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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 2018. Source
Quiz by brandybuck96
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Last updated: April 9, 2020
First submittedJune 5, 2015
Times taken34,167
Average score73.3%
Rating4.50
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# Visits
Answer
19.1 m
London
2.36 m
Edinburgh
1.41 m
Manchester
1.10 m
Birmingham
837 k
Glasgow
# Visits
Answer
803 k
Liverpool
598 k
Bristol
547 k
Cambridge
526 k
Oxford
459 k
Brighton and Hove
# Visits
Answer
348 k
Bath
344 k
Leeds
342 k
Cardiff
313 k
Inverness
278 k
York
+5
Level 53
Oct 16, 2016
No Blackpool? Interesting list, did not expect so many Scottish cities/towns!
+10
Level 75
Jul 16, 2017
Lots of British people go there but few international tourists. If we want to go the beach, we tend to go where there is actually some sun.
+7
Level 54
Jul 19, 2017
Wouldn't the British tourists visiting Scotland be left out though as it says greatest number of international tourists?
+1
Level 49
Jul 21, 2017
Some sun? You're not going to get that much more sun down south compared to Blackpool!..I expected Blackpool to be here as well
+6
Level 78
May 10, 2018
I don't usually think of the UK as being a beach destination other than possibly Brighton. I'm from the USA but I'm a hopeless Anglophile. I can't imagine places like Canterbury, Hereford, and Leicester not being on a must see list for international tourists.
+7
Level 77
Aug 13, 2019
I think the beaches of the West Country, i.e. Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, would certainly be considered to have great beaches, as would the coast around many other places in the UK, e.g. the Gower or Pembrokeshire in South Wales, Bournemouth, Northumberland, East Anglia. It's certainly not restricted to Brighton which no doubt picks up a lot of London visitors.
+3
Level 77
Apr 17, 2020
I'm also an Anglophile and I tried Blackpool, Nottingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Dover, Exeter, Coventry, Banbury, Windsor, etc. I guess the cities and towns I read about in the classics and historical romances are not big tourist destinations.
+6
Level 50
May 22, 2020
As an Australian I've been to beach towns all over UK and USA and I can tell you that they are all great places for history, architecture, culture and basically anything except for beaches.
+1
Level 74
May 22, 2020
@ander217 You could come up with a quiz about most visited UK cities in 1900. You might get more lucky with your answers then.
+12
Level 74
May 13, 2018
Not sure why you didn't expect so much interest in Scotland. It's easily the most attractive part of the UK - and I speak as someone born and bred in England. What I always find surprising is how dominant London is in the figures. It's a place that I generally avoid whenever possible.
+1
Level 67
Apr 9, 2020
Some people like big cities, others the outdoors and lots of nature. Im part of the 2nd category, big cities can be ok, but for a day or 2 for a nice pub or live music (thoughh you can get that in smalls towns too)
+3
Level 41
May 22, 2020
15 million of those tourists went to Buckingham palace, the people who didn't go to there were probably business men/women. The palace is surrounded by Green Park, for people who don't like cities, it is most likely a nice place to go.
+6
Level 60
May 22, 2020
For a first time visitor London is unique globally for the sheer amount of stuff there is to see. Its literally impossible to be tired of London
+4
Level 83
May 22, 2020
"He who is tired of London is tired of life!" I'm much more a country person myself, but I do hugely enjoy visits to London
+2
Level 76
Apr 10, 2020
Blackpool doesn't have city status I think
+2
Level 62
May 22, 2020
Blackpool is not a city
+1
Level 55
Feb 14, 2021
Many tours visit the Scottish highlands and converge on the Edinburgh and Inverness areas.
+1
Level 57
May 18, 2021
During the edinburgh festival, hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions of tourists flock to edinburgh for all the amazing shows and events.
+1
Level 76
May 20, 2017
No Huddersfield, Hull or Middlesborough? Just joking but thought Dover might be on there with people taking boats across from Calais in France.
+1
Level 59
Jul 17, 2017
People generally just bypass Dover. They aren't missing much, it's a real dump!
+1
Level 38
Dec 15, 2017
U 'ULL!! WE'RE THE BLACK AND WHITE ARMY!!!
+4
Level 74
May 20, 2017
British or UK cities? There's a difference.
+9
Level 81
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.
+18
Level 80
May 21, 2017
British is commonly (and officially) used as adjective for the whole UK.
+3
Level 75
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.
+11
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.
+6
Level 75
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 80
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.
+2
Level 67
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 77
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 58
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!
+2
Level 80
May 21, 2017
Why on earth are people visiting reading?
+5
Level 73
May 21, 2017
The Reading festival is a big part of it I guess
+1
Level 80
May 22, 2020
Yea I did that once, shan't be doing it again
+5
Level 70
May 22, 2020
the British Dyslexia Association is based in Reading
+1
Level 38
Oct 11, 2021
Because they are visiting Reading.
