I really enjoy visiting quiet places. I also really enjoy visiting busy places.
I don't enjoy overly busy places, and neither does my wife. Our kids hate it.
Organising days out in our house factors in an answer to an important question - "Will the place be busy?". If we think it's going to be too busy, we don't go. It does make planning summer trips a little difficult.
One thing that has come out of COVID is the requirement to "book in advance". A lot of venues have made this not only essential, but incredibly easy to do online. For us, it has helped immensely with planning days out. Take this summer - we have been out on so many days out at local venues because we have felt comfortable that a) the venue has limited the number of visitors that it can have, b) we have committed ourselves to going on a particular date at a particular time, and c) we know we can show our tickets when we get there and go straight in.
Today we had a fantastic day out at Bovington Tank Museum. It was busy, but it wasn't too busy. We knew that we would be able to get a parking spot, that we could just show our tickets and walk in fairly easily, and that it wasn't going to be uncomfortably busy.
The other week, my wife and I visited an English Heritage site. It was virtually empty. I asked the man at the ticket booth if it was always this quiet, and he said that no, not always - but limiting numbers has helped keeping a steady and manageable flow of visitors to the site.
Making a booking is easy, and it gives us confidence that we will have an enjoyable day out without being stuffed into a building likes sardines in a tin. It helps our kids enjoy their day by not being in a loud, overcrowded place, two things that trigger their anxieties. And surely we can't be the only household that feels that this is a more comfortable way of visiting venues?
As for the venues, surely this helps them plan for appropriate visitor numbers? If they know they can only have X amount of visitors, then only have a number of staff to cater for that number of visitors. In controlling visitor numbers, venues can control costs and have better expectations of the day ahead. Surely everyone is a winner?
So, my view is this: Please, venues, keep the booking systems!