Edinburgh Castle celebrates this year's one millionth visitor
3 February 2009
Historic Scotland’s flagship attraction Edinburgh Castle is celebrating after welcoming its one millionth visitor through the door for the current financial year.
Edinburgh Castle attracts 1.2 million visitors per year and despite the tough financial times; the castle continues to attract visitors from around the world.
To improve the castle’s welcome, a £2.7 million visitor reception project was completed last year to achieve a series of initiatives to visitor services to ensure visitors continue to enjoy world class service at this must see attraction.
There have been several key milestones of the project, including the introduction of online ticket sales and dedicated Edinburgh Castle website. There was also the opening of a new hi-tech ticket office and reception area, which has further enhanced the visitor experience.
New markets have also been opening up – reflected by the recent introduction of souvenir guide books to the castle in Russian and Chinese.
The one millionth visitors to the castle were couple, Britta Springstrow and Rene Woffeh from Germany.
Britta said they were delighted to be chosen, adding: “Edinburgh is such a beautiful place and the castle is stunning. It was really exciting to be chosen as the millionth visitor today as we were certainly not expecting it.”
Barbara Smith, Executive Manager at Edinburgh Castle, said: “The arrival of the millionth visitor is always a milestone. This year, it is particularly pleasing in the economic climate.
“I’d like to thank all the castle staff for the tremendous work they do in making sure our visitors have a superb time when they come to the castle.
“The combination of iconic status, memorable image, unique treasures and a world class welcome make this a truly must-see attraction.”
There is still time to catch the special off-peak seasonal admission charges at the castle until the 28 February 2009. Off-peak prices are: Adults £9.79, Children £4.89, Concessions £6.85.
Booking in advance is recommended, plus take advantage of other great package deals online at www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk
Notes to Editors
- The one millionth visitor was forecast to arrive on Monday 2 February. The visitors received free entry and a goodie bag. Photographs of the million visitor couple are available on request.
- Historic Scotland’s financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March. The castle has an average of between 1.1 and 1.2 million visitors per year.
- Edinburgh Castle, built on the 340 million-year-old remains of an extinct volcano, dominates the Scottish capital city’s skyline just as it has dominated Scotland’s history. The ‘stronghold of Eidyn’ was first recorded before 600AD and by the Middle Ages, it had become a mighty fortification and the favoured royal residence of Scotland’s kings and queens. Many defining moments of Scottish history have taken place there. In 1140, the castle became the first recorded meeting place of the assembly we now know as the Scottish Parliament. In 1566, it was the birthplace of the only child of Mary Queen of Scots; a son who grew up to unite the crowns of Scotland and England. And in 1689, it endured its last full siege when the garrison became the last defenders of the Stewart king James VII and II.
The castle’s top 10 highlights are:
- The Crown Room and the Stone of Destiny – where the nations treasures are kept.
- The Great Hall – which holds a fabulous display of arms and armour and the ‘key’ to the Castle.
- Royal Palace – rooms created in 1617 in honour of James VI.
- St Margaret’s Chapel – the oldest building in Edinburgh, built to commemorate the mother of David 1.
- The Prisons of War – an atmospheric recreation of the life of prisoners at the end of the 18th Century.
- Mons Meg – one of Europe’s oldest siege guns that fired stones weighing 150kg over 3.2k
- The One O’Clock Gun – the famous time signal has been fired almost daily since 1861.
- The Scottish National War Memorial – shrine to those who gave their lives in conflicts from World War 1 onwards.
- The National War Memorial of Scotland and individual regimental museums.
- Panoramic views – across the capital, over the Firth of Forth and into Fife, which can be enjoyed from the castle’s walls.
- Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding properties in its care, spanning over 5,000 years of history including some of the country’s leading visitor attractions: Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace and Skara Brae.
- 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.