 2019 including regional data for attractions click here.


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