National Museum of Scotland tops visitor league table

Simon Stephens, 08.03.2017
Big increases in visitor numbers across Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland has overtaken Edinburgh Castle as the most visited attraction in Scotland, according to figures released by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (Asva).

Asva’s Visitor Trends Report for 2016 shows that the National Museum of Scotland attracted 1,810,948 visitors in 2016, a 15.5% rise on 2015.

The increase follows the July 2016 opening of ten new galleries at the museum, which were created in a £14.1m scheme that is part of a wider £80m programme to redevelop the site.

“We are now embarking on our final phase of the transformation of the Victorian building, creating two new galleries for our internationally important Ancient Egypt and East Asia collections,” said Gordon Rintoul, the director of National Museums Scotland.

Edinburgh Castle, which charges admission, saw its visitor numbers increase 13.4% to 1,778,548, but it still fell behind the national museum, which is free to enter.

Overall, Asva figures shows that almost 30 million visits were made across 249 sites in Scotland in 2016, a rise of 6% on 2015. The increase follows a 3.4% rise in 2015, which was preceded by a 6.1% rise in 2014.

The Visitor Trends Report shows that 11 of the top 20 attractions in Scotland are in Edinburgh.

Visits to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow fell very slightly, but it was still the fourth most popular attraction in Scotland.