The annual attractions survey, published today by VisitEngland, has revealed that gardens saw the highest percentage growth in visitor numbers during 2019.
Visits to gardens across England increased by ten percent in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Farms and places of worship also saw strong growth in visitor numbers, up to eight and seven percent, respectively.
historic houses/castles and wildlife attractions/zoos saw good growth in visits, both up by five percent.
Overall England’s visitor attractions saw a rise of three percent in visitors in 2019, the highest year-on-year increase since 2014, and four percent growth in revenue compared to the previous year.
These trends are likely to have gone into sharp reverse this year, however, as the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic.
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.”
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 six million.
The Tower of London remained the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction in 2019 with almost three million visits followed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which saw a 25 percent increase in visitors to 2.3 million, and Chester Zoo with 2.1 million.
The survey, which gathered information from 1,308 English attractions, also showed increases in international visitors overall in 2019, up to two percent, and more local day trips to attractions than in the previous year, also up two percent