Sussex free attraction is fourth most popular for tourists in the UK

Enjoying the sun
Enjoying the sun

The most visited free tourist attraction outside of London is in Sussex, according to official tourism figures.

Research from Visit England lists Brighton Pier as the fourth most popular free destination in the UK with an estimated 4,684,000 visitors in 2017 – almost five times the number of visitors of any other attraction in the South East.

Annual figures for 2018 have yet to be released but the sunny summer could well have boosted the performance of the pier, which had nearly 30 per cent more visitors in 2017 than the year before.

Anne Ackord, CEO of the Pier Group said: “We are delighted to be the most visited free attraction outside of London and not only pleased for ourselves but also for the city of Brighton & Hove.

“Tourism is an important part of our local economy and we need to look after this great city so visitors will continue to come.”

Anne said the pier would be celebrating its 120th birthday on Monday along with English Tourism Week.

Visit England is the national tourism agency funded by the government. Its latest research put the Royal Pavilion in the top 20 most visited paid-for attractions in the South East, with 320,856 visitors in 2017.

It compares with 364,295 visitors to see the Mary Rose in Portsmouth and 285,271 visitors to Sheffield Park Gardens.