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1 September 2016

Linlithgow Palace records best ever turn out for Spectacular Jousting event

1.9 million visits to heritage attractions across the country between April and July

A jouster at Linlithgow Palace rides on horseback past the audience

Birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, Linlithgow Palace was amongst the top performing visitor attractions in Scotland between April and July this year.

Linlithgow Palace staff welcomed 39,080 visitors to the historic site, which was once the royal residence of the Stewarts, in 122 days, an increase of 7% on the same period in 2015.

This seasonal surge at Linlithgow is revealed as Historic Environment Scotland – who operate over 300 Historic Scotland visitor attractions across the country which together help tell more than 5,000 years of Scottish history – announce a strong season for visitor numbers. Over the four month period 1,964,118 people turned out at attractions throughout the country, from Shetland to the Borders, up by more than 169,000 on last year.

As well as recording an overall jump in visitor figures, Linlithgow Palace also saw a record-breaking July as 21,963 visitors passed through its gates in a single month – an increase of more than 3,000 on the previous July.

The annual Spectacular Jousting event, a weekend-long festival of horsemanship, pageantry and music, also returned to its home on the Peel at Linlithgow Palace in July. This year’s event, which took place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July, broke all previous records for footfall. A total of 11,763 visitors flocked to the historic attraction to see history being brought to life over the two day period, a rise of 22% on 2015’s jousting event, making it the most visitors to ever see jousting in a single weekend.

Visitors cheering at Jousting with their arms in the air

Meanwhile the Sunday alone saw a record-breaking 7,351 people welcomed to the event, an increase of 19% on the Sunday last year and the highest level of footfall on record for a single day since the event began.

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “This season has brought with it a raft of impressive achievements for a number of our attractions throughout the country and it’s fantastic to see the enduring appeal that sites such as Linlithgow Palace have.

Old records have been broken and new ones set with this year’s Spectacular Jousting event at Linlithgow Palace leading to a memorable season for the site.

"This weekend-long, annual event continues to enthral our members and visitors alike,  with 2016’s figures, seeing  us welcome the most people over a single weekend and in a single day in the event’s history.

“These figures continue to demonstrate the real value and significance of heritage attractions and their important place within Scotland’s tourism offering. This same period also marked an exciting milestone for the wider sector with the launch of the Heritage Tourism Action Plan. Designed to build on the great work already taking place across the industry, this collaborative approach will look at maximising and exploring other opportunities to increase and further develop heritage tourism in Scotland for next year and beyond.”

Top Ten paid for heritage attractions for April to July 2016:

  1. Edinburgh Castle – 755,001
  2. Stirling Castle – 215,461
  3. Urquhart Castle – 192,191
  4. Skara Brae – 56,386
  5. Doune Castle – 40,751
  6. Linlithgow Palace – 39,080
  7. Iona Abbey – 38,693
  8. St Andrews Castle – 36,704
  9. Fort George – 28,352
  10. Melrose Abbey – 25,966

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.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering for media release email alerts. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (IAD). Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland's position as an "innovation nation", its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

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For further information, please contact:

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