Royal wedding boosts Westminster Abbey visitor numbers

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on March 7, 2012

Westminster Abbey was among Britain’s 10 most visited sites for the first time ever last year, after huge public interest triggered by the Prince William and Kate Middleton royal wedding.

Figures that were released this week show how last year’s royal wedding helped Westminster Abbey experience a large increase in the amount of tourists that visit it. In 2011, almost two million visitors were welcomed to the Abbey, which is 36 per cent more than there were in 2010, meaning that it entered the UK’s 10 most-visited tourist attractions for what was the first time in its history.

Alva, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, the organisation responsible for putting the figures together, revealed how St Paul’s Cathedral was visited by just less than 1.82 million tourists, which might have been down to protesters setting up their Occupy London anti-capitalism camp on the premises. In contrast, The Tower of London saw almost six per cent more tourists visit it – up to 2.55 million – while the National Portrait Gallery had a boost from the successful ‘Leonardo’ exhibition as numbers rose three per cent up to 1.88 million.

Britain’s museums also attracted massively impressive crowds. Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland saw an amazing 141 per cent increase in tourists in 2011, after having reopened in July with £47 million pumped into it. The museum welcomed almost 1.5 million visitors, which made it the UK’s most visited site away from the capital London.

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