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Visitor Numbers To London Museums And Galleries Fell Massively Last Year, Study Finds

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Visitor Numbers

Visitor numbers fell drastically across London attractions.

It’s no surprise that London’s museums and art galleries suffered a huge drop in visitor numbers last year, but a new study has shown just how drastic the fall was. Using the latest government figures, Diys.com looked at the plummeting visitor numbers for all government-supported museums and galleries from January to September of 2020, and the results were pretty terrifying.

A trio of popular London spots were hit hardest, with Tate Britain, the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, and the Churchill War Rooms all seeing a 78% drop in visitor numbers. They were by no means the only places to see such a steep fall, as the British Museum (76%), the National Gallery (76%), Victoria & Albert Museum (74%), Imperial War Museum (72%), Horniman Museum (72%), and the Science Museum (69%) were also badly hit. Finally, Tate Modern, which became the UK’s top visitor attraction back in 2019, suffered a 72% drop in visitor numbers – seeing 1.2 million visitors from January to September 2020, compared with a whopping 4.5 million in the year prior.

Though tracking numbers from January to September doesn’t provide the full picture for 2020, the fact that London spent November in lockdown, and December mostly in Tier 3 & 4, means that the overall 2020 numbers aren’t likely to be rosy. And whilst the big-name attractions have been hit hard, it’s even more devastating for the smaller London museums and galleries, with the Florence Nightingale Museum already closed indefinitely whilst it undergoes financial restructuring.

Since we’re missing London’s cultural gems something awful, we’re keeping our fingers firmly crossed that we can fill London’s brilliant museums and galleries sooner rather than later. With the likes of a Yayoi Kusama show and a Fantastic Beasts-inspired exhibition amongst the options available to us this year, let’s hope the city’s attractions can make a swift and sustained recovery.

In the meantime, here are some virtual museum and art gallery tours to try online.


Also published on Medium.