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Edinburgh Castle’s annual visitor figures exceed 1.4m for the first time ever

5 March 2014

Edinburgh Castle most-visited paid-for attraction in Scotland and most-visited paid-for UK attraction outside of London

Edinburgh Castle has welcomed over 1.4 million visitors for the first time in its history.

The figures were released today (5th March) by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) which comprises over 200 of the UK’s top attractions - including The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tower of London - whose members release their visitor figures annually.

The castle, which is run by Historic Scotland, saw 1,420,027 visitors go through its doors in 2013, a 15% increase on the previous year.

The castle was the number one paid-for visitor attraction in Scotland last year and the most visited paid-for UK attraction outside London.

The figures come on the back of a successful year for the castle which was named ‘Best UK Heritage Attraction’ at the British Travel Awards for the third year in a row and saw record-breaking summer visitor figures.

An increase in visitor numbers was also recorded at Historic Scotland’s other top-three properties, Stirling Castle (up 2% to 411,726) and Urquhart Castle (up 5% to 310,446).

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said:

“Edinburgh Castle continues to captivate visitors from around the world and I am delighted that it has welcomed more than 1.4m visitors for the first time, which is a significant milestone.

“Scotland’s heritage sector continues to play an important role, supporting  60,000 jobs, contributing over £2bn to our economy and continuing to enthral visitors from home and abroad.”

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism for Historic Scotland, which runs the castle and 77 other heritage attractions across the country said:

“2013 was a fantastic year for our sites - with record-breaking figures, membership at an all-time high and Edinburgh Castle breaking the 1.4 million visitor mark for the first time.

“In terms of trends, we had anticipated an increase in travel trade numbers this year after a flattening-out of numbers in 2012, however the increase has exceeded all expectations. We are also benefitting from an increase in visitors from China and the emerging markets.

“Alongside this, we have seen the benefits of investment in our e-commerce offering, with tickets for 66 of our sites now available to purchase online, providing greater flexibility for visitors.  

“Meanwhile our award winning events programme, which commences next month, continues to bring history to life and will form a key part of this year’s Homecoming activity.”

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • Scotland welcomes the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games. The Year of Homecoming Scotland will run until 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country. Visitors from around the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland, supported by numerous partners. To find out more visit

Follow Historic Scotland:
Twitter:@welovehistory ; @edinburghcastle ; @ScottishTen (#hshomecoming)
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For further information

Iona Matheson
Media & PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858