01 May 2020: Although the Country cannot come together to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day on Friday, May 8, 2020, it is not stopping the members of ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions) celebrating in a variety of ways. These range from Singing & Dancing to understanding which laws were passed during World War II to hearing and seeing how the people of the time experienced the day. [more...]

THE UK’S TOP VISITOR ATTRACTIONS OFFER ONLINE EASTER ACTIVITIES - From Egg-cellent eggs-periments to recipes, to church services to virtual egg hunts -

10 April 2020: While people are relaxing over the Easter break, members of ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions) are offering a variety of “virtual” Easter activities to keep the old and young busy from the comfort of their own homes. These range from Egg-cellent eggs-periments at the Science Museum to Cathedral services at Durham Cathedral to cookery suggestions from English Heritage and Waddesdon Manor and a Great Easter Scavenger Hunt from the National Trust. [more...]

COVID19 and visitor attractions

18 March 2020: As with all parts of the economy the COVID19 outbreak in the UK is having a significant impact on ALVA members. Nearly 90% of our members are temporarily closed to the public from week beginning 16th March and those which are open, mostly gardens, parks and zoos are advising the public to adhere to social distancing guidance. [more...]

ALVA announces line-up for Visitor Attraction Retail Conference, 26th February 2020

03 January 2020: ALVA's first retail and commercial showcase conference - which is open to non-ALVA members - has a stellar line-up of speakers: MOMA; Warner Bros Studio Tours London; RHS Wisley; National Memorial Arboretum; Benugo; and the Customer Service Director of the John Lewis Partnership. Sharing, Learning, Inspiring. [more...]

Statement on the Duke of York's Presidency of ALVA

21 November 2019: “In light of the Duke of York’s decision not to undertake public duties for the foreseeable future as a consequence of the issues raised in the BBC Newsnight interview the Board of ALVA confirms that His Royal Highness is now no longer its President. The Duke of York has been President of ALVA since 1999 and we thank him for the support he has given the Association over the last 20 years.” [more...]

The impact of a No-Deal Brexit on UK Tourism

16 October 2019: A “no-deal” Brexit would cause a 5% drop in UK outbound travel and tourism trips in 2020, because of the stifled economic backdrop and impact of a weaker pound, Oxford Economics has reported. Ireland and Spain would be the hardest hit from fewer UK visitors. In contrast, the weaker pound could mean that UK tourism inflows are 4% higher in a “no-deal” scenario, provided there is no travel disruption. [more...]


27 March 2019: Prior to English Tourism Week, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) announced its members' visitor figures for 2018 today (Wednesday, March 27, 2019), which saw an average increase of 8.68% on 2017 visits to UK attractions, while attractions in Scotland saw the biggest increase of 19.07%. Overall 138, 823, 297 visits were made to the top 249 ALVA sites in the UK. [more...]

ALVA and London and Partners work to raise the profile of London attractions with UK domestic audience

21 January 2019: London and Partners and ALVA are convening a working group to raise the profile of London attractions with the London and UK domestic audience, and to encourage more visits all year round. The first meeting will be at London and Partners on Tuesday 22nd January 2019. [more...]

Largest number of attendees at 2018 Visitor Attractions Conference since 2005

15 October 2018: The Annual National Conference of Visitor Attractions 2018 took place on Thursday 4th October at the QEII Conference Centre, London, with the highest number of attendees since 2005. Key speakers included the Earl of Harewood and speakers from Kew Gardens, Blenheim Palace, Historic Houses, Alexandra Palace, Merlin Entertainment and VisitEngland. [more...]

Looking forward as London hosts MuseumNext

19 June 2018: Looking forward as London prepares for MuseumNext Museum delegates are in London this week for the European edition of this year's MuseumNext conference, which kicked off on Monday 18th June for its 10th year. [more...]

ALVA reveals average increase of 7.3% on 2016 visitor numbers to UK attractions.

