Visitors to Linlithgow Palace and other historic sites have soared this year after being featured in the popular television series Outlander.
The research carried out by Historic Environment Scotland found that these tourist attractions were enjoying the “Outlander effect”, opening up a whole new audience to the sites.
Blackness Castle, which features in the series as the stand in for Fort William, has seen the most significant rise in visitors, up 72 per cent for the period April 1 to June 25 compared for the same period last year.
Linlithgow Palace, which was transformed into Wentworth Prison, has also seen a huge increase with an extra 43 per cent in footfall as 23,510 visited the site.
Stephen Duncan, director of commercial and tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, who manage 300 Historic Scotland visitor attractions, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this boost in visitor numbers as we continue to celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
“This is an excellent return on the investment we have made across our estate. At Doune Castle, for example, after upgrading the visitor and retail offering, we have seen retail income increase 62 per cent for the year to date.
“Featuring in Outlander has opened up our sites to a whole new audience, inspiring more and more visitors to come and discover the history behind these places, further demonstrating the enduring value and significance of heritage attractions in Scotland.”
Outlander is now being shown on British television on More 4 after being available only on Amazon Prime.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, is looking forward to the impact the move to mainstream TV will have on numbers to the historic locations.
She said: “It’s fantastic to see that the international success of Outlander continues to draw visitors from around the world to visit treasured heritage sites like Doune Castle and Blackness Castle and find out more about Scotland’s rich history and fascinating heritage.
“The TV drama showcases Scotland to international audiences and has helped strengthen the growth we’re seeing in tourism from overseas. I’m delighted Scottish and UK audiences will now be able to watch Outlander on TV, and look forward to seeing the impact on visitor numbers to the heritage sites that provide the stunning backdrop to the series.”