Scotland

VisitScotland reveals top-rated visitor attractions

Royal Yacht Britannia Image copyright Marc Millar Photography

Whisky distilleries, museums, a castle and a racecourse are among the best visitor experiences in Scotland, according to the national tourism organisation.

Sixteen attractions received a score of more than 90% by VisitScotland's quality assurance assessors. The Royal Yacht Britannia topped the list with a record-breaking score of 96%.

VisitScotland said those which achieved the highest scores offered a "top quality experience to visitors from the moment they enter the premises to the time they leave".

Here is a snapshot of the best that Scotland has to offer.

Hebrides Art, Harris

Image copyright Hebrides Art

Hebrides Art is a gallery and coffee shop in Seilebost on the west coast of the Isle of Harris.

Run by artists Lesley and Alisdair Wiseman, it aims to showcase the cream of Hebridean arts and crafts - and serve delicious cakes.

Lesley said: "We don't think of the people who visit our gallery and coffee shop as customers - we think of them as guests and treat them accordingly.

"We really do want everyone that visits to leave feeling they have had a wonderful experience, from the moment they cross the threshold to the moment they leave."


Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Edinburgh

Image copyright Mike Pennington

Edinburgh's oldest visitor attraction has been a favourite of tourists in Scotland's capital since 1853.

VisitScotland described it as an "Aladdin's cave" of optical illusions, tricks and puzzles. From an unrivalled vantage point, tourists can also enjoy rooftop views of Edinburgh's Old and New Towns and its castle.


Corrie Cook School, Argyll

Image copyright Thinkstock

There is a food and drink theme to many of VisitScotland's top-rated attractions.

Corrie Cook School is located in the small village of Craobh Haven, between Oban and Lochgilphead.

VisitScotland said it offers cookery workshops and demonstrations, clay pigeon shooting, fishing and horse-riding.


Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway

Image copyright NTS

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is home to 5,000 historical artefacts, original manuscripts and pieces of memorabilia.

Among the highlights are Burns' cittern, a fragment of Jean Armour's wedding dress and original manuscripts including Scots Wha Hae and Auld Lang Syne.

A spokeswoman for the National Trust for Scotland, which owns and manages the museum said it strives to give visitors the very best experience possible.

She added: "Our exhibits are chosen from the foremost Burns collection in the world, so this obviously plays a big part in that.

"But we like to think that our creative approach to its presentation, engaging events, excellent scones and warm Ayrshire welcome are important too."

National Museum of Rural Life, South Lanarkshire

Image copyright Sean Bell

Three hundred years of farming and rural life are on display at this purpose-built museum, which is near East Kilbride.

It is also the site of a 1950s working farm, which is home to animals including Aberdeen Angus cattle, Tamworth pigs, Ayrshire cows, black-faced sheep and two Clydesdale horses.

VisitScotland said there is something different to see each season, from new-born lambs and calves to harvesting and hay-making.


Musselburgh Racecourse

Image copyright Musselburgh Racecourse

Musselburgh Racecourse is Scotland's only five star visitor attraction racecourse.

The course in East Lothian holds 29 flat and jump meetings each year, including Stobo Castle Ladies Day.

Sarah Montgomery, senior operations and commercial manager, said they were "delighted" to be ranked so highly by VisitScotland.

She added: "Musselburgh is firmly established as one of the UK's most stylish racecourses for racing enthusiasts, families and corporate clients."


The Castle and Gardens of Mey, Caithness

Image copyright PA

The Queen Mother renovated and restored the Castle of Mey after acquiring it in 1952, following the death of her husband, King George VI.

For almost 50 years she spent summers at the castle, which is 15 miles east of Thurso on the north coast of Caithness.

Since the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, the castle, its gardens, animal centre and tearooms have remained popular with visitors to the far north.

It has been rated a five star attraction by VisitScotland every year since 1997.


Scotch whisky distilleries

Image copyright Davide Campari-Milano SpA

Seven individual distilleries feature on the list of Scotland's top visitor attractions, as well as the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh,

They include Auchentoshan Distillery, near Clydebank, Glen Grant Distillery in Rothes, and Glen Ord Distillery in Muir of Ord.

Distilleries producing Glenlivet (Ballindalloch, Moray), Glenfiddich (Dufftown, Moray), Glenmorangie (Tain) and Bowmore on Islay also rate highly.

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