Scotland's visitor attractions 'outperform' UK

National Museum of Scotland by Huub Moolenaar Image copyright Huub Moolenaar
Image caption The National Museum of Scotland was the most-visited attraction in Scotland

Scottish leading visitor attractions "outperformed" the UK average last year, according to new figures.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) said it saw a 7.2% increase across all its UK sites last year but Scotland went up 15.6%.

The 10 most popular sites in the UK were all in London.

The National Museum of Scotland, which opened 10 new galleries in 2016, was the most-visited attraction in Scotland, with 1.8 million visitors.

It was the most popular museum outside London and 15th on the UK visitor attraction list, one place above Edinburgh Castle.

The castle was the most-visited paid-for attraction in Scotland, with 1,778,548 visitors, up 13%.

Image copyright Alan Pottinger
Image caption Edinburgh Castle lit up red for Armistice day

The Scottish National Gallery was at 18 on the UK-wide list.

Glasgow attractions the Kelvingrove Museum and the Riverside Museum were at 24 and 25 on the ALVA list.

The first visitor attraction outside Glasgow and Edinburgh was Stirling Castle at 68, with 481,970 visitors.

Image copyright Charles McGuigan
Image caption Stirling Castle rising up through the early morning mist
Image copyright Stuart Phethean
Image caption Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA, said: "Like the 2015 figures, Scotland has continued to outperform the rest of the UK with a substantial increase in their visitor numbers.

"2016 was a great year for Scottish Tourism - proving that Scotland is reaping the benefits of significant capital investment in attractions and creative programming by its institutions."

Image copyright Joan Macleod
Image caption Skara Brae on Orkney

Scottish government Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "As these figures illustrate, this has been a record year for Scotland's leading visitor attractions.

"Our wide range of attractions and excellent heritage and museum collections continue to provide high-quality and exciting experiences, both to people who live here, and to our visitors.

"The success of our leading visitor attractions will continue to play a vital role in making Scotland a destination of first choice for visitors from the UK and across the world."

Image copyright Gary Cousin
Image caption Concorde in the hangar at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune

The list of Scottish attractions on the ALVA list

  • 15 National Museum of Scotland
  • 16 Edinburgh Castle
  • 18 Scottish National Gallery
  • 24 Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
  • 25 Riverside Museum and Gallery
  • 41 Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh
  • 50 National War Museum in Edinburgh
  • 57 Gallery of Modern Art
  • 62 Edinburgh Zoo
  • 68 Stirling Castle
  • 84 Urquhart Castle
  • 99 Scottish National Portrait Gallery
  • 102 People's Palace
  • 103 Glasgow Cathedral
  • 109 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One)
  • 131 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two)
  • 133 Culzean Castle and Country Park
  • 157 Burns Birthplace Museum
  • 158 St Mungos Museum of Religious Life and Art
  • 159 Culloden (one place above the Battle of Hastings battle site)
  • 165 Burrell Collection (now closed for refurbishment)
  • 171 National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride
  • 175 Crathes Castle
  • 177 Skara Brae
  • 181 Inverewe Gardens
  • 182 Doune Castle
  • 183 National Museum of Flight
  • 184 Provand's Lordship
  • 188 St Andrews Castle
  • 190 Linlithgow Palace
  • 194 Iona Abbey
  • 198 Fort George
  • 200 Melrose Abbey
  • 203 Argyll's Lodgings
  • 207 Benmore Botanic Garden
  • 208 Scotland Street School Museum
  • 209 Drum Castle
  • 210 St Andrews Cathedral
  • 211 Bannockburn
  • 212 Tantallon Castle
  • 213 Falkland Palace
  • 215 Caerlaverock Castle
  • 216 Dawyck Botanic Garden
  • 217 Pitmedden Garden
  • 219 Elgin Cathedral
  • 220 Blackness Castle
  • 223 Brodick Castle and Country Park
  • 224 Hill House
  • 228 Logan Botanic Garden
  • 230 Gladstone's Land
  • 238 Glasgow Museum Resource Centre

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