City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle Top Attractions List

By edg - Posted on 05 March 2012

NMS Opening: Crowds in the Grand Gallery

The newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh was the most visited attraction outside of London in 2011, according to figures published by The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today.

The association is made up of some of the UK’s leading heritage attractions including The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tower of London, and major museums and galleries, whose members release their visitor figures annually.

There was a huge turn-out this past Summer to see the impressively revamped Museum of Scotland, which amounted to "one of largest increases in visitors" - a total total 141% rise for the year - said ALVA. The museum opened in July 2011 after a £47million development and welcomed just under 1.5million people to the museum achieving the museum's original target of 1 million visitors in less than 4 months.

Edinburgh Castle also retained its position as Scotland’s number one paid-for visitor attraction.

The Castle, which is run by Historic Scotland, saw 1,302,826 visitors go through its doors in 2011, an 8% increase on the previous year.

The iconic attraction won ’Best UK Heritage Attraction’ at the British Travel Awards, and had its highest ever numbers of visitors on record in July and August.

“Edinburgh Castle continues to enthral a new generation of visitors and we are continuing to invest in the castle experience," said Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism for Historic Scotland.

“This ranges from making the ticketing process easier, to investing in our retail offering and interpretation of the sites with more costumed performances than ever before.

“We are also gearing up for another busy summer, working with partners to welcome the Edinburgh Military Tattoo on the esplanade in August and offering a fantastic concert venue for artists such as Noel Gallagher and Olly Murs.”

The Royal Botanic Garden also saw an increase of 11.8% to 790,545, while the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art saw attendances fall 3.4% to 301,344.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which was open, after a much praised renovation, for only the last month of 2011 recorded 52,869 admissions.

Glasgow visitor attractions

Riverside Museum in Glasgow was also popular with just over 1million visitors going to the  waterfront landmark, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, between June 21 and the end of the year.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery, a regular on the list, saw visitor numbers drop 8.4% to 981,000, while the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow was up 24% to 608,680.