Yorkshire attractions Cannon Hall and Yorkshire Wildlife Park named among most visited in England in VisitEngland survey

The VisitEngland annual survey looks at trends in visitor numbers and Yorkshire attractions Cannon Hall and Yorkshire Wildlife Park were named among the most visited in England.

The annual VisitEngland survey looks at trends in visitor numbers and profiles, entrance fees, employment, sustainability, accessibility by public transport, funding, and marketing and communication.

There are lists of most visited free attractions and most visited paid attractions in England and Yorkshire venues have made both of these lists.

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In the report, which was published on July 11, 2024, the survey showed that attractions in England had an 11 per cent increase in the volume of total visits from 2022 to 2023, however this is still 28 per cent below 2019 levels.

Fashion Exhibition at Cannon Hall Museum. (Pic credit: Simon Hulme)Fashion Exhibition at Cannon Hall Museum. (Pic credit: Simon Hulme)
Fashion Exhibition at Cannon Hall Museum. (Pic credit: Simon Hulme)

Museums, art galleries and places of worship received the highest increase in visits every year (20 per cent) and (19 per cent) respectively.

It appears that the sector grew to an increase in overseas visits to attractions in 2023 (an 80 per cent increase in 2022) and an increase in school trips in 2023. However, overall sites reported a two per cent decline in domestic visits.

The 13th century museum Cannon Hall in Cawthorne, Barnsley, has been listed as one of the most visited free attractions in England out of 20 - beating out the Imperial War Museum in London and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

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The museum was first inhabited by Gilbert Canun and more than 300 years later it was expanded and improved the Hall and grounds by the Spencer and Spencer Stanhope family. It now houses collections of fine and decorative arts and is situated in 70 acres of historic parkland.

Three rare Amur Tiger cubs at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. (Pic credit: Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images)Three rare Amur Tiger cubs at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. (Pic credit: Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images)
Three rare Amur Tiger cubs at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. (Pic credit: Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images)

Yorkshire Wildlife Park was listed as one of the most visited paid attractions in England out of 20 - beating out Beamish: The Living Museum of the North and Shakespeare’s Globe.

This zoo and wildlife conservation and rehabilitation centre is a tourist attraction located in Branton, near Doncaster and opened in 2009 on the site of Brockholes Farm. It used to be a riding school and petting zoo, and now it features 500 animals of 100 species.

Top 20 most visited free attractions in England

1 - British Museum

Category: Museum

2022 visitors: 4,097,253

2023 visitors: 5,820,860

% change (2022-2023): 42

2 - Natural History Museum

Category: Museum

2022 visitors: 4,812,806

2023 visitors: 5,686,601

% change (2022-2023): 18

3 - Tate Modern

Category: Museum

2022 visitors: 3,883,160

2023 visitors: 4,729,444

% change (2022-2023): 22

4 - Brighton Pier

Category: Other

2022 visitors: 4,632,108

2023 visitors: 4,235,165

% change (2022-2023): -9

5 - National Gallery

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 2,727,119

2023 visitors: 3,096,508

% change (2022-2023): 14

6 - Victorian and Albert Museum

Category: Museum

2022 visitors: 2,359,887

2023 visitors: 3,089,434

% change (2022-2023): 31

7 - Science Museum

Category: Museum

2022 visitors: 2,334,930

2023 visitors: 2,956,886

% change (2022-2023): 27

8 - Somerset House

Category: Historic House/House and Garden/Palace

2022 visitors: 2,346,580

2023 visitors: 2,727,677

% change (2022-2023): 16

9 - Royal Museums Greenwich

Category: Museum

2022 visitors: 1,630,112

2023 visitors: 2,506,962

% change (2022-2023): 54

10 - British Library

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 1,149,070

2023 visitors: 1,390,378

% change (2022-2023): 21

11 - The Abbey Gardens and Abbey Ruins

Category: Place of Worship (still in use)

2022 visitors: 1,362,874

2023 visitors: 1,345,058

% change (2022-2023): -1

12 - National Portrait Gallery

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: Not available

2023 visitors: 1,164,018

% change (2022-2023): Not Available

13 - Tate Britain

Category: Museum

2022 visitors: 913,395

2023 visitors: 1,091,218

% change (2022-2023): 19

14 - Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 841,642

2023 visitors: 983,108

% change (2022-2023): 17

15 - The Horniman Public Museum and Public Park Trust

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 790,067

2023 visitors: 924,480

% change (2022-2023): 17

16 - Ashmolean Museum

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 728,183

2023 visitors: 900,277

% change (2022-2023): 24

17 - Midlands Arts Centre (MAC)

