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British Cities with the Most Tourists

Can you name the cities in the United Kingdom that receive the greatest number of international visitors?
For the year 2023. Source.
Counts international visitors who spent at least one night
Quiz by brandybuck96
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Last updated: June 21, 2024
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First submittedJune 5, 2015
Times taken49,933
Average score73.3%
Rating4.55
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# Visits
Answer
20.3 m
London
2.34 m
Edinburgh
1.72 m
Manchester
934 k
Birmingham
900 k
Liverpool
685 k
Glasgow
569 k
Bristol
450 k
Oxford
# Visits
Answer
444 k
Cambridge
441 k
Brighton and Hove
313 k
Cardiff
313 k
Bath
291 k
Leeds
285 k
Inverness
276 k
York
104 Recent Comments
+5
Level 73
May 20, 2017
British or UK cities? There's a difference.
+11
Level 83
May 21, 2017
The source is a UK-government-funded one called VisitBritain that incorporates Northern Irish data into its stats. I would suggest you argue with them.
+21
Level 83
May 21, 2017
British is commonly (and officially) used as adjective for the whole UK.
+3
Level 76
May 21, 2017
In this quiz, there isn't a difference, because no Northern Irish cities appear in the list anyway. But if Belfast, Londonderry etc were eligible, then "UK" would be more accurate than "British" here.
+15
Level 73
Jul 18, 2017
'British' is a word used to mean 'from the UK'. A person from the UK is British, not 'United Kingdomish'. Same principle.
+8
Level 74
Jul 18, 2017
A person from Northern Ireland can be British or Irish (or both). It's all in the Good Friday Agreement
+3
Level 83
Apr 9, 2020
Northern Ireland cities are still British in any case.
+6
Level 54
Jul 19, 2017
The description specifies United Kingdom. Cities in Northern Ireland can still be called British even though they're not technically in Britain. British = from the UK.
+1
Level 56
Jul 20, 2024
They are technically in Britain. "Britain" is almost invariably an abbreviation for "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", not just for "Great Britain".
+1
Level 56
Jul 21, 2024
I disagree, I would not use British to describe something from Northern Ireland and wouldnt assume that if someone else did
+3
Level 70
Apr 9, 2020
People sure do love to argue about issues that arent there (no cities from Northern Ireland. Maybe the original poster got mixed up and thought the quiz was supposed to be about England and wondered why there were Scottish cities on here or something. And the rest used the opportunity to complain regardless)
+1
Level 75
May 22, 2020
I'd always assumed British meant anyone from the British Isles, but that includes Ireland, too, so I guess my assumption was incorrect. I found two different definitions online - one said British was anyone from Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, the Hebrides, and many other surrounding islands. Another definition said it was people from the UK.
+1
Level 56
May 27, 2020
UK = United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain = England, Wales and Scotland. Ireland = the island of Ireland, comprising Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (a different country). Isle of Man and Channel Islands = British Crown dependencies: not part of the UK but British citizens. Hope this helps!
+3
Level 82
May 21, 2017
Why on earth are people visiting reading?
+5
Level 76
May 21, 2017
The Reading festival is a big part of it I guess
+1
Level 82
May 22, 2020
Yea I did that once, shan't be doing it again
+10
Level 76
May 22, 2020
the British Dyslexia Association is based in Reading
+1
Level 43
Oct 11, 2021
Because they are visiting Reading.
+1
Level 43
Oct 11, 2021
And also because it's residence place of BigGeographyGuy :)
+1
Level 76
May 21, 2017
I know that most people just pass through there, but Dover should probably be on there too.
+2
Level 83
May 22, 2017
Dover appears further down the stats. The majority of people don't actually pass through Dover on entry - the Channel Tunnel route just skims the town, and goes on to Folkestone, so rail and car passengers can't really be counted as visiting.
+2
Level 63
May 22, 2020
not a city
+9
Level 68
May 21, 2017
What ? Isn't llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in there ??
+6
Level 87
May 21, 2017
I think you spelled that wrong.
+3
Level 70
May 27, 2017
No, thats right. It should definitely be here
+2
Level 72
Jul 16, 2017
No, he spelled it perfectly right.
+2
Level 51
Mar 15, 2021
It is:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

I have memorized it!

