Garden visitor numbers increase

Garden attractions have defied economic recession, rain and soaring petrol prices to grow their visitor numbers this summer.

The strong euro is keeping Brits in the UK and attracting foreign visitors to gardens such as Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and National Trust properties. The trust has seen rises of more than 10 per cent, while Kew is up 15 per cent in the past four months.

Kew's new Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway attraction brought in 100,000 in its first month of opening.

A National Trust representative said: "Our properties are offering increased numbers of events such as guided walks and nature trails - and produce from kitchen gardens and other plants are often on sale."

RHS shows are all up from 2007, according to shows director Bob Sweet, who presided over the 15,000-visitor sell-out at London's Inner Temple last weekend. He said more attractions and less foreign travel have helped to pull in visitors.

NATIONAL TRUST VISITOR FIGURES

2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08

Hidcote, Gloucestershire 129,887 125,029 111,779 151,222
Trengwainton, Cornwall 47,996 46,511 51,462 53,403
Cliveden, Buckinghamshire 165,233 173,550 173,014 197,648
Stowe, Buckinghamshire 103,384 109,767 110,718 120,150
Wakehurst, Sussex 420,831 423,819 439,260 477,173
Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire 58,668 62,579 59,114 61,396
Gibside, Newcastle on Tyne 89,417 104,220 108,107 114,161
Colby Woodland Garden,Wales 23,127 26,692 29,538 31,199
Rowallane, County Down, Northern Ireland 29,196 37,216 32,859 37,169


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