TWO Scottish castles have been shortlisted for a top national travel award.
Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle - two of the country’s most popular tourist attractions - are the only Scottish sites in the running for the Best UK Heritage Attraction category in the British Travel Awards.
The British Travel Awards is the largest consumer voted awards programme in the UK.
The castles have been shortlisted alongside the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, and the Snowdon Mountain Railway.
The winner of the award is decided on by the public, who have until 30th September to vote for their favourite UK Heritage Attraction on the BTA website.
Stephen Duncan of Historic Scotland said: “I am delighted that both Stirling and Edinburgh castles have been nominated for this prestigious award once more.
“These two iconic castles both played key roles in Scotland’s history, and this nomination is a tribute to the staff who help bring that history to life for thousands of visitors each month.
“I also welcome the fact that for the first time visitors who are not a resident in the UK are also eligible to cast their vote, allowing our large international visitor audience to take part in this exciting process.”
This year, Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, have welcomed a combined 845,867 visitors through their doors.
Edinburgh Castle, has won the award four years in a row and this year has welcomed the historic Waterloo Colours, and saw the launch of its own Edinburgh Castle beer.
Stirling Castle played host to the Great Tapestry of Scotland, saw the completion of a 14-year project to recreate the Royal Palace as it may have looked in the 1540s, and is currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of one of its most famous residents, Mary of Guise, with a wide variety of events and exhibitions.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s five-star visitor attraction, the Scotch Whisky Experience, is the only Scottish attraction to be shortlisted in the Best UK Leisure Attraction category.
It will fight off competition from other major attractions such as Legoland Windsor, the Tower Bridge exhibition and the Eden Project for the top spot.
Susan Morrison, director and general manager of The Scotch Whisky Experience, said: “We are really excited to be shortlisted in the British Travel Award’s Best UK Leisure Attraction category again this year.
“We’re up against some truly iconic attractions but with the support of local people and visitors who have enjoyed our attraction, we’re confident it can be our turn to take home the prize.”
• The BTAs are the largest consumer voted programme in the UK with more than 1.25 million votes cast last year. Winner announced November.