London is one of the world’s most cultured cities, with over 240 museums, over 230 professional theatres, and endless things to do for locals and tourists alike. This year it has even been crowned the world’s top tourist destination.
In a city this diverse you could live your whole life and never see everything. What, then, are the top London attractions according to social media?
Download our complete list of rankings
Why rank by social media?
Why rank by social media when there are already review sites like TripAdvisor? TripAdvisor is a wonderful resource to any traveller but it isn’t always accurate, as we learned when it failed to spot a fake restaurant. Additionally, London isn’t just a city for tourists.
Londoners are also keen to explore what the city has to offer, and experiences like late night museum openings and outdoor cinemas draw a large number of locals.
Methodology and Points System
When it came to choosing which attractions to analyse, we decided to include all of the top ten by number of visitors, as well as several smaller, well-known attractions. Finally, we rounded the list out with new attractions such as The Shard and the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
For the analysis, we use a point system similar to the Eurovision point system – London’s tourist attractions are awarded points based on how they rank for particular social media metrics.
Things to note:
- This analysis does not take into account landmarks such as Trafalgar Square that are not controlled by corporations or charitable organisations, nor markets made up of individual traders.
- We grouped the Churchill War Rooms in with the Imperial War museum as they both use the same social media accounts, but felt that we needed to keep the two Tates separate. Their score would be identical if not for their TripAdvisor ranking, but as the Tate Modern alone attracts over 4 million visitors per year, we gave them each an individual ranking.
The social media metrics
The metrics include the following:
- YouTube subscribers
- YouTube views
- Twitter followers
- Facebook likes
- Facebook conversations
- Google+ followers
- Instagram followers
- TripAdvisor ranking
The British Museum ranks number 1 overall
It’s no surprise that The British Museum ranks number one on our list. It received the highest number of visitors in 2013, and for good reason. In boasts one of the world’s best permanent collections, and its temporary exhibits prove so popular it’s sometimes difficult to book tickets.
It also ranked highly across all of the metrics we took into account, with a YouTube channel chock full of videos of exciting new exhibits and behind the scenes footage garnering over 2 million views.
The Saatchi Gallery surprised us by ranking consistently higher than many larger London attractions. Not only are their Twitter and Facebook accounts well-managed, with a healthy number of followers and likes (1,140,000 followers and 1,221,273 likes respectively), they also have a huge number of Google+ followers (over 1.3 million).
The two Tates lead Twitter with 1,160,000 followers and it’s easy to see why. Almost every tweet contains an image or a video, combined with a call to action to view more or to start a conversation.
They also #ownthemoment, taking advantage of holidays and events.
Facebook Talking Rankings
Props to The British Library for blowing the competition out of the water for having over 100,000 people talking about it on Facebook. It uses its vast archives about both UK and international history to grab the attention of scholars, tourists and locals.
These are two social media platforms where there are huge gains to be made. Several of the larger attractions don’t even have accounts (The National Gallery, The Natural History Museum and The Shard are all missing out on the Google+ action).
Google + Rankings and Instagram Followers
With very little effort, by taking advantage of reviews and local listings, a Google+ account could make a big difference for the smaller or older attractions like Shakespeare’s Globe.
Buckingham Palace wins 2nd place for its Instagram account, which is run by The British Monarchy and has 40,903 followers.One does not take selfies.
Social media and tourism
At the end of the day, the tourists will always flock to the bigger attractions on their checklists, but by carefully shaping their social media strategies, smaller attractions can gain better recognition and therefore more foot traffic.