What is Scotland's most popular tourist attraction?

Iconic Edinburgh landmark drew the most visitors in 2015

Updated: 
Edinburgh Castle from below - Scotland, UK

Edinburgh Castle is the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland, new research has revealed.

The historic 900-year-old fortress which dominates the city's skyline received 1,568,508 visitors last year.

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A study by Glasgow Caledonian University's Moffat Centre found that the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh was the top free attraction, with 1,567,310 visitors.

Other free sites that topped the one million visitors mark were Glasgow's Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh and Loch Lomond Shores in Balloch.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green, the Helix park in Falkirk and the Falkirk Wheel all welcomed more than 600,000 people, placing them on the top free attractions list.

Along with Edinburgh Castle, the top paid-for list includes Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh Bus Tours, Stirling Castle, Glasgow Science Centre and Urquhart Castle in Drumnadrochit.

Professor John Lennon, director of the Moffat Centre, told STV News: "Scotland is clearly punching above its weight in visitor attraction performance.

"It is a testament to the range and appeal of Scotland's paid and unpaid offer that we continue to attract international and domestic tourists as well as local visitors to our visitor attractions."

The BBC reports that the study found visits to the top 10 attractions increased by 5% in 2015.

Official figures showed that the number of overseas tourists in Scotland dropped by 1% last year.

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Tour of Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland