Inbound countryside & coast research

Britain's great outdoors has an abundance of countryside and thousands of miles of coastline — both playing host to millions of visits from overseas each year.

In 2011, we sponsored specific questions in the International Passenger Survey (IPS) to find out how many visitors from overseas undertook particular activities whilst in Britain, including going to the countryside and coast. The results were as follows:

Activities undertaken by visitors to Britain

Activities asked about Visits which involved activity Nights spent in UK by those whose visit included activity* Total spent in UK by those whose visit included activity*
  Visits (000) % of all visits % of holiday visits Nights (000) £(m)
Visited parks / gardens 11,081 36% 54% 114,312 £7,826
Went to countryside / villages 5,336 18% 22% 72,418 £4,205
Went to coast / beaches 3,582 12% 15% 54,292 £2,853
Participated in sport 707 2% 3% 10,989 £730
 Walking / hiking 142 20% % of those that took part in sport 2,589 £146
 Cycling / mountain biking 57 8% 1,158 £57
 Football 105 15% 2,671 £176
 Golf 116 16% 1,529 £159
 Rugby 26 4% 440 £17
 Cricket 22 3% 452 £21

* Nights and spend are not specifically whilst under-taking activity but throughout visit to UK

Source International Passenger Survey 2011

Propensity for holidays in UK nations and regions involving specific activities

IPS figures also show that Scotland, Wales, the South West and Yorkshire are most likely to see holiday visits involving visiting rural or coastal locations and walking. Visiting the countryside is especially common in Yorkshire, Scotland and the South West, with walking in the countryside common in the South West, Scotland and Wales. Visiting villages is most popular in the South West while visiting national parks is particularly popular in Wales, Yorkshire and the South West.

Visiting the coast / beaches, and walking by the coast is particularly likely in Wales and the South West, followed by the North East, Scotland and the South East.

Visiting rural / coastal locations, participating in outdoor /sports activities ALL SW SE LON EE WM EM YKS NW NE WL SC
Countryside 20% 51% 38% 9% 31% 25% 34% 55% 22% 24% 49% 52%
Villages 19% 55% 39% 9% 32% 26% 20% 44% 16% 28% 42% 42%
Coast / beaches 11% 48% 37% 3% 16% 9% 14% 22% 14% 31% 53% 35%
National Parks 7% 26% 11% 4% 4% 8% 8% 26% 9% 16% 30% 25%
Walk in countryside 24% 58% 45% 12% 27% 33% 32% 37% 24% 26% 50% 52%
Walking by coast 8% 37% 25% 2% 9% 4% 4% 15% 8% 35% 38% 29%
Playing golf 2% 3% 4% 0% 3% 3% 3% 5% 1% 0% 3% 7%
Going cycling 1% 7% 2% 1% 3% 2% 2% 2% 0% 4% 1% 2%

Source International Passenger Survey 2006-2011