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Urquhart Castle welcomes highest number of visitors in one season

23 January 2012

Urquhart Castle has welcomed its highest number of visitors in one season.

The castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, saw 300,000 visitors go through its gates in the period from 1st April 2011 until 3rd January 2012, the highest number of visitors to ever visit the property.

The figures have been driven by both walk up and trade visits, and the consolidation of a number of partnership led activities in the region.  

The previous record was 272,000 at this stage in the season and 294,000 over a twelve month period.

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

“It is fantastic that Urquhart Castle has achieved these visitor numbers.

“Scotland continues to be a must see visitor destination and our castles are a huge part of the visitor experience.

“It is testament to the hard work of staff and continued partnership working with like-minded organisations that Urquhart Castle is experiencing such a boom in visitors, which is great news for Scotland’s heritage tourism sector.”

The castle has played a role in some of the most famous periods in Scotland’s history and figured prominently in the Wars of Independence, coming under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots. It constantly attracts visitors from Scotland and around the world and is the third most visited of Historic Scotland attractions annually after Edinburgh and Stirling castles.

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism for Historic Scotland said;

“We are thrilled that Urquhart Castle has experienced its highest number of visitors in one year – particularly with a couple of months still left of this season.

“We’ve continued to invest in the visitor experience at Urquhart – from how we present the story of the site through to running an interactive events programme which is designed to help bring history to life and are looking forward to welcoming visitors over the upcoming season.”

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.


  • The Year of Creative Scotland begins on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: www.visitscotland.com/creative The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.


                                                Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information


Iona Matheson
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858
iona.matheson@scotland.gsi.gov.uk