Parliament's visitors hit 250,000 in six months

THE Scottish Parliament welcomed its 250,000th visitor yesterday, making it one of Scotland’s most popular attractions.

Enric Miralles’s 431 million Holyrood building opened to the public last September and in the last six months a quarter of a million visitors have gone to see MSPs, watch debates or take a 45-minute guided tour.

The Presiding Officer, George Reid MSP, said: "Holyrood was always intended to be accessible and welcoming for the public, and they have come in great numbers from across Scotland and further afield."

If current visitor numbers continue, the parliament will break the half million visitor mark in its first year, making it the fourth most popular free attraction in the country. Gretna Green’s Old Blacksmith Shop Centre is first, with around 715,000 visitors, followed by the Royal Botanic Garden and the Royal Museum and Museum of Scotland, all in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle had 1,172,534 visitors in 2003, making it the top attraction with an admission fee.