Lonely Planet Writer

Harry Potter and Outlander fans are beating a path to these Scottish landmarks

Proving that being featured in a TV series or film can have a huge impact on visitor numbers, the Glenfinnan Monument in Loch Shiel, Scotland, has seen a rise in visitor numbers from 251,181 in 2016 to 396,448 last year – an increase of 57.8%. This is believed to be as a result of the popularity of Outlander, the BritishAmerican drama about the Jacobite uprising, as well as the nearby Glenfinnan Viaduct, which the Hogwarts Express crossed several times in the Harry Potter films.

The Glenfinnan Monument on the shores of Loch Shiel, Scotland. Image: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images

The Glenfinnan Monument was erected in 1815, as a tribute to the Jacobite clansmen who fought and died in the cause of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. It was designed by eminent Scottish architect, James Gillespie Graham. and is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust said last year that its Glenfinnan car park is regularly over-run with visitors. Many of them gather to take photos of a tourist steam train crossing the viaduct, and this was causing worry about the possibility of serious accidents there.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct featured in several Harry Potter films. Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

The surge in visitor interest in the monument was revealed in the initial findings of the annual survey of more than 700 of the country’s paid-admission and free attractions, which is conducted by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development. The findings revealed that the Glenfinnan Monument featured in the top ten paid-admission attractions and that that tourism across Scotland was up by 5% in 2017.

Glenfinnan Viaduct in Lochaber, Scotland. Image: Archive Photos/Getty Images

“As a destination, Scotland continues to benefit from the lower value of sterling against the euro and the US dollar, ensuring tourists receive value for money as well as a high-quality experience,” says Professor John Lennon, director of the Moffat Centre. “Demand has been further buoyed by a resurgent domestic ‘stay-cation’ market as Britain faces economic uncertainty and the reduced purchasing power of sterling.”

For further information on the Moffat Centre Visitor Attraction Monitor, see here.