British visitor attractions swerved 'Olympic drag' but cold weather has taken its toll
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Tuesday 12 March 2013
UK’s leading attractions managed to shrug off the feared “Olympic drag” on visitor numbers last year, but for those with outdoor spaces it was the freezing weather conditions that took their toll.
The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva) today published figures which showed blockbuster shows drove millions of people to the biggest museums and galleries in the country.
The British Museum remained the top visitor attraction in the UK for the sixth year in a row, with 5.5 million visitors, although that was 4.7 per cent lower than a year earlier.
Bernard Donoghue, director of Alva, said that while there was a decline in visitors during the Olympics, “the recovery was almost immediate after the Games left town”.
Tate Modern enjoyed its most successful single artist show since opening in 2000 with the major Damien Hirst retrospective. The show helped drive visitors by almost a tenth to 5.3 million and lift the gallery up a place from 2011 into second most popular.
The V&A in South Kensington had its best year, rising 16 per cent to 3.2 million viewers driven by its Hollywood Costume and British Design exhibitions.
Yet of the 30 sites that saw declines of more than a tenth, 27 were gardens or outside attractions.
These included the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, which dropped 14 per cent to 1 million visitors and London Zoo, down 10 per cent to 974,400. Castles and parks were among those to take the hit from the weather.
Several of the big risers benefitted from easier comparisons as a result of the venues re-opening after refurbishment or opening for the first time.
The only venue to crack the top 10 from outside of London was the National Museum of Scotland, where visitors rose almost 30 per cent to 1.8 million.
The strong performance from the only Scottish attraction to ever hit Alva’s top 10, came after the museum re-opened in July 2011.
Kensington Palace received a 41 per cent boost after its refurbishment, while the new Museum of Liverpool’s numbers rose 53 per cent as it had only opened in July 2011.
Mr Donoghue said 2013 was a “promising year” with Greenwich likely to attract fans of the movie Les Miserables to one of its backdrops at the Old Royal Naval College.
Among other heritage openings will be the £35m plan to build a museum to house the Mary Rose in Portsmouth and the new Stonehenge galleries and visitor centre.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after that Wembley Stadium rant
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Mortdecai becomes Johnny Depp's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Last Tango in Halifax, review: Can we ever really move on from Kate?
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'