English gardens see 8% rise in visitor numbers in latest VisitEngland figures

Gardens and zoos saw the most significant growth in visitors to attractions last year, according to VisitEngland's Annual Attractions Survey published today.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - third most popular paid attraction in England. Image: HW
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - third most popular paid attraction in England. Image: HW

The survey, based on data sent by 1,545 English attractions, found that gardens and zoos both saw the biggest increase in visitors in 2016, at 8%. Historic houses and castles reported a 7% increase in visitor numbers, and country parks a 4% increase.

In line with VisitEngland’s Great Britain Tourism Survey results, coastal and rural attractions experienced strong growth of 4% and 5% respectively.

VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe said: "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."

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew remained the third most visited paid for attraction in England in 2016 with 1.8 million visitors, up from 1,622,821 in 2015, following The Tower of London with 2.7 million visitors, and Chester Zoo with nearly 1.9 million visitors.

RHS Garden Wisley came in at number 11 on the paid-for list, with 1.1 million visitors, one rank up from 2015 when it attracted 1.08 million.

The Eden Project was at number 15 with just over a million visitors – the first year it topped the million mark since 2011 - and up from 960,029 people in 2015.

Hampton Court Palace moved up to number 20 on the paid-for list with 903,270 visitors.

Visits to England’s attractions rose by 2% in 2016, with attractions reporting revenues up by 7%.

VisitEngland latest figures show that for the first four months of the year (2017) Brits took a record 11.4 million holiday trips in England.

The tourism economy is worth £106 billion annually to England.

The VisitEngland Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions is a voluntary self-completion survey carried out on behalf of VisitEngland by BDRC-Continental. Visitor attractions have the option of taking part anonymously, so that not all are named in the report or included in ranked lists.

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