Most visited Historic Environment Scotland sites for 2017-18 revealed


18 April 2018
|
The top ten most popular historic attractions from those cared for by Historic Environment Scotland have been revealed, as new figures also show evidence of the 'Outlander effect'.
Most visited Historic Environment Scotland sites for 2017-18 revealed Images

The top ten most popular historic attractions from those cared for by Historic Environment Scotland have been revealed, as new figures also show evidence of the 'Outlander effect'.

The news comes as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) revealed that Scotland’s heritage attractions have hit a record milestone, welcoming more than 5 million people for the first ever time in a single year.  

The surge in numbers across the whole estate is being attributed to growth in UK, European and overseas visitors, with a significant uplift in Scots visiting sites partly due to what HES have called a 'strong membership base' of over 194,000.

Join the History Scotland community  
Follow us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Sign up for our free e-newsletter

Discover History Scotland magazine

The ongoing ‘Outlander effect’ has seen North American visitor figures increasing by 27%, and French visitors increasing by 19% year on year. The sites that have featured in this popular American-British television series continue to enjoy an uplift in visitor numbers with Doune Castle attracting a massive 227% increase in numbers and Blackness Castle increasing by 182% since 2013.

2017-18 financial year top ten staffed heritage attractions

  Site Visitor Numbers % increase Year on Year
1 Edinburgh Castle 2,082,048 15%
2 Stirling Castle 574,348 18%
3 Urquhart Castle 487,837 22%
4 Glasgow Cathedral 400,324 27%
5 Doune Castle  125,772 36%
6 Skara Brae 110,497 18%
7 St Andrews Castle 90,253 16%
8 Linlithgow Palace 87,254 17%
9 Fort George 76,126 24%
10 Iona Abbey 66,570 3%
 
'Tremendous achievement'
 
Commenting on the new figures, Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at HES, said: 'Our record breaking visitor figures, including across all of our top ten sites, are a tremendous achievement for Scotland’s heritage tourism sector, reflecting the continued interest shown by tourists and home-grown visitors to learn more about our rich Scottish heritage.

“The exchange rate, as well as strong airport numbers, have both contributed to the growing figures.

“Over five million visitors have flocked to our wealth of historic sites across the length and breadth of the country, ranging from iconic attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, to landmarks such as Skara Brae in Orkney and Iona Abbey, as well as castles in Scotland’s historic towns such as St Andrews Castle.

“This rise in visitor numbers at our staffed sites has also been complemented by visitor growth at our unstaffed free access properties, bringing the overall total to an estimated 12 million.”

Table and images copyright Historic Environment Scotland.