The British Museum was the most popular attraction in Britain during 2015, with almost seven million people passing through its doors. But it was only one of the Top Ten attractions in Britain that are all London-based.
The British Museum in London at the top of the list is followed by The National Gallery, Natural History Museum and Southbank Centre. Then, there are the Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Somerset House, Tower of London and, last but not least, the National Portrait Gallery.
“More people visited the V&A, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum (all in South Kensington), combined, than visited Venice,” says Bernard Donoghue, Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). “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.
“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. Throughout the year, several 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 appeal of the British Museum is that, wherever you come from in the world, you know that you are going to see something of your culture represented there. It’s like a one-stop shop for knowing Britain’s place in the world and the world’s place in Britain. In recent years it has been very innovative in its temporary exhibitors from Pompeii to Vikings to Celts. The way they have been curated and presented and the way they have been marketed has been a real lesson in excellence.”