England’s ‘world class’ historic properties are enjoying a purple patch as enthusiasts flock to them in their droves.
Mills, monuments, boats and burial grounds are leading the way with visitor numbers up eight per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year.
More than 1,400 destinations were rated in VisitEngland’s annual attractions survey.
Topping the list for the ninth year running with 2.8 million paying visitors was the Tower of London. Chester Zoo was second with 1.9 million.
The British Museum was the most visited free attraction in 2017, for the 10th consecutive year, with almost six million visitors, while the Tate Modern came a close second with more than 5.5 million visitors.
Farm attractions also experienced strong growth, up five per cent in 2017, according to the report.
Minister for arts, heritage and tourism, Michael Ellis, said: “Whether it be our unique historic places like Stonehenge, museums such as Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, or cultural hubs like NewcastleGateshead, we have attractions that are the envy of the world.
“As we look ahead to the UK’s exit from the European Union, we remain absolutely committed to supporting our tourism sector and boosting local economies up and down the country.”
Top paid attractions in 2017
• Tower of London: 2,842,970
• Chester Zoo: 1,866,628
• Flamingo Land: 1,691,083
• Windermere Lake Cruises: 1,611,491
• Stonehenge: 1,582,532
• St Paul’s Cathedral: 1,571,197
• Westminster Abbey: 1,547,001
• Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: 1,485,337
• Roman Baths and Pump Room: 1,318,976
• RHS Garden Wisley: 1,143,175
Top free attractions in 2017
• British Museum: 5,906,716
• Tate Modern: 5,656,004
• National Gallery: 5,229,192
• Brighton Pier: 4,684,000 (Estimate)
• NHM (South kensington): 4,434,520
• V&A South Kensington: 3,789,748
• Science Museum: 3,251,634
• Somerset House: 3,223,350
• Tate Britain: 1,777,877
• British Library: 1,426,433
VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “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.”
Overall, visits to England’s attractions rose by two per cent, with reported spending up seven per cent.
Tourism is worth £106 billion annually to England.