Arundel Castle in West Sussex is proof that UK attractions are experiencing a boost in visitor numbers, as it recorded another very successful open season in 2016.
The ancient Castle, which offers more than 40 acres of stunning grounds and gardens for visitors to explore, has been open to visitors for centuries. It welcomed more than 176,000 visitors through its gates this year, achieving a 5% increase on 2015.
The Castle's packed schedule of events drew crowds throughout the season, most notably it's world-leading Jousting and Medieval Tournament Week, which is set to return for its ninth year in 2017.
Another visitor favourite which continues to grow in popularity are the Castle's beautiful gardens. In fact, over 40 per cent of guests quoted the gardens as their favourite aspect of their visit.
The highlight of the season for green fingered visitors was overwhelmingly the Annual Tulip Festival which sees tens of thousands of the brightly coloured bulbs take over the Castle's grounds. The Festival will be returning to Arundel Castle in 2017, with a record 36,000 bulbs expected to bloom in mid to late April.
Arundel Castle was recently named Sussex residents’ favourite landmark in the county in a survey commissioned by heritage building company Rudridge – a nod to the enduring affection of all who have visited the Castle.
Castle Manager Bryan McDonald commented: "We are thrilled that Arundel Castle and the gardens continue to enchant visitors from across the county, country and from all over the world".
"Founded nearly one thousand years ago the Castle has a rich history to share with our visitors and we are all delighted that more people than ever are visiting and taking such great interest. None of this would be possible without the sterling and very much appreciated work of our conservation, maintenance and house-keeping teams behind the scenes, our outstanding gardeners, and our excellent office, catering, retail and guiding teams, all of whom work tirelessly to create a memorable experience for everyone visiting the Castle".
"We would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to each and every person who has visited the Castle this year, whether it was for the first time or for a return visit.
"We look forward to opening our gates and welcoming visitors once again from 1 April 2017, with the Castle and gardens looking their finest, with yet another jam-packed events calendar, and plenty for our guests to see, do and enjoy."