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Published on : Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Over 65 million people visited attractions in London last year and the Top 10 most visited attractions in ALVA’s list were all London based. The British Museum continued to be the most popular visitor attraction overall for the 9th year running with 6,820,686 visitors and remaining in 2nd place was the National Gallery with 5,908,254 visitors. 3rd place was achieved by the Natural History Museum, which saw 5,284,023 visitors.
Overall there was an average increase of 1.61% on 2014 visitor numbers to London attractions.
Temporary Exhibitions played a crucial part in this year’s figures throughout the UK. The largest increase in visitor numbers in the top 10 attractions was Somerset House, which saw an increase of 31% (3,235,104 & 8th place) – mainly as a result of their temporary exhibitions and public programmes. In addition the National Maritime Museum saw a 10.6% increase following the opening of the new AHOY! Children’s Gallery and their family-focused exhibitions such as Against Captain’s Orders last summer and the Royal Academy credited their 33% increase to Ai Weiwei plus the hugely popular Summer exhibition. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, which closed in August was the V&A’s most visited exhibition with 493,043 people seeing it in total during its 21-week run. For the final two weekends, the V&A opened the exhibition throughout the night for the first time in its history to accommodate unprecedented demand. Also hugely popular with the visitors and press was Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon at the National Portrait Gallery.
Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, commented: “2015 continued to be a record year mainly due to our members continuing to show how diverse the UK is to both domestic and overseas visitors. More people visited the V&A, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, combined, than visited Venice. More people visited the British Museum and the National Gallery, combined, than visited Barcelona and more people visited the Southbank Centre, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, combined, than visited Hong Kong.”
He continued; “The current weakness of the £ to the $ and Euro is making the UK a more affordable destination and 2016 is on target to be another memorable year for ALVA members, Vogue 100: A Century of Style runs at the National Portrait Gallery until May 22; ZSL London Zoo unveiling Land of the Lions to the public on March 25, this will be a brand new Indian-inspired home for Asiatic lions. The British Museum’s major summer exhibition is the BP exhibition Sunken cities: Egypt’s lost worlds, which opens on 19 May, while the highly anticipated extension at the Tate Modern will be opening on June 17. Wolfgang Buttress’ award winning 17 metre high installation, The Hive from the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015 will be coming to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in June and later in the year, Tate Britain will host an exhibition devoted to David Hockney.”
“Throughout the year, several of our members will be marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, notably the Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre & Swan Theatre and Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon- Avon, plus the British Library has a major new exhibition opening on April 15, Shakespeare in Ten Acts, and an extensive Shakespeare events programme. The centenary of Battle of Jutland will be a focus for the National Museum of the Royal Navy (Portsmouth) in collaboration with Imperial War Museum with an exhibition 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, the Battle that won the war which opens on May 12 and, separately, the National Maritime Museum with Jutland: The Battle and its Legacies which opens on May 20.”
Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, said: “London’s world-famous visitor attractions cement the capital’s status as a cultural powerhouse and are a huge draw for international tourists. Last year, over 65 million people saw London’s spectacular cultural offering first-hand and we hope to smash this record in 2016. Visitors to the capital this year will be treated to an array of exhibitions, events and entertainment, including celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday, Shakespeare400, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and EXHIBITIONISM – the first major exhibition on the Rolling Stones.”