ALVA releases list of most visited UK attractions for 2012
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ALVA releases list of most visited UK attractions for 2012

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Attractions in Liverpool and Scotland have experienced noticeable increases in popularity, according to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) which detail the most popular UK attractions in 2012.

The annual list is still, however, dominated by London attractions and was topped by the British Museum, which despite a 4.7 per cent drop in visitor numbers on the previous year drew 5,575,946 total visits.

The Tate Modern, National Gallery, Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert rounded out the top five.

Blockbuster exhibitions such as the Damien Hirst retrospective at the Tate Modern and the Hollywood Costume at the V&A are credited with continuing to pull the crowds to the capital’s attractions.

The National Museum of Scotland was the only attraction outside London to make it into ALVA’s top 10 recording 1,893,521 total visits.

That figure is up 29 per cent on 2011, when the museum reopened its doors following a £47.4m refurbishment.

Edinburgh Castle was the second most popular paid-for attraction outside London, bringing in 1,230,177 visitors, while Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow was the most popular combined art gallery and museum in the UK, attracting 1,037,594 up 5.8 per cent on 2011.

In Liverpool, the city experienced its most successful year ever with over 3.3m visits – more than it achieved in its year as the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The Museum of Liverpool, which opened in July 2011, saw one of the largest increases in visitor numbers, up 53 per cent to 1,011,056 visits.

ALVA reports this had a “halo effect” on other museums in the city which also experienced noticeable jumps in visitor numbers with the Tate Liverpool attracting a 6 per cent increase, the International Slavery Museum up 9 per cent and the Lady Lever Art Gallery up 7 per cent.

Across the country, 30 attractions saw a double digit decline and 27 of these were gardens or outdoor sites – attributed to last year’s poor weather.

Director of ALVA Bernard Donoghue said while there was a decline in visitors to attractions during London 2012, the recovery was almost immediate after the Games wrapped up.

He predicted 2013 would be a popular year for The Old Naval College in Greenwich, which served as a backdrop to the popular film adaptation of Les Miserables.

He anticipated the opening of the £35m Portsmouth museum to house historic ship the Mary Rose would also prove popular.

ALVA’s 44 members manage almost 2,000 tourist sites across the UK, including museums, galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, zoos, historic houses, heritage sites, gardens and leisure attractions.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain said: “With the majority of museums and galleries free of charge, Britian offers unparalleled attractions at fantastic value, reaffirming our position as one of the most competitive countries in the world to visit.”

Top 10 most popular UK visitor attractions in 2012 (change from 2011 in brackets):

British Museum 5,575,946 (-4.70 per cent)

Tate Modern 5,318,688 (9 per cent) National Gallery 5,163,902 (-2 per cent)

Natural History Museum 5,021,762 (3.05 per cent)V&A 3,231,700 (16 per cent)

Science Museum South Kensington 2,989,000 (3.50 per cent)Tower of London 2,444,296 (-4.30 per cent)

National Portrait Gallery 2,096,858 (12 per cent)National Museum of Scotland 1,893,521 (29.11 per cent)

St Paul's Cathedral 1,789,974 (-2 per cent)

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Liverpool and Scotland attractions have experienced noticeable increases in popularity according to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) detailing the most popular UK attractions in 2012.
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