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Tate Modern Has Overtaken The British Museum As The UK’s Top Visitor Attraction

By Georgie Hoole

University guide London: art

Move over British Museum, it’s all about the Tate now.

For the first time in ten years, the British Museum has been knocked off its shiny throne. The Tate Modern has actually overtaken the popular London museum, becoming the most popular visitor attraction in the UK. (Feature image: d_morfis

New figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show that nearly 5.9 million people visited the Tate Modern last year, compared to the 5.8 million who visited the British Museum. OK, yes, there’s really not much in it, but it’s pretty big news considering we haven’t had anything new in the top spot for a decade.

The top ten attractions are all in London (big up), although the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle come in at eleventh and twelfth place.

Visitors to the Tate Modern rose 3.7% in 2018 — perhaps thanks to big, blockbuster exhibitions by Picasso and Modigliani. Visits to the British Museum on the other hand, fell by 1.3%. Within the top ten, the Southbank Centre saw the most significant growth in visitors (31.73%), followed by the Natural History Museum (18%).

tate modern black and white staircase
Tate Modern (Photo: duncan c)

However, the biggest growth in visitors overall was at Liverpool’s World Museum, which jumped a massive 111%. This is likely to be down to the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, which showcased objects from one of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries: an army of life-sized terracotta warriors that guarded the tomb of China’s First Emperor for over 2,000 years.

Check out London’s long list of winning (and free!) museums here.


Also published on Medium.