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England’s Most Visited Attractions in 2021

Attractions in England reported a 30% increase in total visits from 2020 to 2021, as they began to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this still remains at less than half of the admissions volume seen in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the attractions sector throughout 2021. However, with longer to plan and relaxed restrictions, the proportion of sites reporting that they had to remain closed for the whole year reduced from 10% in 2020 to 6% in 2021.

Free sites continue to be more severely affected than sites that charge an entrance fee, with 9% of free sites reporting that they were unable to open during 2021, compared with 4% of sites charging an entrance fee.

Three in ten (29%) of the remaining attractions were unable to open for their typical visitor seasons once the national lockdown was lifted – only a small improvement on 2020 (36%). In 2021, 9% of sites were unable to meet COVID safety requirements, 7% reduced their season because it was not profitable to open and a further 7% because of insufficient staff/ volunteers.

In order to meet required health and safety standards, many sites continued at a reduced visitor capacity in 2021. The average reduction was to 71% of 2019 maximum capacity – an increase of 22% compared with 2020 maximum capacity levels.

The sector approach to ticketing was more relaxed in 2021, with only 11% enforcing pre-booking (down from 27% in 2020). Instead we saw encouragement of pre-booking, whilst allowing walk-ups (49%).

Overall, attractions in England reported a 30% annual increase in total visits from 2020 to 2021, following the sharp decline of 65% in 2020. This increase was driven by the domestic market. Local/ day trip visit volume saw an increase of 26%, and an increase in staycations also benefited some regions.

With greater reliance on international tourism than other areas, London was hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and is recovering more slowly, with visitor volume increasing by just 12%.

Below you will see England’s most visited attractions in 2021 and compare them with the top attractions in 2020.

england top attractions 2021

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