Updated in november 2020
London is one of the world’s most cultured cities, with more than 170 museums and with 39 theatres in the West End alone. However, 2020 seems to be the point of inflexibility for the tourism sector.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and its consequent restrictions, the number of visitors to the UK has decreased exponentially since March. Forecasting the numbers at this point is difficult, as this situation is unique and it is constantly changing.
In a city as diverse as London you could live your whole life and never see everything. What, then, are the top London attractions according to social media?
Why rank by social media?
Why rank by social media when there are already review sites like TripAdvisor? TripAdvisor is a wonderful resource for any traveller, but it isn’t always accurate. 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 the number of visitors, as well as several smaller, well-known attractions. Finally, we rounded the list out with new attractions such as The Fotografiska and The Museum of the Home.
For the analysis, we used 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 2019, with 6.24 million visitors, and for a good reason. In boasts, it is one of the world’s best permanent collections and its temporary exhibits prove so popular that it is sometimes difficult to book tickets.
It also ranked highly across all of the metrics we took into account. Their YouTube channel is chock full of videos of exciting new exhibits and behind the scenes footage, garnering over 2 million views.
Saatchi Gallery versus Tate Modern
The Saatchi Gallery surprised us by ranking consistently higher on Facebook than many larger London attractions. Not only are their Twitter and Facebook accounts well-managed, with a healthy number of followers and likes (1,900,000 followers and 2,026,529 likes respectively), they also have a huge number of Google+ followers (over 1.3 million).
The Tate Modern leads Twitter with 4,800,000 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 share #ArtWords, displaying great pieces of contemporary art drawn in different materials. Their #WorkoftheWeek is also quite popular on the channel.
Facebook share of voice 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).
Looking at one of the most prominent social media channels, we find the Tate Modern on the top position, with an astonishing 3,600,000 followers on its account. In second place we have The British Museum again, with 1,800,000 million followers.
A new attraction arrives in London: The Museum of the Home
The new Museum of the Home displays everyday experiences of being at home over the past 400 years. Located in Hoxton, this museum entails a series of “domestic game-changers” exhibitions, alongside with seasonal renovations of their rooms and gardens.
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.
Would you have ranked these attractions differently? How does your social media performance compare? Let us know via Twitter or drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org. The brand new Home Galleries will explore everyday experiences of making, keeping and being at home over the past 400 years. Other developments include a new cafe, library and “domestic game-changers” exhibition, alongside the renovation of the popular period rooms and gardens.