Scotland takes top two slots in TripAdvisor poll

Three Scottish tourist attractions are benefiting from a huge increase in  visitors.

The Seasonal Experiences Trend Index, announced by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest provider of bookable tours and activities, reveals the must-visit attractions for summer, based on year-over-year booking activity on the site.

The firm announced the top 10 for the UK, with Scotland taking three of the slots- including the top two positions.

With a 479% increase, taking top slot is the Loch Ness, Highlands and Whisky Distillery Day Tour from Edinburgh.

This full-day excursion takes travellers to the stunning Scottish Highlands, Glencoe, and Loch Ness. Departing from Edinburgh, travellers aboard the coach will experience some of the area’s top sights and attractions including, Mary Queen of Scots’ birthplace, Deanston Distillery and sample its whisky, and learn the fascinating history of Glencoe—a village made modernly famous as a setting for James Bond and Harry Potter films.

Taking second place, with a 260% rise, is the Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour.

Travellers can save up to two hours of waiting with a skip-the-line admission ticket to Edinburgh Castle, one of the Scotland’s most recognisable monuments. On a guided tour, visitors will discover secret histories and hidden details as a guide brings the fortress’ history to life.

And in eighth place, with a 200% rise is the One-Hour Real Mary King’s Close Underground Tour in Edinburgh.On the tour of the Royal Mary King’s Close, travellers will discover the secrets that lie beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Accompanied by a costumed guide, visitors will experience Edinburgh’s past, exploring the underground streets, hearing stories about real-life residents, and learning about life in Edinburgh during the 17th century.

South of the border, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace experiences have seen bookings on TripAdvisor boosted by over 200% since last year, according to the Seasonal Experiences Trend Index.

Boosted by the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s engagement last November and the wedding that followed in May, a Windsor Half Day Tour Including Entry to Windsor Castle – the location of the royal wedding – has seen bookings rise by a whopping 248% year-over-year. This is closely followed by A Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle Day Trip which has risen in popularity by 217%.

TripAdvisor spokesperson Hayley Coleman said: ‘Harry and Meghan’s engagement news last year and the wedding this spring certainly seems to have sparked a renewed interest for travellers in experiencing some of the most iconic royal attractions, in particular the very venue that played host to the couple’s nuptials.

‘As this year’s Summer Trends Index reveals though, the experiences seeing the biggest rise in bookings are not just limited to London and Windsor, with Edinburgh, Oxford and Belfast all featuring in the top 10.’

The Top Trending UK Experiences for summer 2018 are:

1. Loch Ness, Highlands and Whisky Distillery Day Tour from Edinburgh, +479%.

2. Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour – Edinburgh, Scotland, +260%.

3. Windsor Half Day Tour Including Entry to Windsor Castle from London, +248%.

4. Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle Day Trip from London, +217%.

5. River Thames Sunset Sightseeing Cruise, +209%.

6. Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon and Cotswolds Tour, +208%.

7. Churchill War Rooms Entrance Ticket, +205%.

8. One-Hour Real Mary King’s Close Underground Tour in Edinburgh, +200%.

9. London Royal Parks Bike Tour including Hyde Park, +188%.

10. Game of Thrones and Giant’s Causeway Full-Day Tour from Belfast, +178%.

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest online provider of tours, activities and attractions, offering more than 100,000 bookable tours, activities and experiences to help travellers unleash the full potential of their trips.

The Experiences Trend Index rankings were determined based on the percent increase in bookings on TripAdvisor between 2017 and 2018 for experiences from May 1 – August 31. Experiences were required to have at least four out of five bubbles on TripAdvisor Experiences to qualify.