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Visitors crowd into London's most popular attractions

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By David Stewart White

How many tourists does it take to fill a city?

If the city is London, the answer is more than 16 million.

That's the number of of overseas visitors flocking to the city in 2013, according to statistics released today by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). Coming on the heels of 2012's Summer Olympics, the visitor influx in 2013 set a record for the city.

And where are these tourists touring? AVLA tracked the top British attractions and found that the British Museum remains the most popular visitor venue with more than 6.7 million visits in 2013. In fact the top six spots on the list were occupied by London's major museums:

1. British Museum – 6,701,036 visitors
2. National Gallery – 6,031,574
3. Natural History Museum – 5,356,884
4. Tate Modern Museum – 4,884,939
5. Science Museum – 3,316,00
6. Victoria and Albert Museum – 3,290,500

The ancient Tower of London and two of London's two most iconic churches were further down the list. The top ten also included Somerset House, which is less well known to some overseas travelers:

7. Tower of London – 2,894,698
8. Somerset House – 2,398,066
9. St. Paul’s Cathedral – 2,138,130
10. Westminster Abbey – 2,020,637

All of the top ten attractions are in London. Scotland's National Museums ranked at number thirteen on ALVA's survey of 210 attractions in Great Britain.

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