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Berkshire site UK’s most visited outdoor tourist attraction

by Staff

The number of visits to tourism attractions is still below pre-pandemic levels, but one site in Berkshire is bucking the trend.

The most visited outdoor attraction was Windsor Great Park (The Crown Estate) in Berkshire.

It had 5.5 million visitors last year, which despite being a 3 per cent decline on 2022 figures, was the third most visited attraction overall when including indoor venues.

Research shows many people remain ‘out of the habit’ of going to some of the UK’s most popular sites following the pandemic period.

The royal park has held national significance in recent years, following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Crowds flocked to the site to pay tribute to The Queen, where they left tributes and messages for the Royal Family.

Windsor Great Park, Berkshire was the most visited outdoor attraction in 2023

Meanwhile, The British Museum, in central London, was the UK’s popular indoor tourist attraction last year with 5.8 million visits, up 42 per cent from a year earlier.

In second place was the Natural History Museum, west London. It had its best ever year for visits and saw a 22 per cent increase in visitors to 5.7 million.

Outside London, other English attractions in the region that performed well were RHS Garden Wisley in 21st place.

Stonehenge, which is one of the most famous sights in the world, saw a 36 per cent increase with 1.3 million visitors (23rd place).

Bernard Donoghue, Alva director, said attractions are “recovering well” – with the 2023 total representing a 19% increase from the previous 12 months – but warned “they’re still not back to full recovery”.

He said this is partly down to people who “got out of the habit of going to museums and galleries” when they were closed during coronavirus lockdowns.

RHS Garden Wisley was the 21st most visited tourist attraction in the UK in 2023

These people may still be “anxious” about the virus while the cost-of-living crisis is also having an effect as many potential visitors are making “tactical judgments about how they spend their leisure pounds”, he said.

Mr Donoghue said attractions are putting on “a great programme of events” and offering cut-price tickets to encourage people to return.

He stated that the limited return of Chinese tourists due to the country’s coronavirus travel restrictions is also affecting overall visitor numbers to UK tourism hotspots.

“They’re starting to come back now that they’re travelling out of China, and we hope that they’ll be back up to pre-Covid levels by the end of next year,” he said.

Stonehenge saw a 36% increase with 1,327,423 visitors in 2023 putting in 23rd place.

Mr Donoghue claimed that the Government’s failure to reverse its 2020 decision to end tax-free shopping for inbound visitors has led to a “significant decrease” in spending in attraction gift shops by overseas tourists.

“We are absolutely missing out on expensive items being bought by visitors from around the world, particularly from America, the Middle East and the Far East,” he said.“

“We know that we’re losing out to places like Paris, Milan, Madrid, and Rome.”

The most popular attraction in Scotland was Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland (2.2 million visits) while the number one spot in Wales was taken by St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff (600,000 visits).

Titanic Belfast had the most visits out of Northern Ireland’s attractions, with 800,000.

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