BOLTON Museum is more popular than Manchester United’s stadium tour and the Imperial War Museum North, official tourism figures reveal.

Last year, Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive welcomed 325,022 visitors through its doors, while MUFC’s museum hosted 322,096 and the war museum at Trafford Park was visited by 302,298 people.

Bolton Museum is home to a number of exhibitions, including a current touring display from the Victoria and Albert Museum, showcasing Japanese cloisonne.

The popular aquarium is home to fish from all over the world, including Potumber the catfish, while the archive service gives people the chance to delve into Bolton’s history.

The museumis number seven on Visit Manchester’s top 10 list of the most popular attractions in Greater Manchester, with The Museum of Science and Industry taking the number one spot with 849,759 visitors.

In 2010, Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive was visited by 321,569 people.

Cllr Christopher Peacock, cabinet member for culture, said: “It’s great we are once again in Visit Manchester’s top 10 visitor attractions in Greater Manchester, and we continue to successfully compete with some of the best tourist attractions in the region.

“The team work really hard all year round to present a varied and interesting programme of exhibitions, events and workshops.

“Last year’s exhibition programme was particularly good at capturing the interest of the public, with two of our most popular exhibitions, Fakes and Forgeries and Nat Lofthouse: A Celebration, attracting visitor figures of 10,000 and 30,000 respectively.

“This year we’ve seen very topical displays celebrating the Diamond Jubilee in Bolton and the 75th anniversary of the Worktown project.”

The attraction is now open on Sundays and Bank Holiday.

Cllr Peacock said: “We’ve seen a significant level of interest in accessing our fantastic resources during family-friendly hours.

“The aquarium is also going from strength to strength with some high profile acquisitions — the fish feed sessions during the school holidays are always very popular.

“We are always looking to improve and expand the offer in Bolton, so look forward to a fantastic 2013.”