Press Release


Secretary of State congratulates Tate on record-breaking visitor figures of over 8.4 million
Architectural view of the new Tate Modern from the south at dusk

Architectural view of the new Tate Modern from the south at dusk
© Tate


Tate today announced that it had more visitors in 2016/17 than in any previous year. Over 8.4 million visits were made to its four sites in London, Liverpool and St Ives between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017. Karen Bradley MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, came to Tate Britain to meet Tate’s new Director Maria Balshaw and to congratulate those who work at the galleries.

The past year saw the opening of the new Tate Modern in June 2016, following the completion of the RIBA award-winning Blavatnik Building. Brand new displays were presented, featuring over 300 artists from over 50 countries around the world. Other highlights included Tate Britain’s David Hockney retrospective, which became the most popular exhibition in the gallery’s history with over 478,000 visitors, and the display of Tracey Emin’s My Bed at Tate Liverpool. The refurbished Tate St Ives reopened at the very end of this period in March 2017, ahead of its new galleries opening this October.

Karen Bradley, Culture Secretary said:

‘Tate has had an incredible year and has shown once more why it is one of the world’s best art galleries. It has a vital role to play in increasing access to our national art collection, both in London and across the country, and so I am delighted there have been a record number of visits to its four galleries. I’m sure this success will continue under the direction of Maria Balshaw, who will bring her own vision and energy to this important British institution.’

Maria Balshaw, Director, Tate said:

‘I’m delighted that Tate has had such a great year and that we are reaching such a wide audience. Art has the power to change people’s lives for the better, whether it’s a must-see exhibition of modern masterpieces or a family workshop with a local artist. In my first few weeks at Tate, I’ve already seen how passionately our visitors feel about these galleries and how inspiring it is to spend time here.’

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In the financial year 2016/17, Tate Britain had 1,363,677 visitors, Tate Modern had 6,393,865 visitors and Tate Liverpool had 636,406 visitors. Tate St Ives was closed for refurbishment until March 2017. Combined with the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, it had 52,402 visitors. The total of 8,446,350 overtakes Tate’s previous record of 7,904,121 in 2014/15.


Tate’s mission is to increase the public understanding and enjoyment of British art and international modern and contemporary art. Founded by Sir Henry Tate in 1897, it is a family of four galleries: Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London, Tate Liverpool in Merseyside and Tate St Ives in Cornwall. These are part of a wider network of partner institutions – the Plus Tate network – which champion the visual arts in the UK. Tate also manages a growing national collection of over 70,000 works of art, from paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints to photographs, films, installations and performances. These are acquired and cared for on behalf of the public and shown in venues throughout the UK and across the world.