The top 5 most visited tourist attractions in the UK last year have just been revealed, and it’s no great surprise that all 5 are in London, following the spectacular London Olympics! Overall there was a 5.1 increase in visitor numbers to attractions in the UK.
1. British Museum – 5,575,946 visitors
The superb British Museum was once again the most popular attraction in the UK – for the sixth year in a row! Over 5.5 million visitors flocked to the museum which has over 8 million pieces in display. The Greek Revival building was established in 1753 and sits on central London’s Great Russell Street, WC1B. The museum has free entry and features a packed exhibition calendar this year as well.
2. Tate Modern – 5,318,688 visitors
The Tate Modern on London’s Bankside remains the most visited modern art gallery on earth with over 5.3 million visitors last year. What’s most remarkable is that the gallery was only established in 2000. The Tate Modern is home to British art dating from 1500 and up to the present day. It’s also home to temporary exhibitions including Damien Hirst’s collection ‘For The Love Of God’ which contributed to the 9% year on year rise in visitor figures. A Kraftwerk show earlier this year crashed the phone lines and website. Admission is free, except for special exhibitions. The Tate Modern together with the Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool ad Tate St Ives, forms the largest collection of its type in Europe. This year’s highlights include Ellen Gallagher: AxME, BMW Tate Live 2013 and Joseph Beuys.
3. National Gallery – 5,163,902 visitors
Located in London’s Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery was founded in 1824. And with over 2,300 paintings, this is the premier collection of western European works in the world. The collection spans from the mid-13th century right through to 1900. Highlights include; Rembrandt and Van Gogh from the Dutch school; Constable, Gainsborough and Hogarth from the English School, Cezanne, Degas and Monet from the French School and Botticelli, Guardi and Titian from the Italian School. Open 7 days a week (Fridays until 9pm) the National Gallery has free entry. This year’s highlights include Michael Landy, Vermeer and Music and Masterpieces from the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
4. Natural History Museum – 5,021,762 visitors
The superb Natural History Museum is housed within a handsome imposing building on London’s Exhibition Road in South Kensington. Open since 1881, the museum received over 5 million visitors last year. The museum holds over 70 million items devoted to life and earth science. It specialises in conservation and taxonomy. Again entry is free, except for special exhibitions. Temporary exhibitions include Sensational Butterflies and Sebastião Salgado.
5. V&A – 3,231,700 visitors
The Victoria and Albert Museum, aka the V&A, has just has it busiest year ever, with 3.2 million visitors last year. Dedicated to decorative arts and design, the museum has an impressive 4.5 million pieces on permanent display. Open in 1852, the museum is named after the former Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Last year visitors flocked to the Hollywood Costume exhibition. This year has a superb lineup including David Bowie, Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s and British Drawings: 1600 to the Present Day.