20 March 2018: On the eve of English Tourism Week, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) announced its members' visitor figures for 2017 today (Friday, March 16, 2018), which saw an average increase of 7.3% on 2016 visitor numbers to UK attractions. Attractions in Scotland have seen consistent growth and saw an increase of 13.9%, while in Northern Ireland, there was 6.5% growth. Overall 129,954,657 visits were made to the top 238 ALVA sites in the UK. [more...]

Tourism Minister Michael Ellis MP and the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson MP to speak at ALVA Council meeting

22 February 2018: The new Minister for Culture, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis MP, and the Shadow Culture Secretary and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson MP, will address the ALVA Council meeting when it meets at the Royal Albert Hall in February. [more...]

ALVA Director appointed Mayor of London's Ambassador for Cultural Tourism

08 August 2017: ALVA Director Bernard Donoghue has been appointed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to be the Mayor's Ambassador for Cultural Tourism and a member of the Mayor's Cultural Leadership Board. [more...]

Durham Cathedral becomes ALVA's newest member

15 May 2017: At our Council meeting held in Ipswich and hosted by the Churches Conservation Trust, Durham Cathedral became our newest member. The Council meeting heard from 'Smartify' - a new app for museums and galleries; Kingston Smith on measuring and defining 'social impact' and Essex Business School on a new relationship with ALVA. [more...]

ALVA CEO briefs UK Parliamentarians on the state of the UK tourism industry

01 March 2017: ALVA CEO Bernard Donoghue was invited by the Industry and Parliament Trust to brief a select gathering of MPs and Peers on the state of the UK's tourism industry at a House of Commons meeting. Following a presentation the parliamentarians asked questions about Brexit, employment, marketing, regional spread and business rates. [more...]

ALVA welcomes Government industrial strategy and will press for a Tourism-specific strategy

26 January 2017: ALVA welcomes the UK Government's industrial strategy, outlined by the Prime Minister on 23rd January, and will press for a Tourism-specific strategy within it. ALVA CEO Bernard Donoghue, who also chairs the Tourism Alliance, said that he will use the next meeting of the Government's Tourism Industry Council next month to map out the strategy for the UK's 5th biggest industry. [more...]

ALVA announces corporate partnership with Kingston Smith

20 October 2016: ALVA is delighted to announce its corporate partnership with Kingston Smith, the chartered accountants and business advisers, who work with entrepreneurial businesses, including visitor attractions across the UK. [more...]

London Transport Museum and Bristol Zoo are ALVA's newest members

28 September 2016: London Transport Museum and Bristol Zoo became the newest members of ALVA, joining at the Council meeting hosted by Warner Bros. Studio Tours 'The Making of Harry Potter'. The Council meeting was held at the Warner Bros studios and members were treated in magical style throughout their stay, including a dinner in Hogwarts' Great Hall. [more...]

ALVA is the 2016 sponsor of the UK's Family Friendly Museum Award

25 August 2016: We are delighted to be one of the principal sponsors of this year's Kids in Museums' 'Family Friendly Museum' Awards.The 2016 Family Friendly Museum Award is launched – giving you the chance to say which museum, gallery, heritage site, science centre or historic home in Britain gives the warmest welcome to families. The Award is the biggest family museum award in Britain – and the only one where families pick the winner. [more...]

National Museums Northern Ireland and Longleat latest ALVA members

26 May 2016: ALVA is delighted to welcome National Museums Northern Ireland and Longleat as our newest members. They were unanimously voted into membership at our May Council meeting, which was superbly and generously hosted by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company. [more...]


07 March 2016: -Scotland sees 5.48% increase, while London sees 1.61% increase - The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) announced its members' visitor figures for 2015 today (Monday, March 7, 2016), which saw an average increase of 3.2% on 2014 visitor numbers. Scottish attractions had the greatest increase of 5.48%, while London had an increase of 1.61%. Overall 124.4million visits were made to the top 230 ALVA sites. [more...]

