Trips to country parks rose by 7 per cent in 1995 while the number of visitors to gardens went up 5 per cent, the British Tourist Authority said. Historic properties welcomed 4 per cent more visitors. Overall, visits to tourist attractions increased by 2 per cent in 1995 compared with 1994. The BTA statistics showed that last year:
Visitor centre numbers rose 4 per cent.
Visits to farm attractions were up 3 per cent and to steam railways by 2 per cent.
The number of tourists visiting museums and galleries fell 3 per cent.
Visits to workplaces were down 2 per cent, while leisure parks and wildlife attractions did as well as in 1994.
Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire was again the top admission- charging attraction.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, with 7.3 million visitors, was the top admission- free attraction, while 5.7 million visited the British Museum in London (also free).
Adele Biss, the BTA chairman, said: "Increased investment and the added bonus of a hot summer tempted more visitors to sample our many and diverse tourist attractions. World-class attractions new this year, such as the Royal Armouries in Leeds and Legoland at Windsor, should encourage more days out in 1996."
Free attractions reported a 2 per cent increase in admissions while visits to admission-charging sites rose 1 per cent.
Britain's top ten attractions
The leading fee-charging attractions last year were:
1. Alton Towers, Staffordshire 2,707,000
2. Madame Tussaud's, London 2,703,283
3. Tower of London 2,536.680
4. Chessington World of Adventure, Surrey 1,770.000
5. Science Museum, London 1,556,368
6. St Paul's Cathedral, London 1,500,000
7. Windsor Castle, Berkshire 1,212,305
8. Blackpool Tower 1,205,000
9. Thorpe Park, Surrey 1,166,000
10.Natural History Museum, London 1,064,273