Almost half of Brits have never visited a Scottish castle, new research reveals
New research has shown that 49% of Britons have never visited a Scottish castle - as Scotland's most recognisable castles are revealed.
The research - which comes as the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology comes to a close - also reveals that Edinburgh Castle is Scotland's best known castle (of which 80% of those surveyed were aware) followed by Balmoral Castle (53%).
Now, VisitScotland is encouraging people to get castle-bagging and tick some of Scotland's best loved castles off their bucket list in 2018.
Castle survey results
Dunrobin Castle in Sutherland was voted the most romantic-looking castle with over a quarter (29%) of the votes, followed by Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire (16%) and popular visitor favourite Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands (12%).
On the opposite side of the scale, Slains Castle in Peterhead was voted as the most likely to be haunted with almost a quarter of votes (22%), followed closely by the iconic Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven (19%) and in third place, Brodick Castle (12%) on Arran.
The best castle in Scotland accolade went to Edinburgh Castle with over a third of the votes (39%) ahead of Stirling (5%), Urquhart (2%) and St Andrews Castles (2%).
Visiting Scotland's castles
According to VisitScotland, Scotland has around 3000 standing castles, ruins and documented sites. Of these, about 1,050 are classed as 'sites', including those where a house has been built on the site of a previous castle, and about 825 are standing ruins.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland's chief executive, said of the survey results: 'Castles are an iconic and integral part of Scotland’s history and culture. From the grandiose castles of Stirling and Edinburgh to the remote charms of Eilean Donan and Castle Stalker – there is something unique and special about every single one and each has their own significant story to tell.
'Scotland’s history and culture is one the top reasons for visiting Scotland. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends – the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology has shone a spotlight some of our greatest assets and icons as well as our hidden gems.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience a Scottish castle in their lifetime, so we would encourage everyone to make it their mission - to bag a Scottish castle and a Munro on their visit here!'
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,194 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 21st February 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Images: Aberdour Castle copyright Andy Hawkins; Balmoral Castle copyright Thomas Froese; Edinburgh Castle copyright Ad Meskens; Eilean Donan Castle copyright Pam Brophy.