Tate Modern sees nearly a 20% drop in visitor numbers in 2015

7 March 2016

Peter Saville with Paul Hetherington and Morph: Tate Modern extension

Tate Modern’s visitor numbers were down nearly 20% last year, according to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Other findings showed that The National Gallery was subject to an 8% drop in numbers (contrasting a 6% rise in 2014), but maintained its second place position behind British Museum as one of the most visited London attractions.

Although temporary exhibitions played a pivotal role in producing high visitor numbers at Somerset House, Royal Academy and National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern’s female-focused programme of modern and contemporary painters such as Sonia Delaunay, Agnes Martin and Marlene Dumas failed to draw the crowds that 2014’s Henri Matisse, Richard Hamilton, Kazimir Malevich and Sigmar Polke exhibitions did.

V&A hosted its most popular exhibition ever, with Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty attracting 493,043 visitors over its 21-week run. Despite seeing an 8% rise in visitors in 2015, no doubt fuelled by interest in the McQueen retrospective, V&A still failed to break into the top five most popular British attractions and climbed only one place in the rankings to six, overtaking South Kensington’s neighbouring Science Museum.

Maintaining a top ten position, and moving from ninth to eighth, Somerset House saw an increase in footfall of 31%. The riverside attraction’s success can be attributed to an intense schedule of temporary exhibitions and public programmes.

Looking beyond the capital, The Library of Birmingham retained its title of the most visited attraction outside London.

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Milly Burroughs

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