London’s cultural landmarks lead Google search rankings as overseas visits rise: and the GREAT Britain campaign launch London’s Autumn Season of Culture

Tuesday 04 August 2015

London is the most Googled city in the world for art galleries, performing arts and innovative art and design, according to new insights released by London & Partners, the Mayor's official promotional company for the city, and Google to mark the launch of London's blockbuster Autumn Season of Culture.

Search insights from Google show that London's theatres generate more searches than those in any other city, while international searches for globally renowned museums rank the Science Museum in London as the most Googled museum in the world*.

The Natural History Museum and the British Museum rank second and third according to Google, followed by The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

The data from Google also shows that London is the most searched for city in the world to visit. Separate research published by London & Partners and MHM reveal that in 2014/15 London's museums and galleries received 17.9 million overseas visits, accounting for 57% of the total 31.5 million visits.

Today, in partnership with the GREAT Britain Campaign, launches London's Autumn Season of Culture which will showcase the blockbuster exhibitions and events coming to the capital. At an evening event hosted at The Victoria and Albert Museum, leading figures from the capital's major institutions will celebrate the launch of their key autumn exhibitions. A new film previewing the coming Autumn Season, narrated by Downton Abbey star Jim Carter - the popular Mr Carson - and featuring a cameo appearance by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson will be premiered at the event.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "London is without a doubt the cultural capital of the world. Tourists are flocking to our great city in ever-increasing numbers, drawn by our exceptional cultural attractions and landmarks. Our world-famous museums, galleries, theatres and performance venues have done a terrific job creating and attracting the blockbuster exhibitions and events that form this spectacular Autumn Season of Culture in London. If you are planning to travel in the months ahead, London is a city not to be missed."

Commenting on being named the most Googled museum in the world, Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, says: "It's fantastic that so many people across the world are seeking out the Science Museum, and this new data provides yet more evidence of the world class status of British museums. Our most audacious exhibition ever, Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, opens this September and I hope all those googling the Science Museum get the chance to visit."

The film of London's Autumn Season of Culture which is narrated by the Downton Abbey star, Jim Carter [film], goes behind-the-scenes at the city's leading museums and attractions as they prepare to launch their stellar line-up of blockbuster events and exhibitions. The film includes exclusive footage of a Russian lunar lander space capsule being lifted into the Science Museum for Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, special previews of The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern and Cycle Revolution at the Design Museum, and original evidence from London's criminal past, which has never been seen before by the general public, being prepared for The Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition at the Museum of London.

"London truly offers the best cultural experiences in the world, whether visitors come to enjoy our world-famous West End theatre, visit our incredible museums and galleries, or they simply come to take in the city's unrivalled history and heritage", said Jim Carter. "The Autumn Season of Culture features something for everyone, from Russian spacecraft, to incredible images of nature in action, as well some of the greatest artists that have ever lived. When I walk through London, from Buckingham Palace to the Tate Modern, I'm always taken aback by the spectacle of this awe-inspiring city."

Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners, the Mayor's official promotional company for the capital which has led the Autumn Season initiative, said: "We launched the Autumn Season of Culture to underline the outstanding exhibitions and events taking place across London in the months ahead. Culture is the leading reason why visitors come to London and it is vital to the city's economy, contributing an estimated £7.3bn per year. By bringing together these events, we can attract new international audiences to experience the best of London's blockbuster cultural offerings, while underlining the city's status as a global cultural powerhouse."

The number of international visitors coming to London continues to rise. Last year 17.4 million overseas tourists visited the capital. The rise in international visitors is helping to drive record audiences at the city's museums and galleries. Research released by London & Partners and MHM Insights shows that London's museums and galleries are attracting record numbers of visits overall and seeing a sharp rise in overseas visits.

The number of international visits at London's museums and galleries has risen by more than 19 per cent over the last four years. The top overseas markets visiting London museums and galleries in 2014/15 show French and American visitors tied in first place, followed by Italy, Spain and Germany. Collectively these top five markets accounted for 9.7 million of the total of 17.9 million overseas visits recorded.**

Laurian Clemence of Google UK, added: "It's no surprise that London's museums, historical landmarks, performing arts scene and theatres are some of the most searched places in the world, by people interested in learning more about these places and those planning a visit. Throughout the year there is strong interest in London's cultural landscape just via the searches we see."


Media Contacts

Rebekah Clement, Media & PR Manager - Leisure Tourism, London & Partners


Ellie Wilson, Head of Tourism PR, London & Partners


London & Partners Press Office


Notes to Editors

* The Science Museum is, on average, the most Googled museum in the world.

**Across MHM's benchmarking group of London museums and galleries in 2014/15

The full report from MHM is available on request.

About London & Partners

London & Partners is the official promotional company for London. We promote London and attract businesses, events, congresses, students and visitors to the capital. Our aims are to build London's international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which create jobs and growth. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

Google methodology

Google uses a number of sampling, counting and rounding approximations to calculate its search data. As a result, lists may differ from one day to the next or from one visit to another. Google's internal tools are compiled using data from multiple sources, including Google Trends, Maps, YouTube, mobile and desktop and internal data algorithms.

MHM Insight methodology

The research is based on the analysis of year round visitor research undertaken by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre. Annually, 15,000 interviews are conducted across 13 museums and galleries in the capital.

Visitors are approached randomly on exit from a venue. Responses are captured electronically on iPads. Respondents can complete the survey in English or one of eight other languages including: French; German; Spanish; Italian; Polish; Japanese; Korean and Chinese. Interviews are conducted at weekdays and weekends, covering public holidays, school holidays and non-holiday periods, according to a sample frame which ensures that surveys were gathered according to the visit flow (footfall) at the venues.

The museums and galleries included in MHM's London benchmarking group are British Museum, IWM London, Museum of Childhood, Museum of London, Museum of London Docklands, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, V&A, Wallace Collection.

Broadcast Quality Film and Photography Access Details


  • The Autumn Season of Culture film starring Jim Carter
  • Interview content with Jim discussing the Autumn Season of Culture
  • B-roll including behind-the-scenes previews of London's Autumn Season, soundbites from Jim Carter, Downton Abbey's Mr Carson, discussing the Autumn Season, soundbites on London's culture from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, GVs of London

HD broadcast quality and low res footage (with access media worldwide, all rights cleared including music) can be accessed via:



If you wish to embed the video it can be accessed here - YouTube: [Film]

PHOTOGRAPHS: Images of Jim Carter and preview photos from the exhibitions can be accessed from the following dropbox:

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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Making the Modern World - Science Museum