The Natural History Museum was the most visited London attraction in 2022, according to statistics released today, with nine of the top 10 most popular points of interest for UK visitors in London.
Boasting an impressive collection of specimens from across the natural world, including dinosaur bones and fossils, the NHM was the country’s most-visited indoor attraction, with 4.65 million visitors, up 196% on the previous year. previous year, according to numbers released by the Association of Major Tourist Attractions.
Dippy, the Diplodocus returns to the Natural History Museum in London
Close behind are the British Museum with 4.1 million visits – a 209% increase on last year – then the Tate Modern (3.88 million visitors) and the Southbank Center (2.95 million visitors).
ALVA, today revealed that there were a total number of 123.4 million visitors across the 2,000 sites it covers – most of the largest in the UK – in 2022. That’s a 69% increase in visitors across the country compared to last year, demonstrating that despite the downturn in the cost of living, tourists and locals alike are still eager to engage with culture.
“These figures show that visitors have returned to their favorite places in 2022 to breathe, heal, repair and enjoy special moments with special people in special places,” said Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA.
But while visitor numbers have increased from 2021 data, there was still a 23% drop from pre-pandemic 2019 data, when there were 161.2 million visitors to ALVA sites. The cost of living crisis is also reflected in the numbers, with free admission attractions registering a 183% increase in visitors against the 101% recorded by paid attractions.
“We are still experiencing the tourism equivalent of ‘long Covid’ with many attractions still not returning to 2019 visitor levels due, mainly, to the absence of international visitors, particularly from China and the Far East,” added Donoghue. “But I’m confident they will come back this year and we will see a continued healthy recovery.”
Museums and galleries in particular have seen a surge in visits this year, with 158% more visits than in 2021. Meanwhile, London has seen a 152% increase in visits compared to last year’s figures.
The National Gallery came in sixth place in the top 10, with 2.73 million visitors. Followed by the V&A, which had 2.37 million visitors, Somerset House, with 2.35 million visitors and the Science Museum, with 2.33 million visitors.
The Design Museum, in Kensington, has seen the biggest increase in visitor numbers of any attraction, a massive 515% increase on last year’s figures.
The most visited tourist attraction in the country was The Crown Estate in Windsor, with 5.63 million visitors, while the tenth place goes to the Tower of London, which recorded 2.02 million visitors.
In Scotland, the most popular attraction was the National Museum of Scotland, with 1.97 million visitors, and in Northern Ireland, the most visited attraction was Titanic Belfast, with 624,300 visitors. In Wales the most visited site was Bodnant Garden in Conwy, with 270,300 visitors.
The top 10 visitor attractions visited in the UK in 2022 were:
1. The Crown Estate, Windsor Great Park
2. Natural History Museum
3. The British Museum
4. Tate Modern
5. Southbank Centre
6. The National Gallery
7. Victoria & Albert
8. Somerset House
9. Science Museum
10. Tower of London