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The Top 30 London Attractions in 2014

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London’s British Museum is  the most popular visitor attraction in the UK, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).  The National Gallery remains the second, the Southbank Centre comes in third.

The list of the top 10 most visited sites contains only one attraction outside London, with the new Library of Birmingham at number 10. Edinburgh Castle and Chester Zoo are the only other non-London attractions in the top 20.

Museums and Galleries across the UK saw an increase of more than 6% on visitor numbers on the previous year, however there is some concern that domestic visitors to some museums and galleries is actually falling.

Many of the top attractions are free, but tend to hold paid exhibitions  to raise revenue. In recent years there has been an enormous growth in attractions developing education programmes to attract and keep the younger generations.

Although London’s Imperial War Museum which saw the most significant increase in visitor numbers across the year, that was mostly due to the fact that large parts of the museum were closed in 2013 to prepare for the museum’s new World War One galleries, which opened in July 2014.

London’s Top 30 according to Association of Leading Visitor Attractions figures:
1 British Museum 6,695,213
2 The National Gallery 6,416,724
3 Southbank Centre 6,255,799
4 Tate Modern 5,785,427
5 Natural History Museum 5,388,295
6 Science Museum 3,356,072
7 V&A South Kensington 3,180,450
8 Tower of London 3,075,950
9 Somerset House 2,463,201
10 National Portrait Gallery 2,062,502
11 St Paul’s Cathedral 1,782,741
12 Old Royal Naval College 1,749,708
13 British Library 1,627,599
14 National Maritime Museum 1,516,258
15 Kew 1,368,565
16 Tate Britain 1,357,878
17 ZSL London Zoo 1,318,621
18 Houses of Parliament 1,253,326
19 Westminster Abbey 1,190,737
20 Museum of London 1,167,070
21 Imperial War Museum London 914,774
22 Royal Academy of Arts 824,793
23 Royal Observatory Greenwich 785,963
24 Tower Bridge Exhibition 649,361
25 Churchill War Rooms 472,746
26 V&A Museum of Childhood 471,000
27 Kensington Palace 401,353
28 Shakespeare’s Globe 357,886
29 HMS Belfast 346,331
30 Cutty Sark 265,202

Source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

It is worth remembering that although ALVA’s 57 members are the UK’s most popular  attractions, there are a number of Attractions that are not members and therefore not included.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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A Short Guide to the Imperial War Museum London

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The Imperial War Museum (IWM) was founded in 1917 and was intended to record the war effort and effects of the First World War. The museum was original located at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, and opened to the public in 1920. In 1924 the museum moved to the Imperial Institute in South Kensington, and finally in 1936 the museum acquired its present home which was previously the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark.

On 19 July 2014, to mark start of the Centenary of the First World War, a transformed Imperial War Museum London re-opened with new First World War Galleries and an extensive new atrium displaying large objects and terraces featuring key stories from the collections.

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Large crowds gathered in anticipation and once through the doors the new atrium certainly didn’t disappoint, as well as the iconic objects including a Harrier jet, Spitfire plane and V2 rocket, certain objects such as jeeps overhang from the many terraces.

But the new Imperial War Museum is perhaps less concerned with just military hardware and more concerned with telling the stories of people’s experiences of modern war and conflict.

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Nowhere is this better illustrated is the new First World War Galleries which tell the story of the First World War – how it started, why it continued and its global impact – through the lives of those who experienced it.

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The new First World War Galleries feature over 1,300 objects which consider all aspects of the conflict, the highlights include Paul Nash’s painting of a battle-scarred landscape The Menin Road and the new trench experience which uses state of the art effects to produce a dramatic scenario.

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Other major new exhibitions include Truth & Memory: British Art of the First World War –  featuring powerful  by some of Britain’s most significant First World War artists.

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There is in IWM Contemporary: Mark Neville – a new body of work in response to the war in Afghanistan.

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Other permanent exhibitions  include The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes, Secret War, A Family in Wartime. The Holocaust Exhibition  also re-opens along with our family exhibition Horrible Histories®: Spies.

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The Holocaust Exhibition traces the Nazi persecution and murder of Europe’s Jews from 1933 to 1945. Photographs, documents, newspapers, artefacts, posters and film track the history of this persecution and genocide with toys, diaries, photograph albums, storybooks and hand-made mementos revealing people’s efforts to survive. Testimonies from 18 survivors bring a moving and haunting perspective.

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There is free Admission to the Museum, although there may be some charges to some of the special exhibitions.

 For  more information visit the IWM website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

A Short History of the HMS Belfast

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HMS Belfast

Location –  The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2JH

HMS Belfast is a museum ship under the auspices of the Imperial War Museum, the ship is permanently moored in London on the River Thames near to Tower Bridge. Built by Messrs Harland & Wolff of Belfast in 1936,the ship was launched in 1938. At the ships launch the ship was one of the largest and most powerful light cruiser in the Royal Navy, initially used as part of a blockade against Germany in 1939, the ship hit a German mine and was out of service for the next three years.

For the rest of the War HMS Belfast took part in Artic Convoys to the Soviet Union, Battle of North Cape, the Normandy landings and went to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet. The ship saw further combat in the Korean War between 1950 – 1952 before undergoing a major refit at the end of the 1950s.

In 1967 the ship was due to be scrapped, to prevent this various agencies began the campaign to preserve her a museum ship. Eventually through the creation of the HMS Belfast Trust, the campaign was successful and the ship was moored as a museum for the first time in London in 1971. It became part of the Imperial War Museum in 1978.

On board is a number of exhibitions about different aspects of the ships career using the oral histories of veterans who served on her.

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Admission Prices

Adults £15.50

Child (under 16) Free

Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled) £12.40

IWM Friends Free

For more information or book tickets click here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here