VisitEngland has released its annual visitor figures for 2022 which show the most popular paid-for and free attractions across the country.

Tower of London

Source: Visit Britain, George Johnson

The Tower of London was England’s most visited paid-for attraction with more than two million people passing through its historic entrance. 

London dominated the most-visited free attractions list for 2022 again, with eight out of the top ten located in England’s capital. Out of those eight attractions, six were either a museum or gallery. 

Overall, visits to museums and galleries in England grew by an impressive 114% last year, as well as trips to places of worship which were up by 117%. Visits to workplaces (described as an operating industrial or craft attraction), gardens and farms all increased throughout 2022.

RHS Garden Wisley

Source: RHS Joanna Kossak

RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey was another popular spot in England last year.

The most visited free attraction in 2022 was the Natural History Museum in London with more than 4.6m visitors, while the most visited paid-for attraction was the Tower of London on more than 2m tourists. 

Brighton Pier and the British Museum took second and third spot respectively in the free attractions list, although gardens proved a popular choice in the paid-for attractions table, with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew taking second spot, and RHS Garden Wisley taking third spot. 

Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier was one of England’s most-visited free attractions ion 2022.

Both ZSL London Zoo (seventh) and Colchester Zoo (tenth) featured in the top ten list of paid-for attractions, with numbers across the wildlife attractions category up by 20% in total. 

On average, visits to attractions across England were up by 42% on the previous year, which includes a 24% increase on domestic visits to attractions.

The top ten most-visited attractions in England for 2022

RankName of FREE attraction2022 visitorsName of PAID-FOR attraction2022 visitors
1 Natural History Museum  4,654,608 Tower of London 2,019,868
2 Brighton Pier  4,632,108 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1,963,885
3 British Museum  4,097,253 RHS Garden Wisley 1,494,709
4 Tate Modern  3,883,160 Windermere Lake Cruises 1,303,609
5 National Gallery  2,727,119 St Paul’s Cathedral 1,193,888
6 Victoria & Albert Museum  2,370,261 Westminster Abbey 1,063,063
7 Somerset House  2,346,580 ZSL London Zoo 1,045,289
8 Science Museum  2,334,930 Adventure Island Southend 990,000
9 Abbey Gardens (Bury St Edmunds)  1,362,874 Stonehenge 977,316
10 British Library  1,149,070 Colchester Zoo 974,790

VisitEngland says the survey is carried out through a mix of online and postal entries and that the lists of English attractions included in the report only feature those that choose to participate and agree to make their results public.

For more information and inspiration, go to