Visitors to Brighton’s Palace Pier increased by 12.5% last year, making it once again England’s most-visited free attraction outside London.
Figures published by Visit England today show an estimated 4.5m visited the Victorian pier in 2014, up from 4m in 2013 and 2012.
But in contrast, visitors at the city’s council-run attractions fell across the board, both the free museums and the venues which charge entry.
Vistors fell 0.8% at the Booth Museum to 27,709, 8.5% at Brighton Museum to 245,700, and 13.3% at Hove Museum to 36,227.
The council’s paid for properties also suffered, with visitors to the Royal Pavilion down 3.6% to 334,814
and Preston Manor down 8.5% to 11510
The only other Brighton attraction on the list, St Bartholemew’s Church, also recorded a fall in visitors, down 12.9% to 30,473.
Head of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Janita Bagshawe said: “Trends in visitor numbers fluctuate a great deal and are influenced by a huge variety of factors, from that year’s weather and the subjects in the national curriculum to the exhibitions and activities we programme.
“It’s therefore very difficult to draw conclusions from a single year’s figures; however we work hard to capture feedback from large numbers of our visitors and to respond to this across all our venues.”
In contrast, visitors to attractions across England rose by a total of 4%.
VisitEngland, Chief Executive James Berresford, said: “It is wonderful that attractions across the country are experiencing an increase in visitor numbers and the benefits are being felt across regions. We know that England has a fantastic range of unique and outstanding product, which generate high levels of satisfaction for visitors.
“Our attractions are core to England’s tourism offer; contributing to economic growth and employment and we are fortunate to have such a wonderful and wide variety available to suit all visitors”.
Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch said: “”I’m delighted that more visitors are enjoying England’s world-class attractions, especially after English tourism experienced a record-breaking start to the year.
“I’m looking forward to working with the tourism industry to build on this success with the government’s new five point plan for tourism – which aims to attract even more tourists to experience our amazing attractions, create great careers, and help local economic growth.”
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