Inbound trends by UK town

Find out the top towns for inbound visitors to Britain, as well as how many visits were made by overseas residents to the UK's towns.

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) was suspended on 16 March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic until the start of 2021. The ONS have made every effort to produce high-quality estimates for the periods when IPS data is not being collected but have not been able to produce a full set of results therefore no data from 2020 is available below. Interviewing initially began at UK airports at the start of 2021, though the IPS remained suspended at some sea ports and train stations during the year. Data for 2021 and 2022 is also excluded below as there were no interviews at Eurotunnel until July 2022 and data from Dover was only collected from Q3 2021.

You can access the 2021 towns data an alternative format in this excel table showing the 20 most visited towns and cities by visitors from overseas (XLS, 26.5KB) as far back as 1999.

Read more about 2020 inbound data and 2021 inbound data as well as the latest monthly data for 2022.

Please visit the dedicated pages for national, regional and county data or detailed market information.

Top towns for 'staying visits' by inbound visitors

  2019   2018 2017
  Town/city Visits (000s) Town/city Visits (000s) Town/city Visits (000s)
1 London 21,713 London 21,072 London 21,708
2 Edinburgh 2,206 Edinburgh 2,515 Edinburgh 2,194
3 Manchester 1,661 Manchester 1,548 Manchester 1,432
4 Birmingham 1,112 Birmingham 1,119 Birmingham 1,109
5 Liverpool 845 Glasgow 882 Glasgow 855
6 Glasgow 771 Liverpool 824 Liverpool 836
7 Brighton/Hove 647 Bristol 615 Bristol 604
8 Bristol 636 Oxford 580 Oxford 601
9 Oxford 581 Cambridge 576 Cambridge 572
10 Cambridge 462 Brighton/Hove 478 Brighton/Hove 509
11 Bath 401 Cardiff 376 Cardiff 400
12 Cardiff 382 Bath 375 Bath 392
13 Leeds 338 Leeds 352 York 345
14 York 297 Inverness 322 Inverness 320
15 Newcastle-upon-Tyne 282 York 315 Leeds 304
16 Inverness 275 Aberdeen 244 Newcastle-upon-Tyne 294
17 Stratford-upon-Avon 271 Nottingham 236 Aberdeen 281
18 Nottingham 245 Reading 229 Nottingham 262
19 Coventry 245 Newcastle-upon-Tyne 226 Windsor 246
20 Reading 237 Leicester 218 Reading 239

Source: International Passenger Survey, Office for National Statistics. Please note that figures are based on small sample sizes for all cities with the exception of London and should therefore be treated with caution.

Detailed data

This Excel document allows you to see how many visitors from overseas went to different towns and cities in the UK. It also shows a breakdown of visits to each town by major overseas markets. You can view visit data for towns by journey purpose, and quarter. Data is available from 2009-2021 (XLS, 13.6MB). Data for many towns is based on small sample sizes, so using 3 or 4 year averages is highly recommended.

Day trips

International Passenger Survey data for towns and cities typically measures staying visits (where visitors stay overnight). This report (PDF, 1.8MB) looks at where inbound visitors to the UK go on day trips, based on an extra question VisitBritain sponsored on the International Passenger Survey in 2016. Read about the top destinations for day trips and characteristics of day trippers.