Successful summer for historic sites

Aberdour Castle, Aberdour
Aberdour Castle, Aberdour

It’s been a spectacular summer for Fife’s historic sites as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announced record-breaking visitor figures for the 2017 summer season at sites across the region.

The summer season saw Aberdour Castle – possibly Scotland’s oldest standing castle – continue to celebrate the so-called “Outlander effect” (the castle has proved to be popular since featuring in the television series Outlander) as it recorded its busiest season ever.

15,475 people visited the site between April and September 2017 – an increase of 32 per cent on the same period last year.

Other sites in the region have also had an impressive showing. St Andrew’s Cathedral recorded a 28 per cent increase in visitors, while St Andrew’s Castle has already exceeded its visitor total for last financial year, seeing a 19 per cent surge in footfall.

Dunfermline Abbey and Palace – resting place of some of Scotland’s greatest medieval monarchs - experienced the most dramatic increase in visitors, with numbers up 42 per cent from last summer.

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 per cent 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.

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 per cent increase on last season’s showing.”

He added: “It is fitting that we celebrate this success on Heritage Awareness Day.”