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Top 10 English tourist attractions

The results are in – just what visitor attractions are people willing to spend their money on?

The top 10 English tourist attractions of 2010 included famous London sightseeing destinations, theme parks, two World Heritage Sites and plenty of outdoor activities.

1. Tower of London

Tower of London

Top spot goes to the Tower of London, a place of history, art and intrigue. The Tower of London has been used as a prison since 1100, and unsurprisingly has fascinating – and bloody - stories to tell.

Brilliant exhibitions bring the Tower’s most famous and infamous residents to life: what was the fate of the two Princes in the Tower? Who was Ranulf Flambard? What did Anne Askew do to deserve such a grisly fate?

It is here that you can also see the priceless Crown Jewels, the infamous Traitor’s Gate and the ravens – of which legend says that should they ever leave the Tower, London will fall…

2. St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral

The iconic cathedral has witnessed many significant events in Britain’s history, including the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill and the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

A visit to St Paul’s Cathedral offers 1200 years of history as well as the chance to climb the 237 steps to the top of the spectacular Dome. Once there you can discover what makes the Whispering Gallery so special, and then perhaps plunge all the way back down and explore the dark depths of the Crypt..

Did you know: American Human Rights campaigner Martin Luther King once preached in front of Saint Paul’s?

3. Westminster Abbey

Kate and Will in Westminster Abbey

Just behind St Paul’s Cathedral in the Top 10 is another London sightseeing spot, Westminster Abbey - the venue of the most famous wedding of 2011! Trace the final footsteps of Kate Middleton before she became the Duchess of Cambridge.

 

4. Windermere Boat Cruises, Bowness

Lake Windermere

Set within the outstanding beauty of the Lake District National Park, Lake Windermere is the most popular tourist destination in Cumbria. Britain’s largest natural lake, Windermere is peppered with boats all year round, an ideal way to take in the exceptional surroundings.

5. Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, Yorkshire

Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo

With rides, a zoo, live entertainment and a variety of restaurants and bars, Flamingo Land Theme Park in Yorkshire is suitable for just about everyone!

Why is it called Flamingo land? The graceful pink birds were one of the Park and Zoo’s first inhabitants, and today the Flamingo Land champions a successful conservation programme for the species’ protection.

6. Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is home to the largest Orangutan exhibit in Europe and the most extensive zoo-based butterfly house in the UK. There are also award-winning gardens to explore, Zoo-vets to observe, mini-gold to play and face painting to enjoy!

7. Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Gardens

Fancy walking 60ft in the air over a forest glade - in London? Royal Botanical Gardens is the world’s most extensive collection of living plants and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kew Gardens is a unique experience offering visitors the chance to encounter botanical environments from all around the world. In the six glasshouses you can roam from the world’s tallest indoor plant to the smallest tree.

8. ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo

Located on the outskirts of one of London’s busiest districts – London Zoo is on the edge of Regent’s Park and boasts over 720 species of animals.

Did you know: the popular abbreviation ‘zoo’ originated from ZSL London Zoo? ZSL (Zoological Society London,) was established in 1826 - the oldest in the world - and the abbreviation ‘zoo’ was first used in print in London around 1847.

9. Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Forming part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge and Avebury, Stonehenge is one of the most recognisable British sightseeing destinations. But what is it?!

No one has managed to answer that question with 100% certainty, and the mystery and spirituality of Stonehenge can certainly draw a crowd.

10. Eden Project

Eden Project

Would you like to see how chocolate grows? Plant-life and people rarely get a more intimate introduction than at the Eden Project. A series of surreal bubble-like formations set in a disused clay mine in beautiful Cornwall, the Eden Project combines nature, science, music and art.

Check out VisitEngland’s press release for the full annual visitor attraction survey.

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