A new TV travel programme, a visit from a Hollywood star and opening to visitors on Hogmanay for the first time are all being credited for a rise in visitor numbers to Rosslyn Chapel in 2019. In the calendar year, the Chapel welcomed just under 181,500 paying visitors, reflecting an increase of more than 3,750 on 2018.
Rosslyn Chapel featured in the first series of Channel 5 programme, Secret Scotland, presented by Susan Calman (pictured) and shown in February. The programme, which promised to ‘pull back the curtain on some of Scotland’s most iconic destinations’, led to an increase in visitors, giving the Chapel its busiest ever February and March. More exposure followed in September, when Hollywood star Vin Diesel visited Rosslyn Chapel while filming in Edinburgh. During his time on site, he made a video outside the Chapel, for his following on Instagram of over 57 million people worldwide. The end of the year also saw a boost when the Chapel opened to visitors for the first time on Hogmanay and welcomed over 400 visitors.
Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: ‘2019 was a good year for us and we were delighted to see an increase in visitors on the previous year, thanks to some help from Susan Calman and Vin Diesel! Annual passholders and children in family groups do not pay for admission and so when those numbers are added, we welcomed a remarkable total number of over 196,500 visitors in 2019. Visitors come here from across the world and it’s great that historic buildings, such as Rosslyn Chapel, continue to hold such strong appeal. As a charity, the Trust depends on income from visitors, as well as donations and legacies, to conserve the Chapel for future generations to appreciate and so we thank every visitor for supporting our work through every visit.’
Rosslyn Chapel was founded by Sir William St Clair in 1446 and came to worldwide prominence when it featured in The Da Vinci Code book and film. In 2006, following the film’s release, visitor numbers reached 176,000.