Edinburgh Castle was voted the Top UK Heritage Attraction for the second year running at the British Travel Awards ceremony in London last night.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said it was "an incredible achievement for Scotland" to win the gold award during a "challenging" time for the tourism sector.
“Edinburgh Castle has a key role to play in Scotland’s tourist industry, which is a vital part of our economy. Not only is it a pivotal part of our history and heritage, but it also hosts spectacular events from the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Summer concerts, to the fantastic fireworks at the end of the Edinburgh International Festival and at Hogmanay to herald the new year.”
Nick Finnigan, Edinburgh Castle’s Executive Manager, who received the award at the ceremony said:
“This year has been another eventful period in the castle’s history with the arrival of the Olympic torch and the spectacular lighting of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacon against the dramatic backdrop of the castle."
Edinburgh Castle is Scotland's top paid visitor attraction. Historic Scotland, the government agency that runs the venue, reported in June that annual visitor numbers were 1,314,975 - up more than 10% in 2011. However, this past summer visitors to the castle dropped by 9%. Historic Scotland blamed rain.
According to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, Edinburgh's most popular destination last year was the National Museum of Scotland. Unlike Edinburgh Castle, entrance to the museum is free.