County attractions popular with visitors

Cragside House and Gardens. Picture by Tony Bartholomew
Cragside House and Gardens. Picture by Tony Bartholomew

Numerous Northumberland visitor attractions were among the most popular sites in the North East, recently-released information shows.

VisitEngland has published its Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions for 2016, which gives regional and national statistics.

All English visitor attractions are invited to take part in the survey and the findings are split into two categories – paid and free.

The county fared well in the paid-for section, with many attractions making the top 21 list.

However, of these, the data indicates that many saw their visitor numbers fall from 2015.

Cragside was third in the most visited paid attractions in the North East, with 227,062 visits in 2016, down by two per cent compared to 2015.

Wallington House, Gardens and Estate was fourth on the list, with 216,000 visitors last year; down by 0.3 per cent on 2015. Bamburgh Castle was seventh, having attracted 148,051 people in 2016; a 1.9 per cent year-on-year increase.

Eighth was Housesteads Roman Fort, with 102,004 (a drop of 5.1 per cent), while Lindisfarne Castle was one place behind, with 89,063 visitors in 2016; a drop of 2.3 per cent compared to 2015.

Seaton Delaval Hall was 11th, with 69,684 visitors (an increase of 12.4 per cent); Chesters Roman Fort was 12th with 62,345 (an 18.5 per cent rise); while Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens was 13th with 53,245 visitors (a drop of 4.7 per cent).

At 14th was Lindisfarne Priory, having attracted 52,549 people in 2016. This represented a year-on-year rise of 4.7 per cent.

Warkworth Castle was 16th, with 49,066 visitors (a 10.8 per cent decline on 2015); the Farne Islands was 17th with 43,254 (an 11.4 per cent drop); and Dunstanburgh Castle was 19th with 33,557 (down by 24.2 per cent on 2015).

Completing the top-21 list was Howick Gardens and Arboretum, with 33,118 visitors; a drop of six per cent on 2015.

Topping the list was Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, with 747,651 visitors in 2016.

Northumberland didn’t have any attractions in the top-20 free-attractions list, with Durham Cathedral topping this with an estimated 797,871 visitors in 2016.