London's Natural History Museum named most visited indoor UK attraction

In 2022, the museum had more than three million visitors above the previous year’s figure

The Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London. PA
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For the second consecutive year, the Natural History Museum was the most visited indoor attraction in the UK, research shows.

A report by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions found the London museum had 4,654,608 visitors last year, more than three million above the previous year’s figure of 1,571,413.

The South Kensington museum was closed for five months in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are thrilled to have become the UK’s most popular indoor attraction for a second year running," said the Natural History Museum’s director, Doug Gurr.

“It is testament to our innovative and inspiring public programme of events and exhibitions, which included Our Broken Planet: How we Got Here and Ways to Fix it, Dippy Returns and Wildlife Photographer of the Year, as well as the dedication of our visitor experience team who work so hard to ensure visitors have a brilliant day out.”

The October half-term period was the busiest week for the museum, with 139,798 visitors.

Dippy, the Natural History Museum's famous diplodocus skeleton. PA

Among the popular attractions that drew in crowds was the return of Dippy the Dinosaur after a four-year tour of the UK.

The 26-metre plaster cast of a diplodocus skeleton, which was first put on display in the London museum in 1905, was seen by 1,060,813 visitors when it came back as part of a new installation from late May 2022 to January 2023.

The Our Broken Planet: How we Got Here and Ways to Fix It display, which engaged audiences with the planetary emergency, was seen by 1.2 million visitors during its run from May 2021 to August 2022.

The popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition attracted 148,671 visitors.

Children draw at the Natural History Museum for the launch of The Wild Escape, a major national campaign led by the Art Fund against threats to the UK's natural environment. PA

“Visitors are going to be in for a treat yet again this year with the opportunity to come face to toe with one of the largest known creatures to ever roam the Earth in Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur, which opens later this month," said Alex Burch, director of public programmes.

“We’re committed to ensuring nature and science is accessible to all and continuing to work closely with our local communities.

“We will build on our outreach work, which last year engaged 1,500 local children and young people in a range of activities, such as our dedicated winter community space, career inspiration events and skills-building projects.”

The British Museum was the second most popular indoor attraction, with 4,097,253 visitors, while Tate Modern came third as it welcomed 3,883,160 visitors.

Windsor Great Park, which is the green space beyond the castle and the only royal park owned and managed by the Crown Estate, was the most popular outdoor attraction, with 5,636,844 visitors, according to Alva.

It was an increase of more than 200,000 on the previous year, in which 5,400,000 people visited.

Updated: March 17, 2023, 5:06 AM