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23 December 2015

Dunblane Cathedral earns its stars

The interior of the nave at Dunblane Cathedral.

One of Scotland’s most noble churches, Dunblane Cathedral, was the latest heritage attraction to be awarded its first ever star rating as part of the VisitScotland Quality Assurance awards programme.

The cathedral, which was graded at 4-stars, joins a number of other Historic Scotland properties – including castles, prehistoric settlements, sculpted stones, abbeys, a distillery and watermills, amongst others – which have been re-awarded their star rating as part of the industry awards initiative.

Now in its 20th year, the reputable 5-star Quality Assurance grading system, pioneered by VisitScotland in 1995, sees expert advisors visit each attraction to carry out a formal assessment against a set of national quality standards. Every area of the overall visitor experience is evaluated, from the arrival through to the interpretation and catering facilities, ensuring that a number of essential requirements are successfully met.

VisitScotland Quality Advisors named 15 attractions including the Black House, Stirling Castle and Iona Abbey – which achieved a record-breaking score of 92% – as being of an ‘exceptional standard’ awarding them a 5-star rating. Whilst 50 sites, including Dunblane Cathedral, Maeshowe and Doune Castle, were praised for being of an ‘excellent standard’, each receiving a 4-star accreditation. The remaining four attractions were awarded a 3-star rating.

Commenting on the VisitScotland Quality Assurance awards, Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “It’s a great accolade that a number of our sites, which take part in this awards scheme, have been re-awarded their star rating. This year also welcomed two new exciting firsts – with Dunblane Cathedral being graded as exceptional at a 4-star rating on its first assessment and Iona Abbey recording the highest ever score across the estate.

“These significant achievements are a real testament to the on-going dedication and hard work of all of our staff who contribute to and deliver a wonderfully engaging experience for the millions of visitors who explore Scotland’s rich and diverse heritage each year.

“This is also made doubly special in the same year in which all eight of our attractions which offer a food and drink experience were recognised with the VisitScotland Taste Our Best award.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Congratulations to Historic Scotland on an excellent set of Quality Assurance results this year.

“These attractions are among some of the most spectacular in the country. Having so many scoring consistently highly on the Quality Assurance award programme is testament to each site’s brilliant work in safeguarding and promoting Scotland’s rich heritage.

“Our Quality Assurance scheme is not just about driving standards, it’s about helping businesses and organisations to reach their full potential so that they can reap the benefits. A top quality grading is an effective marketing tool which helps them attract more business and secure their success.”

For more information about the VisitScotland Quality Assurance scheme, including Star Rating and Taste Our Best, please visit: www.visitscotland.com/quality-assurance

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.
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Year of Food and Drink 2015

2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success. Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism. A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat.

Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 Logo

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For further information

Grant Thomson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8603
Mobile: 07580 702 611