Its popularity was surely buoyed by the success of virtual and podcast project A History of the World in 100 Objects which made it Art Fund Museum of the Year. The project took the collection beyond the museum's nineteenth century walls, inspiring people to visit who might not have thought to before. You can still listen to and download the series - it's ace, and great for making your commute a tad more edifying.
It's worth noting that the survey is based on 'self-completion methodology'. Whilst fee charging attractions have an obvious metric for their visitor figures, free entry institutions' figures are open to interpretation, especially when they have a reputation as a great place to use the loo, browse a shop or shelter from the rain. Like, for example, Tate Modern, the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A which respectively follow the BM in both the 'major free admission attractions' and 'major attractions in London' rankings. Still, however you get people through the doors and clicked in as a statistic, there's always a chance they'll spot something on show to lure them further than the foyer and every chance they'll come back on another occasion, making a mental note to bring the kids and clear a whole day.
The Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey topped the list of paid admission attractions for the UK.
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