+3
Level 73
May 9, 2023
*spelt
+10
Level 76
Jul 16, 2017
Welsh Wheel of Fortune must be fun.
+2
Level 69
Jul 17, 2017
That made me laugh out loud. Thank you
+1
Level 35
Dec 15, 2017
Been there, it was raining..
+1
Level 51
Feb 14, 2018
It's not a city
+1
Level 72
Feb 20, 2018
Neither is Reading.
+1
Level 72
Feb 20, 2018
I was surprised some of the Welsh seaside towns (Tenby, Llandudno, etc.) didn't make it onto the list, but then neither did many English ones (Blackpool, Scarborough, Whitby, etc.). Must be that they're strongly favoured by UK visitors as opposed to overseas visitors.
+1
Level 66
Apr 16, 2020
I really hope it doesn't make it into a quiz... After learning Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, this would be the next big challenge...
+1
Level 55
Jan 29, 2022
It's not a city. I went there while on holiday in Anglesey in 1980 but have only recently learned how to pronounce it!
+1
Level 83
Jan 30, 2022
This quiz incorporates towns and cities; Llanfair just isn't touristy enough
+1
Level 76
May 21, 2017
I wonder how they work this out? International tourists is easy because they are counted at the border, but no-one "checks-in" and "checks-out" of individual cities like this. Haworth in Yorkshire has heaps of foreign tourists (it's near Wuthering Heights of Bronte sisters fame), and how about Dover, where lots of people enter the UK?
+1
Level 76
Jul 16, 2017
Very difficult, for sure. Even places that have a hotel registry system - with a bed tax for international tourists, for example - still miss daytrippers, which many of these places and others would get lots of.
+3
Level 72
Jul 16, 2017
For Haworth, it's a little bit like Stratford or Canterbury. A lot of people go there, but it seems a bigger crowd than it actually is because of the comparatively small scale of the towns. But I agree with you on Dover, tried it along with Folkestone and Grimsby because those three towns are the entry point of the bulk of Northern European tourists in Great Britain.
+1
Level 72
Feb 20, 2018
Was wondering this too - I used to work in St. Davids which is always massively packed with tourists during the summer, but is comparatively small in itself. I think coastal and rural areas must tend to have smaller numbers overall as tourism is highly seasonal and weather-dependent, whereas in cities there's more to do outside of the summer.
+4
Level 79
Apr 9, 2018
Just imagine if your first sight of this green and pleasant land were Grimsby...You'd get straight back on board.
+2
Level 83
Apr 9, 2020
Generally this means people staying overnight - hotel arrivals
+1
Level 67
May 22, 2020
i literally have never heard of Haworth, and I doubt there are heaps of foreign tourists because of an obscure book which is barely relevant in non Anglo countries.
+2
Level 83
Jan 30, 2022
Given the popularity and number of film adaptations of most of the books by the Bronte sisters, and the popularity in the USA as well as the UK, I don't think it's fair to call them 'obscure'. And there are a lot of translations too
+2
Level 56
Jul 20, 2024
Not to mention their influence on later culture, from Jean Rhys to Daphne du Maurier to Kate Bush (!)
+1
Level 84
Jul 16, 2017
Reading? Why?
+12
Level 65
Jul 16, 2017
Reading is a good way to gain knowledge. We should all read a book sometime.
+1
Level 43
Oct 11, 2021
Congratulations... made my day.
+1
Level 84
Jul 16, 2017
The answer to some of these comments would seem to be that they are not 'cities' e.g. Dover or Stratford-on Avon are not cities.
+2
Level 74
Jul 16, 2017
Neither is Reading but it's there.
+4
Level 81
Jul 18, 2017
... but the quiz asks for cities or towns.
+2
Level 84
Jul 16, 2017
Westminster is technically a city - surely that makes the list?
+2
Level 74
Jul 18, 2017
Maybe at the expense of London? Would be interested how many actually visited the City of London - suspect it'd still be second, but behind Westminster
+3
Level 56
Jul 16, 2017
Why is Stratford-upon-Avon not on this list ? Whenever I go there every other person is a foreign tourist with a camera !
+2
Level 56
Jul 16, 2017
I know it is not a city !! but the Q says "towns & cities"
+1
Level 58
Jul 17, 2017
Surprised that Southampton gets more international tourists than Pompey, considering that Portsmouth has the historic naval docks and are well worth a visit (while there's nothing of that level of tourist attraction in Soton).
+4
Level 45
Jul 17, 2017
Cruise ships?
+1
Level 68
Jul 17, 2017
No Swindon? Oh, I can only hope...
+2
Level 47
Jul 18, 2017
Swindon does get loads of international visitors - it's just that they are all on their way to Bath
+1
Level 74
Jul 18, 2017
I did try Swindon before Reading - both admittedly out of desperation; imagine my surprise ...
+1
Level 66
Jul 30, 2017
Reading? WTF? N Stratford upon Avon? Hmmm, seems a bit dodgy. And Birmingham? Why would tourists go there too?
+2
Level 76
Sep 15, 2017
NEC and the ICC and Symphony Hall. There is way more to see in Birmingham anyway than one might suppose - and for a major city, it is very compact with everything in walking distance. Communications to and from the airport are by far the best in the whole UK
+1
Level 35
Dec 15, 2017
I was wondering why so many people were going to Inverness then I thought, all those Americans looking for Nessie isn't it... Sigh...
+1
Level 64
Jul 23, 2024
Gateway to the Highlands
+1
Level 34
Apr 11, 2018
Reading ??!!!!! nearly as many as one of UK's premier tourist destinations York? Don't think so.
+2
Level 83
Apr 11, 2018
I doubt that the source distinguishes between visits made for leisure and those made for business. That would explain some of the oddities.
+2
Level 83
Apr 9, 2020
Exactly, they count overnight stays, it can be holidays, conference, business, festivals, sports, health, it doesn't matter for the basic easily collected statistics. For more you need a survey.
+1
Level 28
Feb 11, 2019
I would have NEVER thought of reading......... if it weren’t for the fact that it gives you that it’s a town!
+2
Level 62
Aug 23, 2019
Imagine telling your family you were visiting the uk, and you arrived in Birmingham. Big letdown.
+1
Level 71
Jan 14, 2020
This comment is made above:

"bmjs98 +3 level 47 Jul 19, 2017

The description specifies United Kingdom. Cities in Northern Ireland can still be called British even though they're not technically in Britain. British = from the UK."