Immigration rhetoric 'making Britain look unwelcoming' states ALVA CEO

15 February 2016: British politicians' "inflammatory rhetoric" about immigration ahead of the referendum on EU membership is giving the impression that the UK does not welcome foreigners, a tourism chief has warned. Bernard Donoghue, chairman of the industry body Tourism Alliance, gave his warning as a survey was published showing that 82 per cent of UK tourism companies believed staying in the EU was important to their businesses. [more...]

Film Tourism and becoming a film location focus at ALVA Finance Directors' Forum

01 February 2016: The Head of the National Trust's filming unit, the Performing Rights Society and top lawyers Farrer & Co will be the keynote speakers at this week's ALVA Finance Directors' Forum. They'll be talking about how attractions can market themselves as film venues, how to increase filming revenues and how to get the most out of your contract with film studios. [more...]

ALVA Board member Pim Baxter awarded OBE in New Year's Honours

04 January 2016: Deputy director of the National Portrait Gallery and ALVA Board member Pim Baxter was amongst a number of individuals within ALVA members to receive honours in the New Year's honours; she was appointed an OBE 'for services to the Arts'. [more...]

ALVA urges visitors to be 'alert but not alarmed'

24 November 2015: ALVA Director Bernard Donoghue has been interviewed extensively over the last few days on the tourism impacts on London of the terrorist attacks in Paris. He has reported that ALVA members have seen very few cancellations and that whilst all have reviewed their security procedures and some have increased the visible security presence at front of house, for all it is 'business as usual' Bernard went on to support London Mayor Boris Johnson's call for everyone to be 'alert not alarmed'. [more...]

ALVA members show solidarity with Paris

17 November 2015: ALVA members including the National Gallery, Tower Bridge and Edinburgh Castle lit their iconic buildings in the colours of the French tricoleur to express solidarity with the people of Paris, following the terrorist attacks on Friday 13th November. ALVA Director Bernard Donoghue has been in close contact with the Metropolitan Police, DCMS, Home Office and National Counter-Terrorism Security Office since the attacks. [more...]

UK Visitor Attractions Conference 'biggest and best yet'

09 October 2015: The annual national visitor attractions conference (VAC) took place on Thursday 8th October and was 'the biggest and best yet' according to conference chairman, ALVA Director, Bernard Donoghue. Speakers included James Berresford, CEO of VisitEngland; John Hoy, CEO of Blenheim Palace; Juliana Delaney, CEO of Continuum Leading Attractions; and Jamie Christon, CEO of Chester Zoo. [more...]

ALVA's celebrates its 25th anniversary and the importance of tourism in the heart of Parliament

23 September 2015: The Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, has invited ALVA to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reception and dinner in the Speaker's Apartments and the Dining Room of the House of Commons on Wednesday 23rd September. The event will be the largest ALVA has held and brings together all members, partners and stakeholders. [more...]

ALVA Director Bernard elected Chairman of the Tourism Alliance

27 July 2015: ALVA’s Director, Bernard Donoghue, has been elected as the Chairman of the Tourism Alliance, the representative body for more than 200,000 businesses across the whole of the tourism industry. [more...]

Titanic Belfast hosted representatives from the UK's leading visitor attractions at a major tourism conference this week.

26 May 2015: The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) held its best attended council meeting, since its formation 25 years ago, at Belfast's Titanic visitor experience. [more...]

ALVA welcomes new Culture Secretary at DCMS

11 May 2015: ALVA is delighted to welcome the Rt. Hon. John Whittingdale OBE MP as the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. He was appointed by the Prime Minister on 11th May. Mr Whittingdale is a great friend of ALVA and was guest of honour at a recent ALVA public affairs lunch. During his time as Chairman of the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee he proved to be an enthusiastic advocate for tourism. [more...]

UK VISITORS ATTRACTIONS SEE 6.5% INCREASE IN VISITOR NUMBERS IN 2014 -Scotland sees 9.98% increase, while London sees 7.11% increase

26 March 2015: The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) announced its members' visitor figures for 2014 today (Monday, March 16, 2015), which saw an average increase of 6.5% on 2013 visitor numbers. Scottish attractions had the greatest increase of almost 10% increase, followed by London with an increase of 7.11%. [more...]

