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England's Top Visitor Attractions in 2022


VisitEngland's recently published Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions for 2022 indicates a positive trend in the recovery of visitor attractions across England. However, despite a notable increase in visits compared to the previous year, numbers still remain significantly lower than pre-COVID levels.

According to the survey, visitor attractions in England experienced an overall increase of 42% in visits last year compared to 2021. Nevertheless, this figure reflects a 35% decline when compared to 2019, the year prior to the pandemic. These statistics underline the ongoing challenges faced by the tourism industry in its recovery from the global health crisis.

The survey gathered data from 1,519 English attractions, shedding light on the impact of international travel reopening. Overseas visits to England's attractions skyrocketed, marking a staggering 280% increase in 2022 compared to 2021. On the other hand, domestic visits to attractions witnessed a more modest rise of 24% compared to the previous year.



Among the regions in England, London observed the largest increase in visits to its attractions, driven by the return of international visitors. The numbers surged by 141% in 2022 compared to 2021. Other regions across England witnessed average growth rates ranging from 16% to 42% during the same period.

Tourism Minister John Whittingdale expressed optimism regarding the industry's recovery, emphasizing the importance of England's top tourism destinations in supporting job creation and business growth. He encouraged individuals to explore the country's must-see attractions this summer, thereby aiding the industry's return to full health.



VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes acknowledged the positive recovery of many attractions but emphasized the ongoing challenges faced by the industry as it rebuilds from the pandemic. The survey highlighted the varying conditions experienced by destinations across England, with concerns about the cost of living impacting visitor numbers.

Stokes stressed the crucial role played by England's fantastic visitor attractions, ranging from renowned museums, galleries, castles, and historic houses to stunning gardens, rural landscapes, and outdoor attractions. He emphasized that there is something for every taste and budget, urging individuals to explore the diverse visitor offerings available in their own backyard during the upcoming summer holidays.

Chief Executive of Historic England, Duncan Wilson, expressed his belief that the sector will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever, driven by the passion of those involved in sharing the country's heritage. He commended the creativity and dedication of heritage attractions, which tirelessly sought new ways to attract visitors to their sites.

The survey also revealed the most visited attractions in England in 2022. The Tower of London reclaimed the top spot as the most visited "paid for" attraction with 2.0 million visitors, representing a significant 284% increase compared to 2021 but still down by almost a third from 2019. Kew Gardens secured the second position with 1.96 million visitors, while RHS Garden Wisley ranked third with 1.5 million visitors.

Regarding free attractions, the Natural History Museum emerged as the most visited in 2022 with 4.7 million visitors, marking a 196% increase compared to 2021 but still down by 14% from 2019. Brighton Pier ranked second with 4.6 million visitors, followed by the British Museum with 4.1 million visitors.

The survey also examined specific categories of visitor attractions. "Places of Worship" witnessed the highest percentage growth in visits, rising by 117% compared to 2021. "Museums/Art Galleries" also experienced a strong recovery, with visits increasing by 114% in 2022. The categories of "Workplaces," "Other Historic Properties," and "Visitor/Heritage Centers" also displayed robust recovery trends with visitor numbers increasing by 55%, 51%, and 49% respectively compared to 2021.

Tourism represents one of England's largest and most valuable industries, providing support to hundreds of thousands of businesses and employing approximately 2.6 million people. In 2019, it generated £76 billion in domestic visitor spending, underscoring its significance to the country's economy.

For more detailed results from the VisitEngland Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions in 2022, including regional data, please visit:


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