An increase in the number of domestic holidays in the UK – so called ‘staycations’ – is the likely reason behind a rise in visits to England’s gardens, leisure and theme parks.
That is the claim made by VisitEngland’s in its Annual Attractions Survey, published today.
Out of the 1,500 English attractions surveyed, outdoor attractions performed particularly well in 2015. Gardens, farms and leisure/theme parks reported the biggest increase in visitors, each up 7%, with wildlife attractions and country parks also seeing visitor numbers grow by 4%.
Visits to rural and coastal attractions grew by 5% and 4% respectively, echoing VisitEngland research that shows an increase in domestic holidays to the seaside (up 7%) and countryside (up 12%) in 2015.
Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch said the findings were good news for the domestic tourism industry in the UK.
“Year after year, our world-class tourist attractions continue to draw millions of visitors not just into London, but to the country as a whole,” she said.
“It is fantastic to see such strong growth across the regions, particularly in rural and coastal communities.
“Tourism contributes around £60 billion to our economy every year and these results show that the benefits of this thriving industry are being spread more evenly around the country.”
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe added: “The attractions sector is an integral part of our national tourism offer and plays a crucial role in driving economic growth across all of England’s regions.
“It’s great to see that more people explored the country’s stunning gardens and scenery in 2015, and we will be further highlighting gardens to visitors this year as we celebrate 2016 as the ‘Year of the English Garden’.”
The Tower of London remained the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction with 2.8 million visits followed by Westminster Abbey and Kew Gardens which saw 1.6 million visitors each.
Topping the list of free attractions for the eighth year was the British Museum with more than 6.8 million visitors followed by the National Gallery (6 million visitors) and the Natural History Museum (5.3 million visitors).