A study by VisitBritain found that tourists are more likely to spend time in a park or garden than to go to a museum, castle, historic house or art gallery. North of the Border, 46 per cent of tourists say they visit a park or garden compared with just a third UK-wide.
Those who say they book a UK holiday mainly to visit the hundreds of parks and gardens open across the country generated around 7.8 billion for the economy last year.
The French, Britain’s largest tourist market,- seem to prefer our parks and gardens over travellers from any other country with 1.25 million visits, spending £406 million in the UK in the process. Visitors from America are second in the table with 1.23 million visits, but they spend nearly triple the amount of the French during their visits, at around £1.1 billion.
Completing the top three are the Germans, 1.15 million of whom visited British parks and gardens and also spent more in the UK than top-placed France at £629 million.
Kate Mavor, chief executive, National Trust for Scotland, said: “Scotland’s gardens are glorious. We welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to our 70 gardens and designed landscapes every year, of whom we know are a large proportion are from overseas, making a real and lasting contribution to the economy.”
The most popular time of year to visit gardens is the summer months, with July to September accounting for four million of the annual tally. Those aged under 35 were particularly likely to visit a park or garden, with 41 per cent of visits doing so compared to a third of visits from those aged over 35.