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Norfolk claims 25pc of the top spots for most visited attractions in the East of England

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:34 11 August 2018

Norwich Castle Museum
Photo: ©Simon Finlay Photography

Norwich Castle Museum Photo: ©Simon Finlay Photography

Copyright Simon Finlay 2017

Norfolk has claimed a quarter of the top 20 spots across the most visited free and paid for attractions in the East of England in 2017.

Redwings Caldecotts donkeys. Photo: Redwings.Redwings Caldecotts donkeys. Photo: Redwings.

The county pulls thousands of visitors every year and according to the latest reports from Visit England, heritage sites are making the most of the footfall.

Though Norfolk sites making up 25% of the table, only one found in the county features in the top ten most visited paid for or free attractions in the region.

Norfolk’s most visited attraction was the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Despite paying entry to the site, they welcomed more than 223,000 people, a 6.4pc increase on last year.

Despite this, the site only placed 11th on the list, with Whipsnade Zoo taking the top spot.

Titchwell Marsh RSPB reserve. Norfolk, England. Sand dunes bound together by Marram grass Ammophila arenaria, form an important natural sea defence against the North Sea, but can be easily overwhelmed and eroded by storms. May 2008.Titchwell Marsh RSPB reserve. Norfolk, England. Sand dunes bound together by Marram grass Ammophila arenaria, form an important natural sea defence against the North Sea, but can be easily overwhelmed and eroded by storms. May 2008.

Other paid attractions in Norfolk on the list included Blickling Hall at number 12, and Oxburgh Hall at number 16.

The latter has seen a huge increase in visitors, seeing around 87,000 in 2016 and 109,000 in 2017.

Felbrigg Hall also featured on the top 20 at number 18, however saw a drop nearly 9,000 people visiting them year on year.

Norfolk’s only site to make it into the top ten list for most visited free attractions was Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve, which is estimated to have seen around 78,500 visitors in 2017.

Oxburgh HallOxburgh Hall

Creake Abbey also saw an increase of 9,500 visitors between 2016 and 2017, placing it 12th on the list.

Cromer’s RNLI Henry Blogg Museum came in at number 14, with the Redwings sites at Caldecott and Aylsham taking places 16 and 20 thanks to a staggering increase of nearly 30% in visitors between 2017 and the previous year.

St Nicholas’ Chapel in King’s Lynn also made the list at number 18, having welcomed just over 18,000 visitors.

Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East Anglia, said: “The figures are for historical and heritage attractions rather than broader family-oriented attractions like, for instance, Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure and Banham Zoo, so have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

FORGOTTEN, NORTH CREAKE ABBEYFORGOTTEN, NORTH CREAKE ABBEY

“It also depends on whether businesses took part in the survey. So this is not wholly representative of Norfolk’s £3.16bn visitor economy. I don’t think anyone at the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions group is getting too worried about the figures.”

Redwings Horse Sanctuary shares the secrets of its success

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has seen one of the biggest increases in visitors between 2016 and 2017.

Daffodils in bloom inside the grounds of The Minster, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtDaffodils in bloom inside the grounds of The Minster, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Lucinda Sloane is the communications manager for the charity, and said: “We really try to make our customer experience nice and work on making it as interactive as possible. So we have lovely visitors centres which have been refurbished or are in the process of being, with cafes.

“We also try to encourage people to have a hands-on approach with our horses, so we have little story cards next to each of them explaining where they came from and their journey. We also hold free summer schools for children which lets them try out each job for someone that works for Redwings.

“That could be those who go out on the rescue, the people that do the day-to-day care of rehabilitation, and those who help with rehoming.”

She added: “We also keep visitors coming back every year by inviting those who sponsor our horses to come and celebrate their birthdays.

The south front of the hall at Felbrigg Hall, Picture: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler *** Local Caption *** Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and EstateThe south front of the hall at Felbrigg Hall, Picture: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler *** Local Caption *** Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be featured on this list.”

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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