Buckingham Palace ‘most desirable’ UK destination for tourists

Buckingham Palace is the prime attraction for tourists visiting the UK, The Telegraph has reported, citing separate research.

According to the research by Visit Britain, a trip to Buckingham Palace is a ‘dream’ activity for people in 15 out of 19 countries surveyed, including Australians, Americans, Chinese, Italians and Mexicans.

Earlier in 2013, and for the second consecutive year, Buckingham Palace also won an industry award for being the best attraction for group visits. The state rooms at the Palace are open to the public every August and September.

With new activities rising in popularity, viewing London from the Shard or the London Eye was voted the second most popular pastime. And, the poll revealed that more tourists preferred to go to Newcastle’s bars or to Oxford Street’s shops or to a Premier League football match than to take a trip to London’s West End for a musical evening. Watching a musical in London’s West End was voted last in a list of 18 ‘only in Britain’ activities.

Swedish visitors were the only ones to vote the West End among their top three experiences, and even American tourists preferred taking the mountain train up Snowdon, or spending a night in Newcastle’s bars instead of watching a West End musical.

The French prefer to spot wildlife in the Scottish Highlands, while Turks’ prefer a leisurely steam cruise in the Lake District. The Indians, Chinese and Argentineans have all ranked buying food from a fish and chip shop as the least attractive thing to do in Britain.

Football was the second most popular choice among men, though least popular for women, who preferred to go shopping.

Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain chief executive, said in the Telegraph: ‘Britain is a tourism destination that offers experiences for every taste. Where else in the world can you watch a top-flight Premier League game in the same afternoon as a tour around a quaint Cotswold village?

‘Our mixture of new culture and old heritage combines seamlessly to offer a unique experience which is envied across the world and currently enjoyed in record numbers.’

According to official data released two months ago, Britain has been enjoying a record year for tourism, with overseas visitors set to spend a record £20 billion this year. Foreign tourists made 22 million visits to the UK in the first eight months of the year, up 6 percent on 2012 despite the Olympic Games. The number of Europeans visiting the UK was up 17 percent on the same eight months a year ago, the report said.