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London attractions visitor numbers up 12%

London attractions visitor numbers up 12%
5 Mar 2014

Attractions in London enjoyed a huge surge in visitor numbers of 12% last year, according to newly released figures.

Data from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show that this was double the UK-wide average increase of 6% year on year. 

The biggest success story in the capital was the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, which welcomed 29% more people through its gates in 2013 than in 2012. This is being attributed to the prolonged sunny weather last summer, which saw an 8% average increase in visitors across the UK's outdoor attractions.

However, despite Kew's uptick, the British Museum remained the most popular visitor attraction for the 7th year running. In total, 6,701,036 people (+20%) passed through its doors - making 2013 the museum's best year yet. 

A 14% increase in visitors saw the National Gallery improve to second overall, with the Natural History Museum also moving up one place to third. 

'I believe this reflects the enduring appeal of museums, and our events and exhibitions showcasing our unparalleled collections and research,' commented the director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Michael Dixon.

'It also shows the continued success of the free admission policy and the public's real interest in science and environmental issues.'

Other notable performers were London Zoo (+26%); St Paul's Cathedral (+19%); the Tower of London (+18%); and the Tower Bridge Exhibition (+17%). 

Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA, predicted another stellar year for London's attractions in 2014 and tipped the Globe Theatre on Bankside to see a significant increase in visitors on the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth, along with the Imperial War Museum, as the World War I centenary events get underway. 

However, major 'newsworthy' exhibitions such as 'Vikings: life and legend' could see the British Museum retain its crown for the eighth year in a row in 2014. The Viking display, which features a huge longship, opens tomorrow (6 March) and runs until 22 June. ADNFCR-408-ID-801700465-ADNFCR

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