What Do Visitors Want to See in the UK?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Westminster Abbey

Two recent surveys, one by Visit England and the other by the foreign exchange bureaux company, First Rate both claim to be able to reveal what visitors to our shores want to see. Unfortunately the two say different things. the findings from Visit England are based on visitor entry numbers and since places like Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge are free to walk around (unless you want to go into Tower Bridge), visits aren’t counted. The First Rate survey is many times smaller but asks about any place whether it be just a place to walk around or where some thing is laid on. Visit England also includes any visitors not just overseas ones.

From Visit England, the top free attractions are the British Museum, Tate Modern and the National Gallery. The first non London attraction is the Sheffield Winter Garden at number 6 and the Grand Pier at Weston-Super-Mare at number 8. For paid for attractions the top 3 were Westminster Abbey, Kew Gardens and Chester Zoo followed by Windermere Lake Cruises, the Eden Project in Cornwall, Tate Liverpool and Coventry Cathedral.

At number 8 was Stonehenge which also appeared as number 9 in the First Rate list. Interestingly, according to First Rate, the French are the most likely to go outside London and the Irish seem to be attracted to shopping areas.

But perhaps, the key event was that at Tate Liverpool. There, visitor numbers shot up by 68% which is largely put down to a Gustav Klimt exhibition. It goes to show that if you find out what people want and then deliver it, attractions and destinations can pull in the crowds.

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