St Andrews Free Weekend success - Minister announces 11% increase in visitor numbers
8 December 2009
Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs, has hailed the success of the Historic Scotland St Andrew’s Free Weekend which attracted 11% more visitors than in 2008.
More than 39,700 visitors enjoyed trips to the 47 heritage attractions which waived their ticket prices on 28 and 29 November.
This compared to 35,000 in 2008, an increase of 11%.
Among them was Stirling Castle with more than 6,600 visitors, Urquhart Castle with 1,400, Linlithgow Palace with 1,334 and Edinburgh Castle – which was also open free on St Andrew’s Day itself – with nearly 25,000.
The free weekend was a key part of both the St Andrew’s Day celebrations and the finale of Homecoming Scotland 2009.
The Minister said: “This year’s free weekend was a tremendous success, with more sites open than last year and many more visitors.
“It was a great chance for people to enjoy Scotland’s heritage without paying a penny, and an excellent contribution to the Year of Homecoming finale.”
In keeping with tradition Edinburgh Castle was also open on St Andrew’s Day, 30th November, to allow people to view the nation’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny.
Notes for Editors
- The Monday figures for Edinburgh Castle were 4,626 and are not included in the overall total for the free weekend. A typical November Monday would attract around 1,500 visitors.
Free weekend figures 2009 2008
- Free admission was offered at the following Historic Scotland properties (sites marked NA for 2008 joined in with the free weekend for the first time this year):
- Aberdour Castle 253 205
- Arbroath Abbey 293 177
- Arnol Blackhouse (Saturday only) 6 0
- Blackness Castle 550 362
- Bothwell Castle 324 125
- Caerlaverock Castle 178 126
- Cardoness Castle 25 6
- Castle Campbell 256 193
- Corgarff Castle 22 11
- Craigmillar Castle 618 549
- Craignethan Castle 69 45
- Dallas Dhu Distillery 50 31
- Dirleton Castle 319 288
- Doune Castle 424 210
- Dryburgh Abbey 135 82
- Dumbarton Castle 363 81
- Dunblane Cathedral No figures collected
- Dunfermline Palace 173 173
- Dundrennan Abbey 23 4
- Dunstaffnage Castle 62 56
- Edinburgh Castle ( 2009 weekend + Monday) 24,810 22,169
- Edzell Castle 105 40
- Elgin Cathedral 96 51
- Fort George 344 218
- Glasgow Cathedral (donation-based) No figures collected
- Huntingtower Castle 202 80
- Huntly Castle 59 29
- Iona Abbey 11 16
- Jedburgh Abbey 73 82
- Linlithgow Palace 1,334 1,032
- Maeshowe Chambered Cairn 32 14
- Melrose Abbey 216 229
- New Abbey Corn Mill 45 4
- Rothesay Castle 141 36
- Skara Brae 102 34
- Smailholm Tower 70 43
- Spynie Palace 58 43
- St Andrews Castle 661 1,229
- St Andrews Cathedral 376 747
- St Vigeans Museum 32 NA
- Stanley Mills 271 NA
- Stirling Castle 6,655 3,754
- Sweetheart Abbey 57 NA
- Tantallon Castle 323 302
- Tolquhon Castle Awaiting figures 183
- Trinity House 208 25
- Urquhart Castle 1,402 1,086
- The free weekend also heralded the start of the Winter Festival season in Scotland (running from St Andrew’s Day to Burns Night) which showcases Scotland as a year-round visitor destination helping to boost revenue from tourism.
- Historic Scotland’s mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.
- Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For information on all sites visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places For details on Edinburgh Castle visit www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk and on Stirling Castle, visit www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk.
- Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.