With the sunny weather set to continue and Britain’s gardens well and truly in bloom, the national tourism agency has released research which reveals that a staggering £7.8 billion was spent by tourists enjoying a garden in the UK, with a large chunk coming from younger visitors.
A VisitBritain study identified that of the 31 million people who tend to visit Britain each year, around a third enjoy a park or garden, with around 2.4 million aged between 25-34 opposed to just 1.4 million aged between 55-64.
There were 2.1 million visits from those aged 35-44 involving parks or gardens, while nearly three-quarters of a million were aged 65 or over.
Overall those aged under-35 were particularly likely to visit a park or garden, with 41 per cent of visits doing so compared to 33 per cent of visits from those aged over 35.
The latest figures confirm that going to a park or garden is one of the most popular activities for our overseas guests, accounting for 36 per cent of all visitors, placing only behind eating out, going to pubs and shopping.
It means visitors are surprisingly more likely to spend time in a park or garden than a museum, castle, historic house or art gallery.
Over half of all ‘holiday’ visitors (54 per cent) explore our green surrounds each year, a positive indication that admiration is growing across the world for Britain’s attractive scenery and beautifully crafted gardens.
It remains an activity which visitors can enjoy whatever their age group, from Bodnant Gardens with spectacular views across Snowdonia to the intriguing Muncaster in the Lake District or the world famous world-famous historic gardens at Inverewe in the Scottish Highlands.
London has also just celebrated 100 years of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and is home to eight Royal Parks and the globally acknowledged UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kew Gardens.
Unsurprisingly the most popular time of year to visit gardens is the summer months, with July to September accounting for four million of the annual tally.
By contrast, just 1.6 million visited gardens in the first quarter of 2011.
The reason visitors come here plays a strong role in determining what they do during their trip with tourists on ‘holiday’ making up the bulk of visits (6.4 million) followed a distant second by those here to see their friends and family (3.2 million).
Sandie Dawe, chief executive, VisitBritain said: “We’ve completed three big pieces of research which all indicate that our parks, gardens and natural beauty are a valuable tourism asset, admired across the world and enjoyed by our visitors.
“It’s hugely encouraging to see our gardens are as popular with the younger generation as they are with 55-plus age groups.
“Post-Games perceptions of Britain have shifted for the better and time spent in any of our glorious parks is something to be cherished- especially when the sun is out.”