The chapel welcomed 6,284 visitors last month, exceeding the previous record of 6,127 visitors in February 2007, at the height of The Da Vinci Code interest. The figure reflects a rise of 15 per cent on last February.
This time, rather than the big screen, the chapel’s appearance on the Channel 5 programme ‘Secret Scotland’ is credited with the upsurge.
The series, presented by Susan Calman, promised to ‘pull back the curtain on some of Scotland’s most iconic destinations’ by discovering the untold tales and secret stories behind a host of world-famous locations, from Loch Ness to Edinburgh Castle and Rosslyn Chapel to Skara Brae. Susan visited the Chapel last spring to discover more about its famous carvings and legends. She also met the late Stuart Mitchell, who composed a piece of music based on the ‘musical cubes’ within the 15th-century building. Rosslyn Chapel featured in the first episode, exploring Edinburgh and the surrounding area, which was shown on Channel 5 on 8 February, attracting an audience of 1.4 million. The programme is still available to view on Channel 5’s catch-up service.
Ian Gardner, director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: “We have lost count of the number of people who mentioned watching ‘Secret Scotland’ and are delighted that so many viewers have been inspired to come and see the chapel for themselves.
“The coverage, coming at the start of school holidays and a period of great weather, has led to a record-breaking February for us.
“As we are a charity, each visit provides us with valuable support to conserve the chapel for future generations.”
Rosslyn Chapel was also confirmed as a five-star attraction in the annual grading visit undertaken by VisitScotland.
The visit scores all aspects of a visit – from the website, car park and welcome to the shop and toilets – and is the sixth consecutive time that the chapel has reached the five-star level.
Ian added: “It is great news to achieve this prestigious rating again from VisitScotland.
“The award recognises the dedication and commitment of our whole team, who work hard, day after day, to ensure that Rosslyn Chapel provides one of the best visitor experiences in Scotland.”