British Museum remains most visited attraction in the UK

By Tom Horton, PA

The British Museum has maintained its position as the most popular visitor attraction in the UK after it was visited more than 6.2 million times last year, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva).

The London museum increased its visitors by 7% from 2018 thanks to the success of its exhibitions which included a display of the work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, the organisation said.

The Tate Modern and the National Gallery finished second and third in the rankings respectively, with each attraction being visited more than six million times.

The Tate Modern gallery was ranked second (John Walton/PA)

Bernard Donoghue, director of Alva, said: “The UK’s leading visitor attractions had a great 2019 largely due to a record number of overseas visitors to the UK, more UK residents holidaying at home and re-discovering the wealth of collections, places and experiences we have, and some blockbuster exhibitions.

“These figures also show the importance of tourism to local, regional and national economies and the vast number of jobs tourism creates and supports in every constituency in the UK.

“All of the staff at attractions, whether paid or volunteers, front or back of house, not only create jobs and economic growth, they also create the backdrop for peoples’ happiest memories.”

The Natural History Museum also ranked highly (John Walton/PA)

All of the top 11 most visited attractions are in London, with the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Tower of London all featuring high up the list.

The two best-placed attractions outside of the capital are the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle.

Mr Donoghue added that visitor attractions are currently suffering because of the coronavirus outbreak.

He said: “We continue to be delighted by the strength and popularity of our members – as evidenced by last year’s figures, however we cannot hide from the current situation – that nearly 95% of all Alva members had to close at the end of last week.

“Visitor attractions are creative and resilient and we would encourage people who are self-isolating at home to go online to visit our members’ website, to discover their extraordinary online collections and start creating their own cultural bucket list of places to explore and visit when they reopen.”