More visitors at entry-free museums
Free entry to many famous museums helped admissions to England's leading visitor attractions rise 3% in 2010.
The biggest draw last year proved to be the British Museum in London where free admission boosted numbers to 5.84 million - nearly 5% more than in 2009, VisitEngland said.
The second-biggest attraction last year was the admission-free Tate Modern in London which welcomed 5.06 million visitors - 6.6% more than in 2009.
Among free-admission tourist spots where numbers increased the most last year were the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (up 15.8% to 2.63 million), the Natural History Museum in London (up 13.2% to 4.64 million) and Tate Britain in London (up 10.9% to 1.66 million).
Top admission-charging attraction last year was the Tower of London which had around 2.41 million visitors - 1.0% up on the 2009 figure.
But some famous paid-for attractions suffered dips in visits last year, with Westminster Abbey 3.8% down at 1.39 million, Kew Gardens in south-west London down 12.4% at 1.14 million and London Zoo down 4.5% at 1.01 million.
Visits to museums and art galleries rose 5% in 2010, with higher rises than this among those that were free.
Country parks were up by 5%, and workplaces and places of worship up by 4%.
Across the regions, the strongest performance was in London, where admissions rose 6%, and the North West and South East both up 3%.
VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said: "England has a wealth of top-class visitor attractions, many of which are free. We know Britons are even more worried about the economy and this will have an impact on their holiday choices."