Gardens, zoos among favourites for visitors in England

Gardens and zoos registered the highest growth in visitors to attractions last year, according to a recent survey published by VisitEngland.

The Annual Attractions Survey found that historic houses and castles reported a seven percent increase in visitor numbers, and country parks a four percent increase. Outdoor attractions performed particularly well, with gardens and zoos showing growth of eight percent.

The survey was conducted by BDRC-Continental and gathered information from more than 1,500 English visitor attractions. Similar to VisitEngland’s Great Britain Tourism Survey results, coastal and rural attractions experienced strong growth of four percent and five percent respectively.

Tourism Minister John Glen said: ‘We have an amazing range of world-class attractions in England that draw in millions of visitors every year. Whether it is our unique historic buildings, internationally important museums or stunning gardens, there is a huge amount to see and do.

‘Ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from our tourism industry is a key government priority so it is fantastic to see such growth across the regions.’

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe added, ‘There are so many outstanding attractions offering year-round experiences throughout the country and it’s great to see Brits enjoyed 2016’s ‘Year of the English Garden’. Attractions are a much loved and valuable part of the tourism landscape, adding colour and variety to the visitor experience and encouraging people to get out and explore, driving the value of tourism across the regions.’

The British Museum was the most visited free attraction in England in 2016, for the ninth consecutive year, with nearly 6.5 million visitors. This was followed by the National Gallery which had more than 6.2 million visitors. Among the paid for locations, the Tower of London topped the list for the eight consecutive year, with 2.7 million visitors, and Chester Zoo registered its highest ever ranking – second place, with nearly 1.9 million visitors.

According to the latest VisitEngland figures, for the first four months of 2017, Brits took a record 11.4 million holiday trips in England.