London members hear from lobbying and retail experts at ALVA London summit

: The CEO of the New West End Company, which represents and supports businesses in the capital's Regent Street, Oxford Street and Bond Street, told ALVA London members that reducing business rates, attracting high spending Chinese visitors and extending shopping hours are crucial for business and visitor attraction success. Richard Dickinson was a guest speaker at ALVA's London members' meeting hosted at the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich. [more...]

ALVA Council Meeting hears from airbnb and the team behind 'Poppies at the Tower'

16 February 2015: ALVA members attending the Council meeting held at the RAF Museum London heard the first 'behind the scenes' presentation of the story of the phenomenal 'Poppies at the Tower' art installation, from Deborah Shaw of Historic Royal Palaces and Tom Piper MBE, the installation designer. Members also heard from James McClure, General Manager UK and Ireland for airbnb, on the implications and opportunities for attractions of this iconic sharing economy start-up. [more...]

ALVA members meet at RAF Museum London for Election update

11 February 2015: ALVA members are meeting at their final council meeting prior to the General Election to hear how political parties are planning to support tourism in the next Parliament. Guest speakers also include Tom Piper MBE, installation designer of the phenomenal 'Poppies at the Tower of London; and the UK marketing director of 'airbnb'. [more...]

ALVA calls for greater Government support for Tourism

28 January 2015: ALVA's Director Bernard Donoghue told a Parliamentary Inquiry into Tourism that tourism - the UK's 5th biggest industry - needs to be better supported and appreciated by the Government. He told the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Committee that at the last General Election none of the political parties mentioned tourism in their manifestos. [more...]

ALVA calls for better Government support for tourism

: ALVA's Director Bernard Donoghue told a Parliamentary Inquiry into Tourism that the importance of the UK's 5th biggest industry need to be better supported and appreciated by the Government. He told the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Committee that at the last General Election none of the political parties mentioned tourism in their manifestos. [more...]

Richard Tobias OBE, first CEO of the Tourism Alliance, has died.

12 January 2015: Tributes have been paid to tourism industry veteran Richard Tobias OBE, who died on January 8 after a short illness. Tobias, chairman of the Best Loved Group for the past 10 years, was aged 69. He was a great friend of ALVA and was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to the travel industry. [more...]

Tower Poppies creator and designer are appointed MBE's in New Year Honours

01 January 2015: Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, who were behind the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation, are both made MBEs in the New Year honours list. The exhibition saw 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the moat at the Tower, one for each British and colonial military fatality during the First World War between July 17 and November 11, marking the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. [more...]

'Poppies at the Tower' attract more than 4 million visitors and global interest.

11 November 2014: More than four million people are expected to have visited an installation at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the start of World War One by 12 November. Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red by ceramic artist Paul Cummins has proven so popular there have been calls for it to be extended. [more...]


17 October 2014: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London 'The Making of Harry Potter' has today amassed 10,000 'Excellent' reviews on global travel site TripAdvisor, making it one of the most acclaimed attractions worldwide. The Studio Tour has garnered a collection of more than 12,000 reviews since opening in March 2012 and 97% of these rate the attraction as 'Excellent' or 'Very Good'. [more...]

The death of the 11th Duke of Marlborough is announced

: We are sad to learn this afternoon of the death of the 11th Duke of Marlborough, owner of Blenheim Palace. We send our condolences to his family and to all at Blenheim. [more...]

English Heritage to be split in two

15 October 2014: English Heritage is to be split into two separate organisations under plans announced yesterday by the Government as part of the spending review. A new self-financing charity is to be set up by March 2015 to look after the National Heritage Collection, which includes properties such as Stonehenge, Kenwood, Audley End, Dover Castle and Charles Darwin's home Down House in Kent. These properties will remain in public ownership but will be managed by the new organisation. [more...]

