Association of Leading Visitor Attractions: London dominates list of best UK visitor attractions led by the National Gallery

Jessica Morris
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The red poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate WW1 (Source: Getty)

The lure of the British Museum as well as that of the National Portrait Gallery continued to ensure London sites topped a list of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK.

In what was a bumper year for British culture, the total number of people visiting attractions jumped 6.5 per cent, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions said today.

Inside the British Museum (Source: Getty)

The British Museum held onto its crown as the UK's most popular attraction for the eighth consecutive year, with 6,695,213 visitors flooding through its doors in 2014. The museum, which is located in the leafy Russell Square, showcases world artefacts stretching from Ancient Egypt to the present day.

The National Gallery took second place, after a 6.4 per cent increase in the number of visitors to 6,416,724. It hosted a number of impressive exhibitions such as Rembrandt: The Late Works featuring paintings, etchings and drawings from the last two decades' of the artists' life.

Outside of the Southbank Centre (Source: Getty)

The Southbank Centre, an artistic venue overlooking the Thames, was included for the first time. It pulled in 6,255,799 visitors - securing third place.

Another success story was the sea of ceramic poppies which swept across the moat of the Tower of London earlier this month, helping it to capture the imaginations of 3,075,950 visitors last year.

But Scotland saw the greatest overall increase in the number of visitor attractions, jumping almost 10 per cent. "The Commonwealth Games didn't just fly the flag for Glasgow but drew visitors to Scotland's attractions," it said.

A general view of Edinburgh Castle (Source: Getty)

The National Museum of Scotland was the most visited free attraction in Scotland with 1,639,509 visitors, and it also was the most visited museum outside of London.

Edinburgh Castle was the paid-for attraction with the highest number of visitors outside London, pulling in 1,480,676 visitors, and representing a 4 per cent increase.

It was buoyed by the The Commonwealth Games, which was held in Glagow and lasted 11 days. England topped the medals table for the first time in 28 years with 174 medals, while Scotland and Wales also had their best games.

"Scotland's impressive visitor figures - which outperform the rest of the UK - are proof of the need for, and of the successful investment strategy by the Scottish government, local government and the Heritage Lottery Fund in investing in tourism - Scotland's most important industry," Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, said.

SiteTotal visits
The British Museum6,695,213
The National Gallery6,416,724
Southbank Centre6,255,799
Tate Modern5,785,427
Natural History Museum5,388,295
Science Museum3,356,072
V&A, South Kensington3,180,450
Tower of London3,075,950
Somerset House2,463,201
The Library of Birmingham2,463,201

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