February 2011

The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC), Greenwich has broken into the top 20 most popular tourist attractions in the UK for the first time it was revealed on 23 February, as the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) released its annual figures.

Already one of London’s most popular heritage sites, Wren’s twin domed riverside masterpiece has seen a major increase in visitor numbers since the opening of Discover Greenwich last March.

The acclaimed centre, which uses state of the art interpretation techniques and features historic objects (many on view for the first time) alongside, rare artefacts, film footage and models, explores over 500 years of royal and maritime history in the borough. It has rapidly become the starting point for understanding and appreciating Greenwich and the World Heritage Site and a popular attraction for tourists and Londoners alike. The ORNC now joins the Maritime Museum, Greenwich in the top flight of UK visitor attractions

"This is terrific news not just for the Old Royal Naval College, but for Greenwich as a whole," says Duncan Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of the Greenwich Foundation. "The aim of Discover Greenwich was to become the starting point for a visit to the World Heritage Site and it has proved to be fantastically popular with up to 5,000 visitors a day using it as a gateway into Maritime Greenwich."

"Tourism is vital to Greenwich," he adds "It is great news for the local economy that we have already seen this uplift in visitors as we gear up for the Olympics next summer."

The world-renowned buildings, which combine iconic Wren and Hawksmoor architecture with stunning interiors, together with the fascinating Discover Greenwich centre and a programme of popular events ranging from international music festivals to Fun Family Fridays drew over 1.27million visitors to Old Royal Naval College last year making it the 15th most popular attraction in the UK.

Notes for Editors

• The Greenwich Foundation is a registered charity established to look after the Old Royal Naval College's magnificent buildings and grounds for the benefit of the nation. These include the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, the Painted Hall and the Discover Greenwich visitor centre, microbrewery and restaurant which opened last year. ORNC is also the site of Trinity Laban Conservatoire and the University of Greenwich.

• The 40 members of ALVA comprise the majority of Britain’s biggest and best-known attractions, and are responsible for managing some 1,580 tourist sites.  Each year ALVA publishes visitor figures that offer an over of the health of the UK’s tourism industry.

Issued by New Century PR.

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