Scotland’s heritage boom

By | Category: Travel news
image of Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

This morning Just about Travel noted that Cornwall has been having a bumper summer. So is Historic Environment Scotland, the body which operates over 300 Historic Scotland visitor attractions.

Over a four month period – from April to July – 1,964,118 visitors flocked to attractions, an increase of more than 169,000 on the same period in 2015. The seasonal surge in visitors also led to a number of historic sites, including six castles, a palace and a prehistoric village, breaking their previous records for footfall, when compared to last year.

Scotland’s number one paid for attraction was once again breaking records. Edinburgh Castle staff welcomed 755,001 visitors in 122 days, an increase of 8% year-on-year. Craigmillar Castle also benefited from a treble from May to July, with a total increase of 13% to 11,247 visitors. Joining Edinburgh Castle at the top of the leader board was Stirling Castle, which attracted a total of 215,461 people.

mage of Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey

Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, jumped up 9% overall to 192,191 visitors. As the stand in for the fictional Castle Leoch in the hit TV series Outlander,  Doune Castle witnessed a further surge in visitor numbers, brought by the ‘Outlander effect’. Benefiting from three back-to-back record breaking months, a total of 40,751 people visited the now iconic castle for themselves, an increase of over 7,500 visitors or 23% compared with 2015.

In Fife, St Andrews Castle and Cathedral saw visitor figures climb by 8% and 18% to 36,704 and 22,128, respectively. Meanwhile, the centuries old stronghold of Dumbarton Castle was amongst those to experience both a continuous three month and overall record. Linlithgow Palace, welcomed 39,080 visitors. The royal palace also reported a record 21,963 people in July, as the Peel was once again the setting for the popular Spectacular Jousting event.

Skara Brae, which dates back 5,000 years, experienced an 8% rise in visitor numbers; whilst in the Borders Melrose and Jedburgh Abbeys also witnessed increases in their visitor levels, with both setting new records for May and July.

The membership of Historic Environment Scotland was up 7% by the end of July, to 171,112 members

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