The figures speak for themselves – in 2011, we sponsored specific questions in the International Passenger Survey (IPS) on activities visitors undertook whilst in Britain (XLS, 12.3MB), including going to museums, art galleries, castles, and historic houses.
Activities undertaken by visitors to Britain
|Activities asked about||Visits which involved activity||Nights spent in UK*||Amount spent in UK*|
|Visits (000)||% of all visits||% of holiday visits||Nights (000)||£(m)|
|Visited museums or art galleries||8,299||27%||43%||86,146||£6,255|
|Went to theatre / musical / opera / ballet||2,796||9%||14%||33,838||£2,748|
|Visited castles or historic houses||8,874||29%||48%||91,245||£6,506|
|Visited religious buildings||6,738||22%||35%||74,920||£4,948|
|Visited parks or gardens||11,081||36%||54%||114,312||£7,826|
* By those whose visit included the activity. Nights and spend are not specifically whilst under-taking activity but throughout visit to UK
Source: International Passenger Survey 2011
Perceptions of the UK’s culture and heritage
Through the Anholt Nations Brand Index (NBI) we also have some insight into the perceptions of the UK’s culture and heritage amongst respondents in 20 countries around the world. The NBI consistently ranks the UK’s strengths in history and culture attributes.
In 2015 the UK was ranked 3rd for contemporary culture, 5th for historic buildings and 6th for cultural heritage (out of 50 nations).
Source:GfK Anholt Nation Brands Index 2008-2015
*rank out of 50 nations
To build on these findings, in 2014, we conducted research into understanding the role of culture and heritage in the top three inbound UK markets (PDF, 1.33MB) in terms of visits, spend and nights – France, Germany and the USA.
Holiday-makers across all three markets in the study also sought opportunities to relax and destinations offering lots to see and do. Other elements considered important in the holiday mix were famous places (buildings and attractions) and expectations of a friendly welcome from the locals.
Download our commentary on the key findings (PDF, 2.37MB) from the study to gain a better understanding of the role of culture and heritage in holidays, read the Germany (PDF, 303KB), France (PDF, 224KB) and USA (PDF, 226KB) individual market summaries, as well as a study overview (PDF, 311KB).
During 2015 VisitBritain explored how best to leverage British Culture in Brazil, China and Italy. Supporting previous research Britain’s built culture ranks highly with opportunities to turn up communications around ‘living the feeling’. In this report we have suggested 10 top tips for marketing in these markets including the role of people in images and why ‘free’ might not be as appealing to everyone. You can download the full report here (PDF, 3.14MB). Published January 2016.