Category: Other

2022 visitors: 804,236

2023 visitors: 853,355

% change (2022-2023): 6

18 - Bodleian Libraries

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 711,478

2023 visitors: 842,221

% change (2022-2023): 18

19 - Imperial War Museum London

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 684,909

2023 visitors: 841,575

% change (2022-2023): 23

20 - Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 675,557

2023 visitors: 768,986

% change (2022-2023): 14

Top 20 most visited free attractions in England

1 - Tower of London

Category: Castle/Fort

2022 visitors: 2,019,868

2023 visitors: 2,791,834

% change (2022-2023): 38

Price for Adult Entry: £15 or Over

2 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Category: Garden

2022 visitors: 1,963,885

2023 visitors: 1,974,295

% change (2022-2023): 1

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

3 - Chester Zoo

Category: Safari Park/Zoo/Aquarium/Aviary

2022 visitors: 1,835,374

2023 visitors: 1,941,754

% change (2022-2023): 6

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

4 - Westminster Abbey

Category: Place of Worship (still in use)

2022 visitors: 1,062,909

2023 visitors: 1,587,866

% change (2022-2023): 49

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

5 - St Paul’s Cathedral

Category: Place of Worship (still in use)

2022 visitors: 1,193,888

2023 visitors: 1,499,575

% change (2022-2023): 26

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

6 - Windsor Castle

Category: Castle/Fort

2022 visitors: 827,331

2023 visitors: 1,374,607

% change (2022-2023): 66

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

7 - Stonehenge

Category: Historic Monument/Archaeological Site

2022 visitors: 977,316

2023 visitors: 1,327,423

% change (2022-2023): 36

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

8 - Windermere Lake Cruises

Category: Other Historic/Scenic Transport Operator

2022 visitors: 1,303,609

2023 visitors: 1,319,696

% change (2022-2023): 1

Price for Adult Entry: £10.00-£14.99

9 - RHS Garden Wisley

Category: Garden

2022 visitors: 1,439,829

2023 visitors: 1,306,664

% change (2022-2023): -9

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

10 - Colchester Zoo

Category: Safari Park/Zoo/Aquarium/Aviary

2022 visitors: 974,790

2023 visitors: 1,003,817

% change (2022-2023): 3

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

11 - Roman Baths

Category: Historic Monument/Archaeological Site

2022 visitors: 851,854

2023 visitors: 991,437

% change (2022-2023): 16

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

12 - Tower Bridge

Category: Heritage/Visitor Centre

2022 visitors: 648,001

2023 visitors: 960,670

% change (2022-2023): 48

Price for Adult Entry: £10.00-£14.99

13 - Blenheim Palace

Category: Historic House/House and Garden/Palace

2022 visitors: 821,585

2023 visitors: 945,412

% change (2022-2023): 15

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

14 - Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Category: Safari Park/Zoo/Aquarium/Aviary

2022 visitors: 932,444

2023 visitors: 921,008

% change (2022-2023): -1

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

15 - Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 719,009

2023 visitors: 873,491

% change (2022-2023): 21

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

16 - Old Royal Naval College

Category: Other Historic Property

2022 visitors: 731,344

2023 visitors: 843,175

% change (2022-2023): 15

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

17 - Beamish: The Living Museum of the North

Category: Museum and/or Art Gallery

2022 visitors: 788,603

2023 visitors: 801,756

% change (2022-2023): 2

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

18 - Longleat Safari and Adventure Park

Category: Safari Park/Zoo/Aquarium/Aviary

2022 visitors: 814,263

2023 visitors: 800,056

% change (2022-2023): -2

Price for Adult Entry: 15 or Over

19 - Shakespeare’s Globe

Category: Other Historic Property

2022 visitors: 642,082

2023 visitors: 799,942

% change (2022-2023): 25

Price for Adult Entry: Not Available

20 - Tatton Park

Category: Historic House/House and Garden/Palace

2022 visitors: 705,000

2023 visitors: 720,000

% change (2022-2023): 2

Price for Adult Entry: £7.50-£9.99

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