Research reveals Da Vinci Code impact – 21 years after publication

Visitors to Rosslyn Chapel are still strongly influenced by its role in The Da Vinci Code according to new research undertaken to mark the 21st anniversary of the book, which was first published on 18th March 2003.

Research carried out by Shanks Research Consultancy with 6,677 Chapel visitors between March 2023 and March 2024, reveals that –

  • 49% of visitors said that Dan Brown’s novel, and the subsequent film, was a factor influencing their decision to visit the historic site.
  • 72% of them had read the book and seen the film.
  • 43% of them said that The Da Vinci Code was either a ‘very important or important’ influence.

Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said ‘It is remarkable that The Da Vinci Code continues to have such a strong influence on our visitors, 21 years since it first appeared. It has had a huge impact on the profile of Rosslyn Chapel and has significantly increased levels of visitor numbers, which rose from 38,141 to 79,916 after the book was published and to more than 176,000 when the film was released. This has helped us complete a comprehensive conservation project at the Chapel and undertake a major programme of restoration and repair at Rosslyn Castle, enabling  future generations to appreciate these unique buildings.’

In 2023, the Chapel welcomed 142,211 visitors, as numbers started to increase following the pandemic.

In the story of The Da Vinci Code, the main characters, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, investigate a murder in the Louvre and, in doing so, follow a set of clues to unravel a mystery to find the Holy Grail, taking them to London and then to Rosslyn Chapel. Since publication, the novel has been translated into 44 languages and has sold more than an estimated 80 million copies, making it one of the best-selling novels of all time.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland’s Regional Director, said: ‘Rosslyn Chapel is one of Scotland’s iconic attractions and a hugely important driver of tourism in Midlothian. The Da Vinci Code was a global phenomenon and it’s wonderful that the book and film are still influencing visitors to this day. This new research chimes with our own visitor surveys which continue to show that film and television productions are still referenced by visitors, sometimes decades, after their initial release.’

He continued: ‘Scotland’s historic sites have been the backdrop to many productions, and this is a great example of the positive impact of screen tourism, which can help support the conservation of our amazing built heritage.’

Dan Brown has previously said: ‘When I decided to write The Da Vinci Code, I knew that its finale would have to take place at the most mysterious and magical Chapel on earth – Rosslyn’.


18 March 2024|Categories: Tourism|
The Official Rosslyn Chapel Website