The Most Visited Attractions in England

VisitEngland’s Annual Attractions Survey shows historic properties experienced significant growth in visitor numbers in 2017.

Of the 1,400 English attractions surveyed the research found that historic properties such as mills, monuments, boats and burial grounds saw the largest increase in visitor numbers, up 8% on 2016. 

Visits to farm attractions also experienced strong growth in 2017, up 5% on the previous year. Historic houses and palaces, along with visitor and heritage centres and places of worship all saw increases of 4% in 2017.

The British Museum was the most visited ‘free’ attraction in England in 2017 for the 10th consecutive year with nearly 6 million visitors, and the Tate Modern came a close second with more than five and a half million.

The Tower of London topped the list as the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction for the ninth year running with 2.8 million visitors and Chester Zoo came in second place with 1.9 million.

Overall, visits to England’s attractions rose by 2% in 2017. Visitor attractions overall reported increased spending of 7% on 2016.

  Most visited PAID attractions Most visited FREE attractions 
Name of attraction Number of Visitors in 2017 Name of attraction Number of Visitors in 2017
1 Tower of London 2,842,970 British Museum 5,906,716
2 Chester Zoo 1,866,628 Tate Modern 5,656,004
3 Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo 1,691,083 National Gallery 5,229,192
4 Windermere Lake Cruises, Bowness 1,611,491 Brighton Pier    4,684,000 (E)
5 Stonehenge 1,582,532 NHM (South Kensington) 4,434,520
6 St Paul’s Cathedral 1,571,197 V&A South Kensington 3,789,748
7 Westminster Abbey 1,547,001 Science Museum 3,251,634
8 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Gardens 1,485,337 Somerset House 3,223,350
9 Roman Baths and Pump Room 1,318,976 Tate Britain 1,777,877
10 RHS Garden Wisley 1,143,175 British Library 1,426,433

Tourism is worth £106 billion annually to England.

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