UK National Visitor Attractions conference this week Thursday 9th October

06 October 2014: Wayne Hemingway MBE, multi-dsiciplinary designer and creator of the Vintage Festival is the keynote speaker at this year's Visitor Attractions Conference, held on Thursday 9th October at the QEII Centre in Westminster. [more...]

The late Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, 1920 - 2014.

24 September 2014: It is with regret that we learnt that Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, died this morning, 24th September 2014. She was the astute chatelaine of Chatsworth House, a member of ALVA, for more than half a century. Our thoughts are with her family and all at Chatsworth on their sad loss. [more...]

New ALVA board members from Titanic Belfast and Historic Scotland

22 September 2014: Tim Husbands MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast, and Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Scotland, have joined the board of ALVA. Both were elected at the Association's AGM, held at Stirling Castle on the day of the Scottish independence referendum. [more...]

ALVA to meet at Stirling Castle on the day of the Scottish referendum

12 September 2014: ALVA's Council meeting will take place at Stirling Castle on the day of the Scottish referedum on independence, Thursday 18th September. Members will meet at the historic venue on an historic day for Scotland and the UK and will hear from a range of tourism experts. [more...]

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and The View From The Shard are our newest members

27 May 2014: The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the UK's newest attraction, The View from The Shard, are ALVA's newest members. They joined us at our Council meeting hosted at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, on Thursday 22 May. [more...]

ALVA celebrates Shakespeare's 450th birthday

: ALVA members are celebrating Shakespeare's 450th birthday today, St George's Day, 23rd April. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe, the British Library and the National Portrait Gallery are just some of our members who are celebrating Britain's most famous cultural icon. Here's an image of how he might look now based on his original portrait. [more...]

President of Ireland visits ALVA attractions on historic State Visit

08 April 2014: Fáilte go dtí an Bhreatain! A warm welcome to Britain to The President of the Republic of Ireland on his historic first State Visit. We are proud and delighted that a number of ALVA members are hosting parts of the visit, including The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Windsor Castle, The City of London Guildhall, the UK Parliament and Westminster Abbey. [more...]

VISITORS RETURN TO LONDON IN 2013 -Outdoor Attractions saw an 8% increase -

05 March 2014: The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) announced its members' visitor figures for 2013 today (Wednesday, March 5, 2014), which saw an average increase of 6% on 2012 visitor numbers. London attractions had a 12% increase, followed by England and Scotland, both with a 5% improvement. [more...]

Coronation Street The Tour set for spring opening

26 February 2014: The Coronation Street cobbles at the soap's former home at the Quay Street site in Manchester will be open to the public this spring and for a limited time only. [more...]

Shakespeare's Globe, Royal Shakespeare Company and South Bank Centre are newest members

16 February 2014: We are delighted to announce that Shakespeare's Globe, London, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, and the South Bank Centre, London, are ALVA's newest members. The ALVA membership unanimously voted the three exemplary attractions to become members at the Council meeting in Glasgow on Thursday 13th February. [more...]

ALVA calls for Political Parties to 'Take Tourism Seriously'

08 October 2013: ALVA has today, 8th October, signed a letter with 35 other leading tourism organisations to the UK political party leaders to 'take tourism seriously' and to create policies to boost UK tourism in the run-up to the General Election. [more...]

New Board Members Loyd Grossman and Sue Wilkinson

23 July 2013: ALVA are delighted to announce that today we welcomed two new board Members, Loyd Grossman OBE FSA, Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust and Heritage Alliance, and Sue Wilkinson, Director of Supporter Development at The National Trust. [more...]

ALVA welcomes new members

24 May 2013: At ALVA's Council meeting hosted by the Historic Dockyard Portsmouth and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Council voted unanimously membership applications from Edinburgh Zoo, Somerset House, City of London attractions, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Birmingham Museums and Cambridge University Museums. We are delighted to welcome them! [more...]

Visitors fell in love with modern British art & design in 2012

12 March 2013: British Art & Design was hugely popular in 2012, with Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman helping the British Museum remain the most popular visitor attraction for the 6th year running (5,575,946). [more...]

News update

06 September 2012: TBC [more...]

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