Revealed! The UK's top tourist hotspot


London's British Museum is the UK's most popular tourist spot, according to new figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva).

The museum topped the list with 5.8 million visitors last year, beating out the Tate Modern, which had 5.1 million visitors, and the National Gallery, which saw 5 million art-lovers pass through its doors.

The British Museum enjoyed a 5% increase in visitors from the year before, with the Tate Modern and the National Gallery enjoying 7% and 4% boosts respectively. The reason? Film and TV projects, apparently.

The British Museum last year featured in Radio 4's A History of the World in 100 Objects, hosted by the institution's director, Neil MacGregor. In it, MacGregor explored artefacts such as a Victorian swimming costume and Bonnie Prince Charlie's silver canteen.

'People like these projects because they are employing familiar buildings but in an interesting way,' said the British Museum's deputy director, Andrew Burnett. 'Institutions haven't used the media as much as they should have done in the past. But even the most poorly watched programme has a couple of million visitors. Now, we are managing to connect.'

See below for the properties given the biggest boosts by media projects last year:

Antony House, Cornwall
This beautiful manor house was picked by Tim Burton as the location for Alice in Wonderland. Set on its own peninsula, this historic house was the only location used in Alice, notably in the party scenes which bookended the movie's vast use of CGI. The Grade I-listed house saw 75,000 extra people visit it last year.

The British Museum
Its artefacts were featured in Radio 4's hugely successful The History of the World in 100 Objects presented by museum director Neil MacGregor, and it was also seen in Richard Linklater's period drama Me and Orson Welles, starring Zac Efron, filmed in the Enlightenment Gallery.

Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle
Both seen in 2010's Burke and Hare, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Isla Fisher about the two 19th century grave robbers. Edinburgh Castle was visited by 1.2 million people last year, according to Alva's latest figures.

The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
The college saw a 28 per cent surge in visitor numbers to 1.27 million last year after it was used as a filming location for the latest film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. The movie's star, Johnny Depp, brought the college national attention when he visited a nearby school in character to surprise delighted pupils.

Natural History Museum
This London museum, already a popular school holiday haunt, saw a 13 per cent increase in visitors last year to 4.6 million, in part thanks to BBC2's behind-the-scenes documentary, Museum of Life, which explored the institution's inner workings. The programme was fronted by Jimmy Doherty, a former volunteer.

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
This estate and grounds date from the 13th century and have been seen in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, BBC television drama Jonathan Creek and, most recently, Sir Ridley Scott's new version of Robin Hood. The National Trust claims it has been inundated with requests for viewings since Russell Crowe's Robin hit the big screen.

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