Garden survey finds that visitors are looking for better value for money

Historic and botanic garden visitors are increasingly looking for value for money, according to annual market research report Visiting Gardens & Historic Houses 2010.

Of the visitors surveyed, 43 per cent said they would like to see better value for money. The survey revealed that visitor numbers and frequency of garden visits faltered in 2010. Spending on visits was comparable to 2009 levels, but frequent visitors have fallen in number.

Around 37 per cent of the UK population (19 million) made a visit to a garden, historic landscape or park in 2010 and 33 per cent visited historic houses, castles or palaces. The challenging economic climate may have contributed to this two-to-three per cent fall on 2009 levels.

Half of garden visitors will not usually travel more than 50 miles to visit a garden, which could influence marketing strategies for gardens.

Half of visitors wanted more seating. They also requested better labelling, signs and information.

Report author Malcolm Tenneson said: "What is clear from the results is that visitors are looking at value for money and readily say that their visit experience can be improved."

Eleven out of 20 visits were by women, with a third of visitors affluent (categorised as ABC1s).

A quarter find out about gardens to visit by searching online and 13 per cent said they go direct to a garden's website. Some 84 per cent visited gardens at historic houses and 65 per cent visited National Trust gardens.

The report covered types of sites visited, frequency of visits, spending on visits and reasons for visiting, based on a survey of 1,000 UK adults and an ad hoc survey of 1,640 garden visitors.

A recent ALVA report (HW, 11 March) found garden visitor numbers down in 2010, with Kew falling 12.19 per cent and RHS Wisley down 16.2 per cent.

The report costs £150 + VAT and is available from Tenneson Marketing. Email to order a copy.


In 2010, the frequency of visiting gardens was down compared with the previous year.

In 2009, 37 per cent of visitors made six or more visits. In 2010, 29 per cent did so.

Around 59 per cent said they only spent £20 or less on a visit to a garden (58 per cent in 2009), while 15 per cent (the same proportion as in 2009) spent more than £30 on a visit.

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