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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.
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