100-metre viewing platform and virtual reality tours planned for Forth bridges

A new “Welcome Hub”, a viewing platform 100 metres in the sky and virtual reality tours are among the ideas in a new ten-year strategy to boost visitor numbers to the iconic Forth bridges.

The Queensferry Crossing, Forth Road Bridge and Forth Bridge. Picture: TSPL
The Queensferry Crossing, Forth Road Bridge and Forth Bridge. Picture: TSPL

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited North Queensferry to launch the strategy to harness the tourist appeal of the Forth Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge and the new Queensferry Crossing.

In addition to a new Welcome Hub, the strategy suggests using the theatrical backdrop of the bridges for events which appeal both to participants and spectators; establishing self-guided and accompanied walking and cycling tours, including tours of the Forth Road Bridge; and to trial a closure of the Forth Road Bridge for a family cycling event.

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The strategy document says: “There is an aspiration that visitors will be able to step on to a dramatic, 21st century viewing platform at the south end of the Forth Road Bridge to engage their senses with unparalleled views.

“The adventurous may soon be able to walk in the sky, travelling up the Forth Bridge to a viewing platform 100 metres above the river, in an experience of a lifetime.”

And among priority actions it lists “applying technology innovatively to enhance the visitor experience through webcam links, access to laser-scan 3D digital models of the Forth Bridge and augmented and virtual reality”.

The document also proposes developing a range of merchandising.

Among other ideas previously floated but not specifically referred to in the document are a bungee jumping platform under the bridge deck; a bike hire scheme enabling visitors to cycle over the Forth Road Bridge and enjoy views of the Queensferry Crossing and Forth Bridge on either side; Sydney Harbour Bridge-style bridge climbs; and outdoor film shows on giant screens using the bridges as a backdrop.

Ms Hyslop said: “The Forth Bridges are much more than a means of travel. The Forth Bridge has taken its place alongside the Pyramids of Giza and Spain’s Alhambra as one of the world’s most iconic monuments and has been inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

“Its two magnificent neighbours are themselves great engineering achievements. The bridges span both time and distance as the three bridges were built in three different centuries.

“The launch of the Tourism Strategy sets out the Forth Bridges Forum’s plan to tell the story of the three bridges for the first time, creating a unique experience which will allow visitors to learn about their history as well as marvel at their majesty.

“By communities, businesses and the public sector working together, we can use the bridges as catalysts for developing the many tourism offerings of the surrounding towns and villages.

“It’s an exciting development which will secure the area’s reputation as a top destination for visitors.”