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Best of Britain bargains

If you are using the Eurostar or a ferry to travel to the UK for a break, you will be pleased to hear that the average cost of a one-off visit to an attraction is going down in price.

A survey of 2,111 museums, theme parks and other tourist honey pots, by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, showed that just over half (53 per cent) of museums and art galleries were free, along with 42 out of the 81visitor/heritage centres surveyed.

The poll also showed that Blackpool’s seafront has beaten all other English visitor attractions in terms of visitor numbers. The resort’s Pleasure Beach attracted six million customers in 2004/05, far exceeding visitor numbers to the British Museum, the second placed free attraction, which managed just over 4.5 million, and the National Gallery, which took third place with 4.3 million. The revitalised Brighton pier made its debut in the free top 20 with 4.2 million people promenading along the boardwalk, and the Tate Modern completed the top five free attractions with 3.9 million people touring the former Bankside power station in London.

The joint first place paid-for attractions were the Xscape ski slope and Alpine centre at Castleford, West Yorkshire, a converted former pit, and the London Eye, which both registered 3.3 million visitors.