The Natural History Museum moves up from fourth to third most popular place to visit among ALVA members.
The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today announced the UK league table comprised from its member institutions of visitor's favourite free places.
London attractions saw a 12 per cent increase in visitors in 2013, with the Natural History Museum moving up from fourth place in 2012 to third place in 2013, climbing above the Tate Modern for the first time, which moves down to number four.
The record number of visits was 5,356,884 in 2013, an increase of 6.7 per cent.
The British Museum remained in first place, with the National Gallery second. Our neighbour the Science Museum came in at number five, with an increase of 10.9 per cent.
Museum director Dr Michael Dixon thanked visitors for their interest in the Museum and in science and environmental issues.
He said the record breaking number of visitors to the Museum reflected the enduring appeal of museums and particularly events and exhibitions at the Natural History Museum that showcase its unparalleled collections and research.
'It also shows the continued success of the free admission policy,' Dr Dixon said.
The most popular visited free attraction outside London was the National Museum of Scotland. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew saw a huge increase of 29 per cent in visitors, with the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey all having a successful year.
Bernard Donoghue, Director of AVLA, predicted that 2014 will be a momentous year, seeing the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare.
ALVA's 56 members include museums, galleries, castles, zoos, heritage sites and gardens. London's Shakespeare Globe theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon are the among ALVA's newest members.