The Tower of London has topped the list of the most visited “paid for” tourism attractions in England for the ninth year running, Visit England has announced.
The tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, had 2.8 million visitors in 2017, with Chester Zoo in northern England in second place with 1.9 million visitors.
The British Museum in London was the most visited “free” attraction in England in 2017 for the 10th consecutive year with nearly 6 million visitors, and the Tate Modern, also in London, came a close second with more than 5.5 million visitors.
VisitEngland’s Annual Attractions Survey shows historic properties experienced significant growth in visitor numbers in 2017.
Of the 1,400 attractions across England surveyed the research found that historic properties such as mills, monuments, boats and burial grounds saw the largest increase in visitor numbers, up 8 percent on 2016.
Visits to farm attractions also experienced strong growth in 2017, up 5 percent on the previous year. Historic houses and palaces along with visitor and heritage centres and places of worship all saw increases of 4 percent in 2017.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Michael Ellis said: “Our world-class attractions have once more proven to be a huge draw for both UK and overseas visitors. Whether it be our unique historic places like Stonehenge, museums like Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, or cultural hubs like NewcastleGateshead – home to the Great Exhibition of the North this summer – we have attractions that are the envy of the world.”
VisitEngland CEO Sally Balcombe said: “Visitor attractions are an important part of our tourism landscape, driving visitors to discover more of England. It is great to see people are getting out and exploring the huge variety of attractions and places of interest on offer across the country, boosting tourism and distributing the benefits across local economies.”
In paid-for attractions the other 3 in the top 5 were Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, Windermere Lake Cruises at Bowness and Stonehenge.
In the free attractions, also in the top 5 were the National Gallery in London, Brighton Pier and the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.
Overall, visits to England’s attractions rose by 2 percent in 2017. Visitor attractions overall reported increased spending of 7 percent on 2016. VisitEngland said tourism is worth nearly 140 billion US dollars annually to England.