Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley, tops list of Yorkshire attractions with close to 1m visitors
Cannon Hall Farm, which is due to return to screens for Channel 5’s Winter on the Farm, is at the top of VisitEngland's Yorkshire and the Humber list for paying attractions with an estimated 750,000 visitors in 2022.
But one of the three brothers who run the attraction, Richard Nicholson, said with the farm shop and two restaurants added in the figure was probably closer to 1m.
Elsewhere the region's top free attraction, York's National Railway Museum had 572,577 visitors (up 65 per cent) followed by the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield (up 90 per cent to 421,102).
Another notable riser was Craven Museum and Gallery up by an estimated 604 per cent to 85,052.
Second-placed in most visited paid for attractions, York Minster, was up 133 per cent to 620,591 from 266,348 , while RHS Harlow Carr was up 14 per cent (456,046).
While visits were up 42 per cent for England as a whole, they were still down more than a third (35 per cent) on 2019.
Mr Nicholson said their figures bucked the trend, adding: "If we'd just carried on and not had TV and worked as hard on social media, I don't think we would be.
"In the past people wouldn't travel more than an hour, we get them from all over the country now; every year they come from America and a lot of that is down to social media - we have 400,000 people following us on Facebook.
"They feel they are part of it and know the family and they are involved. I think we are fairly unique in the industry in the amount of accessibility. And there's always a baby animal to be seen – it makes a big difference. 'A world of animal magic' - I wrote that 30 years ago, not long after Johnny Morris was around.
"We are very rare in that we have a primary, secondary and service industry on the same site. We sell our own animals in the farm shop and restaurant - there are not many places like that."
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said the figures were a "timely reminder of the ongoing challenges for the industry".
He said: "We know it continues to be a mixed picture for many destinations across England with our latest research showing that concerns about the cost of living are having an impact."
"Places of worship" were the biggest risers, up up 117 per cent on 2021, while museums and art galleries also saw strong recovery last year, with visits up 114 per cent on 2021.
Chief Executive of Historic England Duncan Wilson added: “These statistics confirm that 2022 was a difficult year, but one where the light could be seen at the end of the tunnel as the trend in visitor numbers was so positive.
Heritage attractions have been working all hours to find new ways to bring visitors to their sites and their creativity is wonderful to see."
Most visited in the UK was the Natural History Museum with 4.7 million visitors, followed by Brighton Pier with 4.6 million visitors.