Rosslyn Chapel still feeling The Da Vinci Code effect two decades after its publication

Rosslyn Chapel is still drawing many visitors who have been strongly influenced by its role in The Da Vinci Code, new research has revealed.
​Rosslyn Chapel continues to fascinate visitors two decades after The Da Vinci Code’s publication.​Rosslyn Chapel continues to fascinate visitors two decades after The Da Vinci Code’s publication.
​Rosslyn Chapel continues to fascinate visitors two decades after The Da Vinci Code’s publication.

The research was undertaken by Shanks Research Consultancy to mark the 21st anniversary of the book, which was first published on March 18, 2003.

It surveyed 6677 chapel visitors between March 2023 and March 2024, and reveals that:-

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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.

In the story, 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, leading them to Rosslyn Chapel. The novel has been translated into 44 languages and has sold more than an estimated 80 million copies.

Ian Gardner, Rosslyn Chapel Trust director, described as “remarkable” the influence the book continues to have so long after its publication.

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He said: “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."

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 surveys which continue to show that film and television productions are still referenced by visitors, sometimes decades, after their release.”

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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.”

Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair. The beauty of its setting, in rural Midlothian, and the mysterious symbolism of its ornately carved stonework have inspired, attracted an intrigued visitors and artists ever since. The Chapel is open to visitors throughout the year.

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.”