Department for Culture Media and Sport

free admission

Free entry for everyone to England's national museums is a central part of our cultural policy.

Figures for 2010/11

Since the introduction of universal free access in December 2001, visits to the national museums in England that used to charge for entrance have increased by 151%.

This was the ninth and most successful year of the free admission policy, with 18 million visits to museums that used to charge.

In London, visits to museums that used to charge were up by over 152%, including

  • National Maritime Museum up 204%
  • the Natural History Museum up 187%
  • the V&A up 180%

In the regions, visits to these museums increased by 148%, including

  • National Museums Liverpool up 269%
  • the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester up 122%
  • the Natural History Museum in Tring up 107%

Visits to national museums which have always been free - such as the British Museum, National Gallery and Tate - rose by 22% over the same period.

Visits to former charging museums in 2010/11

 

Museum 2000/01 2010/11 % change since 2000/01
Imperial War Museum (London) 661,804 1,095,442 65.52%
Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester 287,814 638,347 121.79%
National Maritime Museum 799,777 2,433,163 204.23%
National Museums Liverpool 710,210 2,622,228 269.22%
National Museum of Science and Industry (National Railway Museum) 485,785 630,396 29.77%
National Museum of Science and Industry (South Kensington) 1,366,879 2,766,994 102.43%
Natural History Museum (South Kensington) 1,630,466 4,682,783 187.21%
Natural History Museum (Tring) 61,272 126,864 107.05%
Royal Armouries 225,141 343,582 52.61%
Victoria & Albert Museum (South Kensington) 936,652 2,619,505 179.67%
Total 7,165,800 17,959,304 150.63%

Graph showing visits to museums which previously charged from 1999/00 to 2010/11


This information is updated annually in May.