Record year for historic attractions in Scotland

Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh Castle attracted 1,314,975 visitors in the year 2011/2012

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Historic attractions across Scotland have had a record-breaking year, with Edinburgh Castle receiving 10% more visitors than the year before.

Historic Scotland's paid-for staffed sites saw 3,374,552 visitors - up 7% on the previous year.

All of the historic body's tourism and commercial activities generated a 13% rise in income to £31.5m.

Edinburgh Castle remained the top attraction with 1,314,975 visitors.

Stirling Castle came in second place with 441,924 people through the gate, and increase of 17%.

Officials said the huge rise in visitors was down to the reopening of Stirling Palace in June 2011 following a £12m restoration.

The agency's third-busiest attraction, Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness also saw a 10% rise in visitors to 317,811.

Orkney's bronze age village Skara Brae saw a 1% rise in visitors in 2011/12, making it Historic Scotland's fourth most visited site with 68,852 people.

Stirling Castle Stirling Castle came in second place with 17% more visitors

The agency's retail and membership income also broke records, above £7m and £2m respectively.

Across all sites there was a 16% rise in income from increased visitor numbers, and Historic Scotland saw a 20% jump in income from visitors brought to the sites by travel and tour operators.

However there was a 4% drop in income, to £414,385, from corporate events.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, said: "These statistics speak for themselves and show that Scotland's historic visitor attractions continue to play a vital role in the country's tourism industry and the wider economy."

Stephen Duncan, Historic Scotland's tourism and commercial director, said: "Edinburgh Castle, our top attraction, was the best performing site with 30,769 visitors over the five-day Jubilee holiday, including two days with over 7,000 visitors, which is a new record for June."

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