Outlander fans boost Doune Castle visitor numbers
Doune Castle, which starred as the fictional Castle Leoch in the first season of the show, welcomed 32,540 people between June and August, up 44 per cent on the same period last year.
The Stirlingshire castle reported three back-to-back record-breaking months, Historic Scotland said.
Meanwhile Edinburgh Castle, Historic Scotland’s top paid-for visitor attraction, welcomed 666,348 visitors over the three months, an increase of 7 per cent on the same period in 2014.
July alone saw 249,923 visitors pass over its drawbridge, a rise of 12 per cent when compared to the same month last year.
Overall 1,826,047 people visited Historic Scotland’s 77 ticketed attractions around the country, an increase of more than 34,000 on the same period last year.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This record-breaking year for visits to Historic Scotland properties demonstrates the value, significance and growing appeal of Scotland’s heritage to visitors.
“From Orkney to the Borders, Scotland’s history and heritage-filled landscapes are a truly unique resource, not just in terms of the wider benefits that they offer for all in terms of cultural enrichment - providing an insight into different aspects of our nation’s past - but also for their role and potential in supporting and driving economic growth.
“This potential is illustrated in sites such as Doune Castle, which features in the highly successful TV series Outlander, which now attracts visitors on both a UK and international level.”
Skara Brae, one of Europe’s best-preserved prehistoric settlements, enjoyed two consecutive record-breaking months.
The Orkney site, which dates back around 5,000 years, saw an increase in visitors of 8 per cent in June and 13 per cent in July on the previous year, and welcomed a total of 55,078 tourists during the three-month summer period.
Other sites in the top 10 were Stirling Castle, which welcomed 216,132 people, and Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness which had 190,083 visitors.
More than 34,000 people made their way to the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, Linlithgow Palace, while St Andrews Castle welcomed 34,957 visitors.
Iona Abbey welcomed 33,751 people, while Fort George near Inverness and Melrose Abbey in the Borders had 33,324 and 25,856 visitors respectively.