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The UK’s favourite historic attractions ranked – Fountains Abbey and Royal Yacht Britannia are top

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Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire and the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh have tied in first place in a Which? survey of the most effective historic attractions within the UK.

Within the survey, Which? members were asked to rate over 6,700 experiences using nine criteria, including overall value for money, helpfulness of staff and lack of crowds. Each Fountains Abbey and the Royal Yacht Britannia achieve a powerful overall rating of 88 per cent, beating well-known attractions including Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey and The Tower of London to the highest spot.

This 12 months marks the second time the Royal Yacht Britannia has topped the UK historic attractions rating, having done so previously in 2020.

The Royal Yacht Britannia has been ranked by Which? as Britain’s top historic attraction for the second time. It ties in first place this 12 months with Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire

The Royal Yacht Britannia served the Royal Family for more than 44 years, travelling over one million nautical miles and visiting 135 countries over its lifetime Now docked permanently on the Firth of Forth in Leith, visitors can explore the state apartments, crew's quarters and even the engine room, accompanied by a free audio guide, a facility highlighted as an especially 'nice touch' by one respondent, Which? reveals

The Royal Yacht Britannia served the Royal Family for greater than 44 years, travelling over a million nautical miles and visiting 135 countries over its lifetime. Now docked permanently on the Firth of Forth in Leith, visitors can explore the state apartments, crew’s quarters and even the engine room, accompanied by a free audio guide, a facility highlighted as an especially ‘nice touch’ by one respondent, Which? reveals

Top-ranked Fountains Abbey is managed by the National Trust and is one of the most extensive Cistercian abbey ruins in Europe

Top-ranked Fountains Abbey is managed by the National Trust and is probably the most extensive Cistercian abbey ruins in Europe

The Royal Yacht Britannia achieves an almost clean sweep of five-star rankings, dropping only one point to a good 4 stars for foods and drinks and helpfulness of staff.

The ship served the Royal Family for greater than 44 years, travelling over a million nautical miles and visiting 135 countries over its lifetime.

Now docked permanently on the Firth of Forth in Leith, visitors can explore the state apartments, crew’s quarters and even the engine room, accompanied by a free audio guide, a facility highlighted as an especially ‘nice touch’ by one respondent, Which? reveals.

In the survey, Which? members were asked to rate over 6,700 experiences using nine criteria, including overall value for money, helpfulness of staff and lack of crowds

Within the survey, Which? members were asked to rate over 6,700 experiences using nine criteria, including overall value for money, helpfulness of staff and lack of crowds

Fountains Abbey is managed by the National Trust and is probably the most extensive Cistercian abbey ruins in Europe. It was a thriving monastic community for 400 years, explains Which?, until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539.

Those that rated the attraction highly praised the ‘calm atmosphere’ and ‘leisurely walks’ on offer in over 800 acres of grounds, says Which?, with the attraction scoring a full five stars for lack of crowds, in addition to how accurately the outline matched reality.

Coming a detailed joint second in the patron champion’s survey of two,944 persons are Culzean Castle and Country Park in Scotland, managed by the National Trust for Scotland, and the Roman Baths and Pump Room in Bath, each achieving a rating of 87 per cent.

Coming a close joint second in the consumer champion's survey are Culzean Castle and Country Park in Scotland (above), managed by the National Trust for Scotland, and the Roman Baths and Pump Room in Bath

Coming a detailed joint second in the patron champion’s survey are Culzean Castle and Country Park in Scotland (above), managed by the National Trust for Scotland, and the Roman Baths and Pump Room in Bath

Which? says: ‘Perched atop rugged Ayrshire cliffs, the magnificent Culzean Castle was designed by architect Robert Adam within the 18th century and boasts 40 buildings and secret follies across its extensive country park, in addition to a Swan Pond, formal gardens, play areas and an icehouse. With a lot on offer, it unsurprisingly scoops a full five stars for facilities, in addition to an extra five for a way well the outline matched the truth of the experience on offer. One respondent enthused that the castle “isn’t to be missed”, while others commended the “amazing views and walks”.’

The Roman Baths, meanwhile, drew praise for the chance to explore the ‘fascinating’ and ‘well-preserved’ ruins in the guts of the honey-stoned city, says Which?. The attraction scores a powerful five stars for its engagement and entertainment value, with several respondents telling Which? that they appreciated the high-quality video exhibits on offer.

Durham Cathedral is the highest-scoring free attraction, with a customer rating of 86 per cent. It ranks joint third within the table overall, tying with Stirling Castle. While Durham Cathedral is awarded a full five stars in five of the nine categories, including lack of crowds and value for money, it gains just two stars for facilities.

The Roman Baths in the city of Bath (above) scores an impressive five stars for its engagement and entertainment value, with several respondents telling Which? that they appreciated the high-quality video exhibits on offer

The Roman Baths in town of Bath (above) scores a powerful five stars for its engagement and entertainment value, with several respondents telling Which? that they appreciated the high-quality video exhibits on offer

At the opposite end of the table is Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the playwright’s childhood home in Stratford-upon-Avon, with a rating of 63 per cent. While respondents praised the constructing’s cultural significance, says Which?, it scores just two out of 5 stars for value for money and facilities, and rates not more than three stars in any category.

Despite scoring five and 4 stars in multiple categories, the Titanic Belfast attraction has an overall rating of only 65 per cent and comes second from last. Which? explained to MailOnline Travel that it is because the general scores are a weighted average of advice and satisfaction scores (50/50), independent of star rankings.

Guy Hobbs, Editor of Which? Travel, says: ‘This 12 months two very different but equally impressive historic attractions top our survey, and it is easy to see why. Each Fountains Abbey and the Royal Yacht Britannia offer a novel day trip with visitors telling us they enjoyed the chance to immerse themselves in a slice of history for the day.

‘Whether you are trying to get back to nature or explore the hidden histories of our remarkable cities, Which?’s rankings of the UK’s best historic attractions have plenty to encourage you.’

At the bottom of the table is Shakespeare's Birthplace (above), the playwright's childhood home in Stratford-upon-Avon, with a score of 63 per cent. While respondents praised the building's cultural significance, says Which?, it scores just two out of five stars for value for money and facilities, and rates no more than three stars in any category

At the underside of the table is Shakespeare’s Birthplace (above), the playwright’s childhood home in Stratford-upon-Avon, with a rating of 63 per cent. While respondents praised the constructing’s cultural significance, says Which?, it scores just two out of 5 stars for value for money and facilities, and rates not more than three stars in any category

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