ALVA report on Visitor Numbers 2013


Visitors Return to London in 2013 - Outdoor attractions saw an 8% increase.


06 March 2014

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) announced its members' visitor figures for 2013 today (Wednesday, March 5, 2014), which saw an average increase of 6% on 2012 visitor numbers. London attractions had a 12% increase, followed by England and Scotland, both with a 5% improvement.

The glorious summer had an affect on Outdoor Attractions, with an 8% increase, while Indoor locations had a 5% increase. 67 out of 197 ALVA member venues had an increase of more than 10% in their attendance figures, compared to 16 out of 200 in 2012. Only 18 out of 197 saw a decrease of more than a 10%, in contrast to 2012, when 33 of the 200 locations experienced a double-digit decline.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew saw a magnificent improvement of 29% in their visitor numbers, while Cliveden was among several National Trust properties that saw an increase (21%) and Chatsworth House was the most visited of the Treasure Houses of England with 644,817 visitors. Following a three-year project including the enlargement and refurbishment of the restaurant and introduction of a large free car park, visitor farm, miniature railway and unique children’s’ adventure play area, Hatfield House, also a member of the Treasure Houses of England, saw a 35% increase.

The British Museum remained the most popular visitor attraction for the 7th year running with a 20% increase in its visitor numbers to 6,701,036 – making it the museum’s most successful year on record. Exhibitions such as Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum undoubtedly had an impact on numbers, as did the success of Ice Age Art: arrival of the modern mind and Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese Art. In 2nd place, compared to 3rd in the 2012 figures, was the National Gallery, which saw a 14% increase to 6,031,574 and in 3rd place, was the Natural History Museum, compared to 4th in 2012, with 5,356,884.

Association of Leading Visitor Attractions Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Michael Dixon said: “Last year was another record breaking one for the Natural History Museum. I believe this reflects the enduring appeal of museums, and our events and exhibitions showcasing our unparalleled collections and research. It also shows the continued success of the free admission policy and the public’s real interest in science and environmental issues. I want to thank all our 2013 visitors for contributing to this significant achievement.”

The most popular visited free attraction outside London was the National Museum of Scotland, which saw 1,768,090 visitors in 2013, while Edinburgh Castle was the most popular paid for attraction outside London with 1,420,027 visitors, following an increase of 15%.

Zoos continued to attract substantial visitors - Chester Zoo was the most popular attraction in England outside London with 1,409,249 visitors and the opening of Tiger Territory at ZSL London Zoo assisted in a 26% increase to 1,294,483. Edinburgh Zoo, who became a member of ALVA last year, bucked the trend of a giant panda zoo in year two, seeing only a small decrease of 6%; their visitor numbers still remain 40% higher than pre-panda visitor numbers.

The Library of Birmingham’s stunning new building saw a staggering 1,152,556 people through its doors in just four months, and the opening of the Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in May, resulted in a 55% increase in their annual figures. The National Railway Museum in York organised a worldfirst by getting Mallard together with all five remaining sister A4-class locomotives from across the globe; this resulted in a huge 30% increase in visitors to 931,000.

The Tower of London had an 18% increase in visitor numbers, St Paul’s Cathedral had a 19% rise and Westminster Abbey had its most successful year on record.

Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, commented: “2014 is sure to be a momentous year seeing the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare, therefore we are delighted that Shakespeare's Globe, London and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, along with the South Bank Centre, London, are ALVA's newest members. In 2013, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust saw a 11.5% increase in visitor numbers, and they will build on this in 2014 by launching a brand new exhibition ‘Famous Beyond Words’ later this month.

The 100th Anniversary of World War 1 will be commemorated with the re-opening of IWM London, part of Imperial War Museums, in July 2014 and the recently refurbished Tate Britain will no doubt see strong visitor numbers too.

For a limited time only, the Coronation Street cobbles at the soap's former home at the Quay Street site in Manchester will be open to the public this spring. Continuum is working with ITV to develop a behind the scenes, guided tour based around actual sets and props used in filming at the Manchester site over the last 53 years following the move of its production to MediaCityUK. Forthcoming newsworthy exhibitions include Vikings: life and legend at the British Museum which starts tomorrow (March 6 and runs until June 22) which is set to be a big-seller. The V&A’s The Glamour of Italian Fashion: 1945-2014, which starts on April 5 will attract the crowds as will Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery, which starts later this month.”

For further information on ALVA and to download images, please visit www.alva.org.uk Twitter @alva_uk

For further Press Information and to arrange interviews, please contact Rachel Aked Rachel@rachelaked.co.uk Tel: 07790 732448

NOTES TO EDITORS: ALVA's 56 members are the UK's most popular, iconic and important museums, galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, zoos, historic houses, heritage sites, gardens and leisure attractions. They comprise over 2000 tourist sites, hosting over 100 million domestic and overseas visitors each year - around 25% of the visits made annually in the UK.