Scottish Parliament welcomes five millionth visitor since opening in 2004

The Scottish Parliament has welcomed its five millionth visitor since the building was opened in 2004.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 2:06 pm
Gillain Semple (left) with Christine Grahame (centre) and her son Rory Semple as she became the five millionth visitor to the Scottish Parliament since the building opened in 2004. Picture: Andrew Cowan

The milestone was reached today as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations taking place to mark two decades of devolution.

The five millionth member of the public to enter Holyrood was Gilly Semple, visiting from Stirling with her son and brother.

She was greeted by Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame MSP, who presented her with a hamper from the Scottish Parliament gift shop.

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Ms Semple had decided to visit Holyrood to view the World Press Photo exhibition.

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Ms Grahame said: “The Scottish Parliament has always prided itself on being an open and accessible place, where the public should be welcomed and feel at ease.

“Getting to five million visitors coming through our doors is a real landmark moment.

“As well as the thousands of school pupils and community groups who come each year, we have a range of activities for the general public to come in and enjoy, including a new exhibition and a regular range of events, displays and tours.

“I sincerely hope that Gilly and her family enjoy their visit today, and that many more follow in their footsteps in the next 20 years. Our doors are open.”

The parliament building at Holyrood has long been a tourist attraction in its own right. Last year, it was awarded five-star status by VisitScotland – the same ranking as Edinburgh Castle.

Opened in 2004, some three years behind schedule, the building itself has won admiration from international architectural critics and has certainly proved a hit with the hundreds of thousands of tourists who descend on Edinburgh every year.

According to official statistics, Holyrood has an annual footfall of just under 300,0000.

Enric Miralles, the late Catalan architect who designed the building, claimed it reflected the land it represented.