Autumn brings welcome visitor upturn to historic and botanic gardens

Historic and botanic gardens saw an up-turn in visitor numbers during the autumn and many are now hoping for visitors over Christmas.

Association of Leading Visitor Attractions said recently that the rain and Olympics had led to a 21.3 per cent fall in visitors in London. However, the year overall has been positive for many gardens. A number are aiming for a successful end to the year by attracting visitors with Christmas events or opening for extra days.

Trentham head of garden and estate Michael Walker said the garden has had a record year thanks to record sales of annual tickets. The sales helped to support an events programme that has been close to sold out.

An RHS Garden Wisley representative said: "Despite recent challenges we are still pleased with visitor numbers, with 2012 set to be our third-best year ever. RHS Garden Wisley has had 837,000 visitors so far this year. It has proved to be a more resilient visitor attraction than others in the London area with a decline of five per cent compared to last year."

Hever Castle head gardener Neil Miller said autumn "picked up and we're pretty confident. We started to worry over the summer but once the sun came out people started coming."

However, garden attractions in the South West were hit by recent heavy rainfall and flooding, forcing temporary closures.

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