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Visitors flock to London attractions


Visitors flock to London attractions: Tate

03 April 2019

  • Tate Modern was the most visited attraction in the UK in 2018 
  • Top 10 most visited attractions are London-based 

London’s visitor attractions have welcomed 67, 640, 804 people – nearly the equivalent of the total population of the UK, according to statistics released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today.

The news comes the day after TripAdvisor’s online community hailed London as the world’s best-rated destination in the 2019 Traveller’s Choice Awards.

With the top ten attractions being based in London, and an increase of 3.37% in visitors, 2018 has been another successful year for the capital’s much-loved attractions.

Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, which runs VisitLondon said, “I am delighted that this data shows London’s world-famous attractions continuing to entice and captivate visitors from all over the world. London’s attractions are so important to our global appeal, with London recently being named World’s Best Destination 2019 in the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice awards. And we have an exciting year ahead, with major events such as the Cricket World Cup, city-wide projects like the magical Illuminated River display, Van Gogh at Tate Britain and Mary Poppins on stage - to name just a few!”

The most visited attraction in the UK was Tate Modern with 5,868,562 visits. This could be linked to the 2016 Switch House extension, which is still attracting much attention, as well as the hugely popular exhibition Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy. The British Museum saw a slight decrease of 1.3% to second place at 5,828,552, although the public will have had the opportunity to see some of its objects outside of London in 2018 through major touring exhibitions. Seeing a 9% increase, the National Gallery remained in third place with 5,735,831 visits after staging the works of the ‘father of impressionism’ in Monet & Architecture - the first exhibition devoted to Claude Monet’s relationship with architecture.

Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, commented: “2018 was a great year for London’s attractions. Visitors from home and abroad flocked to London’s world class cultural assets, in fact ALVA’s London members welcomed the equivalent of the population of the UK. Tourism is such a major part of the London economy, and a huge employer, and we know that overseas visitors say that our attractions are their number 1 reason to visit the UK. This year we’re working with the Mayor and London & Partners to promote London to Londoners and to remind all of us what amazing attractions we have across London, in every borough.”

For more information about what’s on in London, go to

Top 20 ALVA attractions 2018:

Overall 2018 Overall 2017 Site Country Region Number % Notes
1 2 Tate Modern England London 5,868,562 3.7  
2 1 British Museum England London 5,828,552 -1.3  
3 3 National Gallery England London 5,735,831 9.7  
4 4 NHM (South Kensington) England London 5,226,320 18  
5 7 Southbank Centre England London 4,451,934 31.73 Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room
6 5 V&A South Kensington England London 3,967,566 5  
7 6 Science Museum England London 3,174,963 -2.4  
8 8 Somerset House England London 3,143,626 -2.47  
9 9 Tower of London England London 2,858,336 0.5  
10 10 Royal Museums Greenwich England London 2,549,833 -2  
11 11 National Museum of Scotland Scotland   2,227,773 3  
12 12 Edinburgh Castle Scotland   2,111,578 2  
13 13 Chester Zoo England England EX 1,969,768 5.5  
14 14 Royal Botanic Gardens Kew England London 1,858,513 3.4  
15 20 Royal Albert Hall England London 1,751,317 1  
16 16 Scottish National Gallery Scotland   1,739,128 9  
17 18 St Paul's Cathedral England London 1,657,446 5.5  
18 30 Royal Academy England London 1,594,140 52  
19 25 National Portrait Gallery England London 1,586,451 -6.6  
20 17 Stonehenge England England EX 1,555,868 -1.7  

Notes to editors

About ALVA:

ALVA’s Members are the UK's most popular, iconic and important museums, galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, zoos, historic houses, heritage sites, gardens and leisure attractions. The 70 ALVA members manage some nearly 2,200 tourist sites and welcome over 119 million domestic and overseas visitors each year; some 28% of the visits made annually in the United Kingdom.

For further information on ALVA and to download images,

please visit

Twitter @alva_uk

For further Press Information and to arrange interviews, please contact

Rachel Aked

Tel: 07790 732448


About London & Partners and is the official visitor guide to London and is run by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency. London & Partners’ purpose is to support the Mayor’s priorities by promoting London internationally as a leading world city in which to invest, work, study and visit. is a comprehensive resource for everything that is happening in London. At any one time, this includes 20,000 event listings, plus content designed to inspire and assist visitors. Each month attracts more than 3.5m visits and its social media channels have 1.75m followers. 

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Jodie Byford - Communications Manager (Education, Leisure, Tourism)

London & Partners Media & PR Team

Tel:+44 (0)20 7234 5710

Tel:+44 (0)20 7234 5800