Visitors flock to London attractions

  • Tate Modern was the most visited attraction in the UK in 2018
  • Top 10 most visited attractions are London-based

London’s visitor attractions have welcomed 67, 640, 804 people – nearly the equivalent of the total population of the UK, according to statistics released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today.

The news comes the day after TripAdvisor’s online community hailed London as the world’s best-rated destination in the 2019 Traveller’s Choice Awards.

With the top ten attractions being based in London, and an increase of 3.37% in visitors, 2018 has been another successful year for the capital’s much-loved attractions.

Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, which runs VisitLondon said, “I am delighted that this data shows London’s world-famous attractions continuing to entice and captivate visitors from all over the world. London’s attractions are so important to our global appeal, with London recently being named World’s Best Destination 2019 in the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice awards. And we have an exciting year ahead, with major events such as the Cricket World Cup, city-wide projects like the magical Illuminated River display, Van Gogh at Tate Britain and Mary Poppins on stage – to name just a few!”

The most visited attraction in the UK was Tate Modern with 5,868,562 visits. This could be linked to the 2016 Switch House extension, which is still attracting much attention, as well as the hugely popular exhibition Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy. The British Museum saw a slight decrease of 1.3% to second place at 5,828,552, although the public will have had the opportunity to see some of its objects outside of London in 2018 through major touring exhibitions. Seeing a 9% increase, the National Gallery remained in third place with 5,735,831 visits after staging the works of the ‘father of impressionism’ in Monet & Architecture – the first exhibition devoted to Claude Monet’s relationship with architecture.

Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, commented: “2018 was a great year for London’s attractions. Visitors from home and abroad flocked to London’s world class cultural assets, in fact ALVA’s London members welcomed the equivalent of the population of the UK. Tourism is such a major part of the London economy, and a huge employer, and we know that overseas visitors say that our attractions are their number 1 reason to visit the UK. This year we’re working with the Mayor and London & Partners to promote London to Londoners and to remind all of us what amazing attractions we have across London, in every borough.”

For more information about what’s on in London, go to

Top 20 ALVA attractions 2018:

Overall 2018Overall 2017SiteCountryRegionNumber%Notes
12Tate ModernEnglandLondon5,868,5623.7
21British MuseumEnglandLondon5,828,552-1.3
33National GalleryEnglandLondon5,735,8319.7
44NHM (South Kensington)EnglandLondon5,226,32018
57Southbank CentreEnglandLondon4,451,93431.73Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room
65V&A South KensingtonEnglandLondon3,967,5665
76Science MuseumEnglandLondon3,174,963-2.4
88Somerset HouseEnglandLondon3,143,626-2.47
99Tower of LondonEnglandLondon2,858,3360.5
1010Royal Museums GreenwichEnglandLondon2,549,833-2
1111National Museum of ScotlandScotland2,227,7733
1212Edinburgh CastleScotland2,111,5782
1313Chester ZooEnglandEngland EX1,969,7685.5
1414Royal Botanic Gardens KewEnglandLondon1,858,5133.4
1520Royal Albert HallEnglandLondon1,751,3171
1616Scottish National GalleryScotland1,739,1289
1718St Paul’s CathedralEnglandLondon1,657,4465.5
1830Royal AcademyEnglandLondon1,594,14052
1925National Portrait GalleryEnglandLondon1,586,451-6.6
2017StonehengeEnglandEngland EX1,555,868-1.7