City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Record Numbers Visit Edinburgh Castle and Historic Attractions


By edg - Posted on 14 June 2012

Edinburgh castle from top of a bus

The low pound and the staycation trend in Britain continues to serve government heritage agency Historic Scotland well with attractions seeing unprecedented visitor numbers.

Historic Scotland’s 78 paid-for staffed sites saw an increase of 7% in visitor numbers on the previous year to 3,374,552 visitors, with all of the agency’s tourism and commercial activities generating a 13% rise in income to £31.5million.

The agency reported that its top three attractions set new visitor records.

Edinburgh Castle remained the top venue, with 1,314,975 visitors – 10% more than the previous year.

Stirling Castle, in second place, saw a huge 17% increase in visitors year-on-year with 441,924 through the gates, following the reopening of Stirling Palace in June 2011, after a £12million restoration.

The agency’s third busiest attraction, Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness also saw a 10% rise in visitors to 317,811.

Stephen Duncan, Historic Scotland’s Director of Tourism and Commercial said The Diamond Jubilee holiday was very successful in terms of visitor numbers with Monday 4th June 2012 seeing the busiest day with 20,595 visitors across Historic Scotland sites.

“Edinburgh Castle, our top attraction, was the best performing site with 30,769 visitors over the five day Jubilee holiday, including two days with over 7,000 visitors, which is a new record for June," said Duncan.

Wider membership

The agency’s retail and membership income also broke records, breaking through the £7million and £2million barriers respectively.

The agency attributed the success to investment in retail facilities across a number of sites which has improved the retail offering for visitors and resulted in greater footfall.

Across all sites there was a 16% rise in income from general admissions from the public, and the agency saw a 20% jump in income from visitors brought to the sites by travel and tour operators.

Despite the increases across the visithattor sites, there was a 4% drop in income to £414,385 from corporate events.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said the statistics show how  Scotland’s historic visitor attractions continue to play a "vital role" in the country’s tourism industry.

Hyslop added: “The rise in income is also to be welcomed as it allows Historic Scotland to continue reinvesting in the country’s important historic environment and the visitor experience they provide. While we have seen major improvements in areas such as the retail offering, what has also been key has been the continued improvements in the interpretation of these sites such as the major investment undertaken at Stirling Palace.”