Recreational visits to coastal environments in England

Available on 4 April 2018

This study has, for the first time, estimated the number of visits made to coastal environments in England each year.

Published in the journal Marine Policy, the headline finding is that approximately 271 million recreational visits are made to marine environments in England annually, and that the majority of these involve land-based activities such as walking.

Few national-level analyses exist which examine recreation in these types of environments, and this study used data from seven waves (2009-2016) from the MENE data set, a representative survey of the English population.


A bar chart shows the 5 most popular beach-based activities


The authors analysed the number of recreational visits made to beaches and ‘other coastal’ environments, which activities were undertaken on these visits, and which demographic, motivational, temporal, and regional factors predict them.

The study also includes estimates for inland environments for comparison. A video with the lead author, Dr Lewis Elliott, is below.


Full citation

Lewis R. Elliott, Mathew P. White, James Grellier, Siân E. Rees, Ruth D. Waters, Lora E. Fleming, Recreational visits to marine and coastal environments in England: Where, what, who, why, and when?, Marine Policy, Available online 4 April 2018, ISSN 0308-597X,