Fun-loving UK adults have been counting down the days to being reunited with their ‘happy place’ through lockdown.
And new research has revealed the nation’s most loved visitor attraction or venue – London’s Kew Gardens.
The public have craved a visit to their ‘happy place’ since the pandemic struck and fresh findings from The National Lottery – ahead of its Open Week and Cinema Weekend – show the sheer extent to which we’ve missed our favourite places.
Over eight in ten UK adults (81 per cent) have missed their ‘happy place’ during lockdown, with almost half (45 per cent) reckoning they’ve missed the UK countryside the most.
Heritage sites such as castles and gardens with historical value were a close runner-up on 33 per cent, while almost a third of us (31 per cent) missed theatres or cinemas more than anywhere else.
And it’s Kew Gardens that tops the charts as the UK’s No.1 ‘happy place’, with well over one in ten UK adults (15 per cent) believing that’s where they feel most at home.
Cornwall’s The Eden Project was second on 13 per cent, with the same figure saying Wales’ Snowdonia National Park is the place they consider their ‘happy place’.
12 per cent admit the capital’s Natural History Museum is their favourite visitor attraction, with The British Museum, Bath’s Roman Baths, ZSL London Zoo and Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park also featuring on the list.
The research was commissioned to celebrate this month’s National Lottery Open Week (5-13 June) and National Lottery Cinema Weekend, (19-20 June) which sees venues around the UK offer free entry and special offers as a thank you to National Lottery players for the £30million raised for good causes every week.
And Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Chair of the National Lottery Forum, said: “Now, more than ever, people are excited to rediscover their happy place, or find a new one close to home, and we’re proud that so many incredible spaces across the arts, screen, heritage, sport, and community sectors have signed up to offer their thanks.
“National Lottery Open Week and The National Lottery Cinema Weekend are really exciting moments in the year for us, where an amazing variety of venues and projects across the UK give thanks to National Lottery players for the £30 million they raise each week for good causes.”
Northern Ireland’s iconic Giant’s Causeway was the most popular attraction on people’s bucket list, with 13 per cent of us saying it’s the place we’d most like to visit in the future.
The County Antrim venue is also the most popular place to visit in Northern Ireland, with broader findings from The National Lottery revealing just how eager we are to get back out and about as restrictions ease.
Just under half of us (48 per cent) have developed a greater appreciation of the UK’s visitor attractions, cultural sites, history, and art during the pandemic, with over half (57 per cent) intending to visit their happy place at the earliest possible opportunity.
Over half of UK adults (55 per cent) associate their ‘happy places’ with their childhood, with two thirds (66 per cent) taking their kids to their ‘happy place’ in the hope they will enjoy them as much as they do.
And value for money (44 per cent) and fun (37 per cent) are what people look for most in their favourite attraction or venue, with 53 per cent preferring to visit these places with their partner and 31 per cent wanting to go with their kids.
Exactly a quarter would rather head to their ‘happy place’ with friends, with the average time people have felt a special connection with a particular attraction standing at 14 years.
The National Lottery has commissioned photographer, Tom Oldham, to capture a portrait series celebrating people revisiting their happy places including double Olympic champion Nicola Adams, former England star John Barnes and British swimming ace Daniel Jervis.
And John Whittingdale, Lotteries Minister, added: "I'm delighted to see so many 'happy places' such as Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum and the Eden Project now reopening for people to enjoy once more.
"The National Lottery Open Week is a great way to say thank you to players who contribute so much to our cultural fabric every week, and highlight that our heritage and tourism sector is back open for business as we head into what promises to be a Great British summer."
To say thank you for the £30million raised for good causes every week by its players, The National Lottery is offering a ‘Ticket to Your Happy Place’, with special offers and free entry during The National Lottery Open Week 5-13 June and The National Lottery Cinema Weekend 19-20 June. For more information head to www.nationallotteryunlocked.com