Researchers list most popular Scottish tourist attractions

Edinburgh Castle Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Edinburgh Castle was the only paid-for attraction among the seven sites that drew more than one million visitors last year

Seven Scottish tourist attractions recorded more than one million visitors last year, according to new research.

Edinburgh Castle drew most visitors, with 1,568,508 people passing through.

The National Museum of Scotland in the capital was the top free attraction, with 1,567,310 visitors.

The others were Glasgow's Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Scottish National Gallery and St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, and Loch Lomond Shores in Balloch.

The study by Glasgow Caledonian University's Moffat Centre found visits to the top 10 attractions increased by 5% in 2015, despite a strong year in 2014 when Scotland hosted events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green, the Helix park in Falkirk and the Falkirk Wheel were also in the top 10 free attractions. They all welcomed more than 600,000 people.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The Falkirk Wheel was among the top 10 free attractions last year, according to researchers

Top paid-for sites included Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh Bus Tours, Stirling Castle, Glasgow Science Centre and Urquhart Castle in Drumnadrochit.

The Royal Yacht Britannia and the Scotch Whisky Experience, both in Edinburgh, the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick and Culzean Castle and Country Park in Ayrshire completed the top 10 paid-for list.

Prof John Lennon, director of the Moffat Centre, said: "Scotland is clearly punching above its weight in visitor attraction performance.

"It is a testament to the range and appeal of Scotland's paid and unpaid offer that we continue to attract international and domestic tourists as well as local visitors to our visitor attractions."

Image copyright Marc Millar Photography
Image caption The Royal Yacht Britannia was listed as one of the top 10 paid-for visitor attractions last year

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