Rosslyn Chapel has already played a starring role in the movies, and now one of Scotland’s most famous buildings is celebrating five stars from the national tourism organisation. The historic chapel has become only the fifth recipient of a five-star Historic Attraction award from VisitScotland – meaning it has attained the highest standards of facilities and customer care.
The award represents a fitting conclusion to the Chapel’s long journey towards becoming one of the country’s top visitor destinations. Conservation work to the Chapel, which is Category A-listed, was instigated after damage to the stonework because of dampness. As part of a £9 million project, the building has been made watertight,much of the stonework and many of the stained glass windows have been conserved and a new visitor centre has opened. The last pieces of scaffolding were removed in September 2013.
Funding for the conservation project came from Rosslyn Chapel Trust and a variety of supporters and funders including the National Lottery, through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and WREN Heritage. Rosslyn Chapel Trust, which is a recognised Scottish Charity, gratefully acknowledges support from them and from other organisations and donors from around the world. The Chapel remains a popular destination for visitors, attrracting nearly 145,000 last year and it remains a working church, within the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Edinburgh.
Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, accepted the award with the help of colleagues……… and William the Chapel Cat. A regular visitor to the Chapel, William can often be found sleeping on one of the pews and his likeness now adorns a range of popular items, including a cuddly toy, in the gift shop.
Ian Gardner said: “This is fantastic recognition for the many years of hard work that have gone into making Rosslyn Chapel an amazing place to visit. Since the completion of the major conservation project, the whole team here has been able to focus on improving the experience for visitors and today’s award is the result of everyone’s work.’
Riddell Graham, Director of Partnerships at VisitScotland, who presented the award, said: “I would like to congratulate the team at Rosslyn Chapel on this very well deserved award. The VisitScotland Quality Assurance Scheme provides tourism businesses with an independent and objective mark of quality, and helps to set visitor expectations at the right level, while at the same time giving owners of hotels, B&Bs and visitor attractions useful advice on best practice. The VisitScotland Quality Assurance Scheme is not just about the plaque, it’s about everything that goes behind it. We strongly encourage all tourism businesses to join the scheme, something that benefits tourism businesses and visitors alike. ”
VisitScotland’s world-leading Quality Assurance Scheme currently boasts over 7,000 participants and has been used as an example of best practice with countries all over the world, including Sweden and Namibia.