+1
Level 38
Oct 11, 2021
And also because it's residence place of BigGeographyGuy :)
+1
Level 73
May 21, 2017
I know that most people just pass through there, but Dover should probably be on there too.
+2
Level 81
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.
+1
Level 62
May 22, 2020
not a city
+7
Level 69
May 21, 2017
What ? Isn't llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in there ??
+5
Level 85
May 21, 2017
I think you spelled that wrong.
+3
Level 71
May 27, 2017
No, thats right. It should definitely be here
+2
Level 75
Jul 16, 2017
No, he spelled it perfectly right.
+1
Level 51
Mar 15, 2021
It is:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

I have memorized it!

+8
Level 73
Jul 16, 2017
Welsh Wheel of Fortune must be fun.
+1
Level 68
Jul 17, 2017
That made me laugh out loud. Thank you
+1
Level 38
Dec 15, 2017
Been there, it was raining..
+1
Level 54
Feb 14, 2018
It's not a city
+1
Level 69
Feb 20, 2018
Neither is Reading.
+1
Level 69
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 52
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 81
Jan 30, 2022
This quiz incorporates towns and cities; Llanfair just isn't touristy enough
+1
Level 75
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 73
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.
+2
Level 75
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 69
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 77
Apr 9, 2018
Just imagine if your first sight of this green and pleasant land were Grimsby...You'd get straight back on board.
+1
Level 80
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.
+1
Level 81
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
+1
Level 82
Jul 16, 2017
Reading? Why?
+11
Level 61
Jul 16, 2017
Reading is a good way to gain knowledge. We should all read a book sometime.
+1
Level 38
Oct 11, 2021
Congratulations... made my day.
+1
Level 82
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 72
Jul 16, 2017
Neither is Reading but it's there.
+3
Level 77
Jul 18, 2017
... but the quiz asks for cities or towns.
+1
Level 79
Jul 16, 2017
Westminster is technically a city - surely that makes the list?
+1
Level 75
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
+2
Level 58
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 !
+1
Level 58
Jul 16, 2017
I know it is not a city !! but the Q says "towns & cities"
+1
Level 59
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).
+3
Level 46
Jul 17, 2017
Cruise ships?
+1
Level 61
Jul 17, 2017
No Swindon? Oh, I can only hope...
+2
Level 50
Jul 18, 2017
Swindon does get loads of international visitors - it's just that they are all on their way to Bath
+1
Level 75
Jul 18, 2017
I did try Swindon before Reading - both admittedly out of desperation; imagine my surprise ...
+1
Level 64
Jul 30, 2017
Reading? WTF? N Stratford upon Avon? Hmmm, seems a bit dodgy. And Birmingham? Why would tourists go there too?
+2
Level 74
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 38
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 38
Apr 11, 2018
Reading ??!!!!! nearly as many as one of UK's premier tourist destinations York? Don't think so.
+2
Level 81
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.
+1
Level 80
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 29
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 60
Aug 23, 2019
Imagine telling your family you were visiting the uk, and you arrived in Birmingham. Big letdown.
+1
Level 68
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 61
Apr 1, 2020
"British = from the UK" they mean that if someone is British, they are from the UK
+1
Level 68
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 90
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 61
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 85
Apr 9, 2020
Really, more international tourists visit Leeds than Belfast?
+1
Level 69
Apr 10, 2020
Might be people going to Leeds Festival, perhaps.
+2
Level 68
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 75
Apr 10, 2020
The 2020 numbers will be sobering.
+1
Level 84
Apr 11, 2020
How could I forget Bristol??? Home of the most vicious chicken in history! *facepalm*
+1
Level 71
Apr 12, 2020
Over 18 million visitors to Blackpool last year, must be plenty of overseas tourists in that number. Must not be calculated.
+1
Level 82
Apr 23, 2020
I'm shocked Torquay isn't on here. There's a wonder little bed and breakfast there.
+4
Level 67
Apr 29, 2020
I'm a bit sad Durham is not on here - it's got the most gorgeous cathedral.
+1
Level 31
May 2, 2020
What about Hastings? All the international people come to Hastings but they just never leave
+1
Level 66
May 22, 2020
100% first try, yippee!!!
+1
Level 64
May 22, 2020
What about Slough?
+2
Level 50
May 22, 2020
Who from overseas is going to Leeds?
+1
Level 84
May 23, 2020
I knew several Saudis who went there to study.
+1
Level 67
Aug 27, 2020
They might be going to the Leeds music festival?
+1
Level 38
Oct 11, 2021
344k people
+1
Level 36
May 22, 2020
can't believe i forgot bristol after spending about 5 hours in their airport last summer
+1
Level 84
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.
+2
Level 67
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 70
May 25, 2020
They have that ancient clock, I was told.
+1
Level 53
May 24, 2020
This was one of the very few in which I got 100% on my first attempt
+1
Level 75
Jan 19, 2021
I've literally been to Bath... how did I miss it?!?
+1
Level 36
Sep 7, 2021
Thought maybe Plymouth may have been on this list with its history with America and the ferry ports