Of the 1,400 English attractions surveyed the research found that historic properties such as mills, monuments, boats and burial grounds saw the largest increase in visitor numbers, up 8% on 2016.
Visits to farm attractions also experienced strong growth in 2017, up 5% on the previous year. Historic houses and palaces, along with visitor and heritage centres and places of worship all saw increases of 4% in 2017.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Michael Ellis said:
"Our world-class attractions have once more proven to be a huge draw for both UK and overseas visitors.
"Whether it be our unique historic places like Stonehenge, museums like Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, or cultural hubs like NewcastleGateshead - home to the Great Exhibition of the North this summer - we have attractions that are the envy of the world.
"As we look ahead to the UK's exit from the European Union, we remain absolutely committed to supporting our tourism sector and boosting local economies up and down the country."
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“Visitor attractions are an important part of our tourism landscape, driving visitors to discover more of England. It is great to see people are getting out and exploring the huge variety of attractions and places of interest on offer across the country, boosting tourism and distributing the benefits across local economies.”
The British Museum was the most visited 'free' attraction in England in 2017 for the 10th consecutive year with nearly 6 million visitors, and the Tate Modern came a close second with more than five and a half million.
The Tower of London topped the list as the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction for the ninth year running with 2.8 million visitors and Chester Zoo came in second place with 1.9 million.
Overall, visits to England’s attractions rose by 2% in 2017. Visitor attractions overall reported increased spending of 7% on 2016.
Tourism is worth £106 billion annually to England.
To see the full report click here.