London received 14.1 million visitors in 2009 according to the World Tourism Organization making it the second most visited city in the world after Paris. Visit London, the official visitor organisation for the city, estimates that 2009 was the busiest year for London's tourist industry since 2000. Many of London's most famous and most popular museums and art galleries are free to visit although there may be charges for certain exhibitions. While visitor numbers are released every year for recognised attractions many millions of visitors a year visit other places in London such as Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park.
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The most visited attraction in London in 2009 according to Visit London the British Museum saw 5,569,000 visitors in 2009. Established in 1753 it holds a collection of over 7 million objects chronicling the development of human culture. The museum is home to the Parthenon or Elgin marbles from Greece, as well as the Rosetta stone from Egypt and the Benin bronzes. Admission to the museum is free and it is easy to reach using the London underground or buses.
Great Russell St.
London WC1B 3DG
A total of 4,780,000 people visited the National Gallery in 2009, making it the second most visited attraction in London. Its 2,300 paintings are owned by the British public and admission is free. The National Gallery holds important works by many of the world's most significant artists including Raphael, Titian, Botticelli and van Gogh.
The Tate Modern was opened on the South Bank of the Thames River in 2000 to hold the British national collection of international modern art. It is housed in the former Bankside power station and contains works by many of the most influential modern artists of the 20th Century, including Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rothko. Admission is free but there is a charge for admission to major temporary exhibitions. 4,747,000 people visited Tate Modern in 2009.
London SE1 9TG
Natural History Museum
With 4,105,000 visitors in 2009, the Natural History Museum is the fourth most visited in attraction in London. It holds over 70 million specimens and is famous for its extensive collection of dinosaur fossils and especially the complete mounted cast of dippy the diplodocus. The museum also exhibits specimens collected by Charles Darwin. Admission to the Natural History Museum is free.
Natural History Museum
The London Eye Ferris wheel was opened in 1999 on the South bank and was the only paid attraction to make London's top five attraction list in 2009. The wheel is 440 feet high and takes around half an hour to complete a revolution. Visitors can see up to 25 miles on a clear day from its 32 sealed pods. The London Eye claims that it receives over 3,5000,000 million visitors per year.
Merlin Entertainments London Eye
Westminster Bridge Road
The other entries on the top 10 most visited attractions on the Visit London list are the Science Museum in sixth place, followed by the Tower of London, National Maritime Museum, V&A Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.
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