The Natural History Museum was the most popular indoor attraction in the UK in 2021 © The Trustees of The Natural History Museum, London

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Natural History Museum Most Visited UK Museum in 2021

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has released the visitor figures of its members for 2021 today (Friday, March 18, 2022), revealing the Natural History Museum achieved a 21% increase in attendance with 1,571,413 visitors last year making it the most popular indoor attraction in the UK.

Museum Director Doug Gurr says: “I couldn’t be prouder of these phenomenal figures given the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic – not least the closure of the Museum for more than five months. It is testament to the hard work and resilience of all our staff who ensured visitors had the same world-class welcome and experience as well as the innovative public programme offering which included three temporary exhibitions: Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It, Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature and Wildlife Photographer of the Year. We are grateful to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for their much-needed ongoing support which enabled us to achieve these figures, this will remain critical as we continue our recovery.”

The Museum is continuing to see strong visitor attendance in 2022 so far, having already surpassed 2 million visitors for the financial year. Ticketing will remain in place for general admittance to help maintain comfortable capacity levels, reduce queuing, and ensure the best possible experience for visitors. 

Director of Public Programmes Alex Burch adds: “We have an exciting year ahead of us - we’re looking forward to introducing a whole new generation to the nation’s favourite dinosaur with Dippy Returns opening in May and the beginning of the transformation of our gardens as part of the Urban Nature Project. As part of our drive to become a more inclusive Museum we are continuing to develop our community programme and exploring ways to engage underserved audiences.”

Natural History Museum visitor numbers

  • Despite over five months of closure, 2021 saw a 21% increase in attendance with 1,571,413 visitors
  • October half-term (25– 3 October) was the busiest week of 2021, with 90,000 visitors and admission tickets selling out across the week
  • 98% of available tickets were booked in peak periods (weekends and school holidays) throughout 2021
  • February half-term week (14-20 Feb 2022) saw a total of 82,000 visitors (60% of the total visitors in Feb half-term 2020, despite still operating on a reduced capacity).
  • The Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature exhibition, developed in partnership with the BBC and Warner Bros. had 128,000 visitors in 2021 and 135,000 overall - our second most successful in gallery exhibition after Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  • The Museum’s critically acclaimed free display Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It display which engages visitors with the planetary emergency, has already been seen by 500,000 visitors and is open for another five months
  • The exhibition of the Museum’s world-renowned photography exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year has already been seen by over 75,000 visitors so far – and is still open for another three months

Visit Highlights for 2022


  • Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It and Wildlife Photographer of the Year 57 will be available to visit until 5 June and late summer 2022 respectively
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year 58 opens in October 2022
  • Dippy Returns, the nation’s favourite dinosaur, is back for a limited time at the Natural History Museum, London, the free installation opens 27 May 2022. Visitors can register now to be the first to know when free tickets are available to book


  • The Museum’s sell-out visitor events are running throughout the year, including the perennially popular Dino Snores for Kids, Dino Snores for Grown-ups, Silent Discos, Yoga at the Museum, Adventure Babies, Behind the Scenes Spirit Collection Tour
  • New additions for 2022 include Out-of-hours Dinotours and Bring Your Own Baby nature talks for those with tiny ones in tow
  • Dawnosaurs: Relaxed Morning Visits are also back in full swing for children with neurodiverse conditions (including autism and other sensory processing difficulties) to enjoy with their family, free from the hustle and bustle of the general public.
  • Later this month, the first in-person Lates since 2020 will be a special evening of gaming inspired by science and the natural world – Lates: Playful by Nature. In this free evening event on Friday 25 March, visitors can speak to Museum scientists and game developers and highlights include a video game zone, a board game zone and talks from scientists on play behaviour in humans and our animal relatives

Highlighting Histories Tours

  • Launching this month are brand-new Women in Science tours, the first of a future series, Highlighting Histories, which will be shining a light on marginalised and historically underrepresented voices - sharing fascinating stories, inspiring achievements and contributions to natural history. The Women in Science tour will take in historical figures such as pioneering palaeontologist Dorothea Bate as well as the too often untold story of the role indigenous and enslaved women played in the foundation of Museum collections and will feature some of the Museum’s current scientists



Natural History Media contact: Tel: 0779 969 0151 Email:

Notes to Editors

About the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.

The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. Our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.