This is not really correct. British/Britain is a rather vague term. The Isle of Man for example is not part of the UK but its citizens are British. You can make the case that Northern Ireland is part of Britain, if not the island of Great Britain.

+1
Level 79
Apr 1, 2020
"British = from the UK" they mean that if someone is British, they are from the UK
+1
Level 70
Apr 9, 2020
There are the British Isles. One of them is big and therefore called Great Britain. Why should Ireland not be British?
+2
Level 92
Feb 13, 2020
I came across this quiz today, and thought it felt familiar... as I'd just taken this one. Not often you see 2 nearly-identical featured quizzes, and they were only 3 apart in my untaken list!
+2
Level ∞
Feb 13, 2020
D'oh! It's happened before and I can tell you that there is one other near duplicate currently active as well. I'll investigate eventually...
+1
Level 79
Apr 1, 2020
Needs updated: Southampton and Reading out, Luton and Leicester in.

...............

Edit:

Also, looked at the detailed data, and Belfast probably does get in, but all NI is grouped together so it doesn't count.

+1
Level 87
Apr 9, 2020
Really, more international tourists visit Leeds than Belfast?
+1
Level 72
Apr 10, 2020
Might be people going to Leeds Festival, perhaps.
+2
Level 70
Apr 9, 2020
According to wikipedia, there are 12 million tourist per year visiting Gibraltar. Presuambly, less than 11.7 million of them are from the UK. :-P
+3
Level 76
Apr 10, 2020
The 2020 numbers will be sobering.
+1
Level 85
Apr 11, 2020
How could I forget Bristol??? Home of the most vicious chicken in history! *facepalm*
+1
Level 70
Apr 12, 2020
Over 18 million visitors to Blackpool last year, must be plenty of overseas tourists in that number. Must not be calculated.
+4
Level 83
Apr 23, 2020
I'm shocked Torquay isn't on here. There's a wonder little bed and breakfast there.
+5
Level 68
Apr 29, 2020
I'm a bit sad Durham is not on here - it's got the most gorgeous cathedral.
+1
Level 83
Jul 21, 2024
I'm kind of surprised by it, given the number of Harry Potter fans and general crowds that flood the streets at weekends and in the holidays. But I suppose that overall, it's a very small city that can only support so many tourists.
+1
Level 29
May 2, 2020
What about Hastings? All the international people come to Hastings but they just never leave
+1
Level 74
May 22, 2020
100% first try, yippee!!!
+1
Level 67
May 22, 2020
What about Slough?
+2
Level 48
May 22, 2020
Who from overseas is going to Leeds?
+1
Level 82
May 23, 2020
I knew several Saudis who went there to study.
+1
Level 68
Aug 27, 2020
They might be going to the Leeds music festival?
+1
Level 43
Oct 11, 2021
344k people
+1
Level 35
May 22, 2020
can't believe i forgot bristol after spending about 5 hours in their airport last summer
+1
Level 82
May 22, 2020
I think I commented before that I was surprised to not see Belfast on here. Comment seems to have gone missing now, or maybe it was on a different quiz. I have a few friends who visited Belfast. None that have been to Brighton.
+4
Level 66
May 23, 2020
Surprised Salisbury didn't make the list. It's very popular with Russian assassins who always make a point of visiting its spectacular cathedral and its tall spire.
+1
Level 69
May 25, 2020
They have that ancient clock, I was told.
+1
Level 57
May 24, 2020
This was one of the very few in which I got 100% on my first attempt
+1
Level 77
Jan 19, 2021
I've literally been to Bath... how did I miss it?!?
+1
Level 35
Sep 7, 2021
Thought maybe Plymouth may have been on this list with its history with America and the ferry ports
+3
Level 84
Jan 5, 2023
I'm surprised that Bude isn't on here for their famous tunnel. Has to be one of the top tourist attractions in Europe.
+2
Level 63
Jul 20, 2024
I can't believe I missed Oxford and Cambridge when I've been to both of them!
+1
Level 51
Jul 21, 2024
According to the source, you possibly flipped digits reading the stats for Edinburgh.
+2
Level 69
Jul 22, 2024
What tormented soul thinks to themselves "You know what, let's go and visit Birmingham"
+1
Level 49
Jul 22, 2024
I've taken this quiz twice now, about six months apart. Both times I have got all but one and both times the one I have missed is a city about 10 miles away from my house.