It’s been a spectacular summer for Aberdeenshire’s historic sites as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announced record-breaking visitor figures for the 2017 summer season at sites across the region today.
The summer season saw Tolquhon Castle - the picturesque ruined castle in Grampian - record its busiest ever season, already exceeding the visitor total for last financial year. 5,434 people flocked to the site between April and September 2017 – an increase of 21% on the same period last year.
Other sites in the region have also had an impressive showing. Duff House, the elegant A-listed Georgian mansion in Banff, recorded an 11% increase in visitors. Visitor numbers to Corgarff Castle and Kildrummy Castle are also up on the same period last year.
The summer season has seen many visitor records broken across the country as a whole, with historic sites in the care of HES welcoming over 3.8m visitors in the period from April to September 2017, an impressive overall 20% increase in footfall on the same period last year, making it the busiest season on record.
August 2017 saw over 870,000 visitors flocking to Scotland’s iconic historic sites, making it the busiest individual month ever recorded.
HES manage over 70 ticketed Historic Scotland visitor attractions throughout the country, including Edinburgh Castle, Iona Abbey and Fort George.
The announcement comes as Scotland celebrates Heritage Awareness Day, the first-ever day dedicated to showcasing the country’s rich and diverse heritage and encouraging individuals, organisations and communities all over Scotland to share and celebrate heritage in all its different forms.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said: “This year’s summer season has surpassed our previous visitor records, as we welcomed over 3.8m visitors to our historic sites across the country – an excellent 20% increase on last season’s showing.
“It is fitting that we celebrate this success on Heritage Awareness Day, the first-ever national celebration of heritage and the contribution it makes to communities across the country.
“We’ve responded to the increasing interest in Scotland’s historic environment by extending opening at seasonal sites across the country throughout October, giving people further opportunity to explore the wealth of history that Scotland has to offer and to uncover the hidden historical gems on their doorstep during the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
“From Edinburgh Castle to Skara Brae, historic sites across Scotland are continuing to draw record numbers of visitors, which is further demonstration of the value of Scotland’s historic places within the country’s wider tourism offering.”