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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 23:03 GMT 00:03 UK
Art gallery busiest tourist spot
Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Kelvingrove only re-opened in July after a major facelift
The refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has knocked Edinburgh Castle off the top spot as Scotland's busiest tourist attraction.

The Glasgow gallery welcomed 1.9 million visitors last year after its 27m facelift, VisitScotland said.

The free attraction only reopened in July following the three-year refurbishment programme.

About 1.2 million people visited Edinburgh Castle, which had previously held the honour.

However, the castle remained the country's most popular pay-to-see tourist spot, a title it has held since records began in 1991.

Visitor numbers

More than 45 million people enjoyed Scottish attractions last year, a rise of 6% on 2005, according to tourism bosses.

VisitScotland said the reopening of Kelvingrove had a major impact on visitor numbers and accounted for most of the growth.

Chief executive Philip Riddle said: "Scotland's wide range of visitor attractions are a crucial part of our tourism industry, attracting visitors from Scotland, the rest of the UK and around the world.

"Last year was particularly exciting, with the reopening of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum delighting visitors.

"It is also encouraging to see overall growth in the number of visitors across the board."

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle had previously held the top spot

Edinburgh Zoo and Edinburgh Bus Tours followed the castle as Scotland's top paid-for attraction.

The Glasgow Science Centre and Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling made it into fourth and fifth place.

Among the busiest free attractions were the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh and the city's National Museum of Scotland.

They were followed by the World Famous Old Blacksmith's Shop Centre in Gretna Green and Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden.

The Falkirk Wheel and Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian, made famous by Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci code, saw their numbers almost double between 2005 and 2006.

Glasgow's Museum of Transport also experienced a major boost as a knock-on effect of the opening of its neighbour Kelvingrove.

VisitScotland's Visitor Attraction Monitor was compiled by the independent research body the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development and represents around 700 Scottish attractions.


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