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.

From 22 May we will be working to update all of the data and documents on this page following the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revision of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) data for 2009-2018 and the released detailed 2019 data. Please be patient as we update these pages or contact the VisitBritain research team if you have any questions- VB/ Thank you.

There are two categories of activites focused on countryside and coastal activities - experiencing rural life and scenery and outdoor leisure pursuits. 

Experiencing rural life and scenery

Activities asked about Number of visits that involved activity (000) % of all visits Amount spent in UK (£m)*
Going to countryside or villages 4,996 13% £4,540
Going to coast or beaches 3,797 10% £3,460
Visiting a national park 2,490 7% £2,430

Outdoor leisure pursuits

Activities asked about Number of visits that involved activity (000) % of all visits Amount spent in UK (£m)*
Walking in the countryside 6,459 20% £3,900
Going for a walk, hike or ramble 5,935 17% £4,970
Walking along the coast 2,445 8% £1,970
Playing golf 354 1% £480
Fishing 115 <1% £140

Source: International Passenger Survey 2007-2016, *By those whose visit included the activity. Spend is not specifically whilst under-taking activity throughout visit to UK

Propensity for holidays in UK nations and regions involving specific activities

IPS figures also show that Scotland (SC), Wales (WL), the South West (SW) and Yorkshire (YKS) are most likely to see holiday visits involving a visit to a national park, whilst going to the countryside or villages is more common in the South West, Scotland and Wales. 

Going to the coast or beaches is particularly likely in Wales (undertaken by over 1-in-2 holidaymakers), followed by those visiting Scotland and the South West.

Over half of visits to Wales included going for a walk, hike or ramble, followed by visits to the South West, Yorkshire, Scotland, the South East (SE) and the East Midlands (EM).

Playing golf is most common when visiting Scotland and Wales, but also more so than the holiday inbound average in the South East, the East of England (EE) and the North East (NE).

Visiting rural / coastal locations, participating in outdoor /sports activities during holiday visits to... SW SE LON EE WM EM YKS NW NE WL SC UK totaL
Going to the countryside or villages 48% 29% 7% 20% 18% 24% 32% 20% 21% 44% 44% 18%
Going to the coast or beaches 40% 30% 3% 9% 2% 8% 19% 14% 14% 52% 43% 14%
Visiting a national park 24% 10% 7% 6% 3% 6% 21% 12% 9% 28% 28% 11%
Going for a walk, hike or ramble 47% 31% 16% 18% 19% 31% 37% 20% 17% 52% 36% 21%
Playing golf 1% 2% <1% 2% 1% 0% <1% 1% 2% 4% 8% 1%

Source: International Passenger Survey 2014-2016, shown as percentages of total inbound holiday visits to the UK (inc. visits to Northern Ireland), to a nation or region