Monday, 16 May 2011

Crowds flock to Scotland's Heritage sites


Heritage sites across Scotland enjoyed two bumper four-day weekends, thanks to the Easter holiday and the Royal Wedding, according to figures released today by Historic Scotland (insert date).

Visitors flocked to the sites over the four-day Royal Wedding Weekend, marking an overall increase of 29 per cent across the Estate in comparison with the same long weekend the previous year.

There was a 45 per cent increase in visitors to Historic Scotland Sites on Friday 29th April, the day of the Royal Wedding, and a huge 94 per cent increase on Saturday 30th April compared with the same day in 2010.

Edinburgh Castle remained the top Historic Scotland attraction with an additional 28 per cent more visitors in comparison with the same weekend the previous year. St Andrew’s Castle enjoyed a surge in visitors, making the top five Historic Scotland sites for that weekend with an additional 99 per cent increase in visitors on the day of the Royal Wedding in comparison with the same day in 2010.

The beautiful surroundings of Inchcolm Abbey, Inchmahome Priory, and Caerlaverock Castle were particularly popular. On the day of the Royal Wedding Inchcolm Abbey saw a staggering increase in visitors of 157%, Inchmahome Priory a 91% increase, and Caerlaverock Castle, 72% in comparison with the same day last year.

Stephen Duncan, Historic Scotland’s Director of Commercial and Tourism said: “It is good to see that so many people took advantage of the fine weather over the Royal Wedding Weekend to visit our sites. Our attractions offer good value for money and make for great family days out. Historic Scotland membership works out at around £7 per month and you can visit all of the attractions and events for free 364 days a year.

“Easter was also a busy time with 55,137 visitors to our sites, an overall 17 per cent increase compared to the same weekend last year, with Loch Leven seeing the biggest growth with an increase of 128 per cent. This is particularly welcome in terms of helping local tourism economy and we hope that the forthcoming long weekend in May will be equally successful with people taking the opportunity to explore their local historic sites.

“We are now looking forward to the grand opening of Stirling Palace’s Renaissance royal palace following a £12 million refurbishment. Visitors will be able to see the royal apartments which have been returned to how they might have looked when they were the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. We hope this will provide Scotland with another major attraction which will help draw visitors from around the world.”