In Pursuit of Paradise: Tourism & Public Gardens

Now with the full manuscript available as well as the summary….

Public gardens are gardens which regularly open to the public for an entrance fee. In the UK, such gardens dominate the garden visitor attraction lists and include privately owned grounds and gardens owned by large organisations such as the National Trust/National Trust for Scotland, Royal Horticultural Society and English Heritage/Historic Scotland/Cadw.

Understanding visitor motivations can help garden managers to better meet visitor needs and grow their customer base. However, public gardens are not solely visitor attractions and have the potential to offer significant social, environmental, economic and horticultural services to local, regional, national and even international communities.

This study evaluates the demographics of the garden visiting public in Great Britain (GB), assessing the reasons for visiting, activities pursued during visits and features/facilities sought on visits, and then examines the additional values of gardens beyond that of visitor attractions. An online survey of 913 respondents identified a high level of horticultural interest underlies many garden visits while a semi-structured interview of eight garden managers found an emphasis on the role of the garden as a visitor attraction.

Research highlights:

  • A garden visitor survey yielded 913 responses indicating motivations, interests and behaviour of public garden visitation in GB.
  • Interviews of garden managers demonstrated the importance of visitors to the financial survival of gardens.

More information about the findings of the survey is provided in the summary document – In Pursuit of Paradise: Valuing Public Gardens – which can be downloaded from the link below. The full report, with more detailed analysis of the survey results and information from the interviews, will be available shortly. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the full report, contact the PlantNetwork Coordinator.