Big Rise In Visitors To Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Last year's fine summer helped boost visits to outdoor attractions including Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, tourist chiefs have announced.

It saw a 55% rise in visitor numbers in 2013, one of the biggest increases in the country, with more than 674,000 people going along. It was helped by the opening of the new multi-million pound Mary Rose Museum.

Other UK tourist hotspots such as Kew Gardens, London Zoo and Stonehenge all saw huge leaps in visitor numbers in 2013 compared to rainy 2012.

Overall, the main visitor attractions in the UK welcomed 6% more people last year than in 2012, with outdoor attractions up 8%.

Kew in west London had 29% more visitors last year, while London Zoo numbers rose 26.4% and Stonehenge was up 18.9%.

The figures, from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva), also showed that the British Museum, with numbers up 20% to 6.7 million, was the top attraction last year, followed by the National Gallery in London (up 14% to 6.03 million) and the Natural History Museum in London (up 6.7% to 5.35 million).

London attractions had a 12% increase in 2013, with England attractions overall up 5% and Scottish attractions also up 5%.

A total of 67 of the 197 Alva members' venues had increases of  more than 10% last year, compared with only 16 that enjoyed such rises in 2012.

Only 18 of the venues experienced decreases in numbers of more than 10% last year compared with 2012. This was in contrast to 2012 when 33 locations had a double-digit decline compared with 2011.

Other attractions with big increases last year included the Tower of London (up 18.4% to 2.89 million), the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich in south London (up 27% to 1.43 million) and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where the opening of the Mary Rose Museum resulted in a 55% increase to more than 674,000.

Alva director Bernard Donoghue said: 

"2014 is sure to be a momentous year, seeing the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare.

"Therefore we are delighted that Shakespeare's Globe in London and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, along with the South Bank Centre in London, are Alva's newest members.

"In 2013, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust saw a 13% increase in visitor numbers, and they will build on this in 2014 by launching a brand new exhibition, Famous Beyond Words, later this month.''

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