VISITORS to historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness in central Scotland, soared in 2011, according to the charity The Friends of Kinneil.
The group said 2025 people toured inside the mansion in the past year, compared to 1622 visitors in 2010 – an increase of nearly 25 per cent.
The charity said strong media support and extra campaigning through social networks like Twitter and Facebook helped boost attendance.** It is now planning a further series of free open days for 2012. Details will be available soon at http://www.kinneil.org.uk
Maria Ford, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “The numbers relate to visitors seeing inside Kinneil House during the five free open afternoons we run in conjunction with Historic Scotland – and visitors to the building during a history tour of the estate in the summer. For six afternoons, these are impressive figures.
“Of course many more people tour the grounds of the House, and visit the surrounding Kinneil Estate, throughout the year. It’s a fantastic place to visit at any time.”
Local volunteers work with staff from Historic Scotland to provide free access to the building during special open days. The mansion includes some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland, and was recently used to inspire the restoration of the Palace at Stirling Castle.The House was closed to regular visitors in the 1980s, ironically due to poor visitor numbers. Since 2006, The Friends of Kinneil has been working with Historic Scotland to provide better access.
Kinneil House dates back to the 15th century and was remodelled during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was home to the powerful Dukes of Hamilton and was built close to the line of the Roman Antonine Wall.The wider Kinneil Estate boasts the remains of a cottage used by inventor James Watt, the ruins of a medieval church and the remnants of a Roman fortlet.
Mrs Ford added: “The growing interest in Kinneil House and its wider estate also shows through the numbers of visits to our website: www.kinneil.org.uk … In 2010, we had 12190 ‘views’. That grew to 17,508 in 2011 – and there’s still a few days of the year to go. That’s an increase of more than 43 per cent.
“Again sites like Facebook – and people sharing information about us on social networks – drove traffic to our website. And the support of our friends in the traditional media has also been brilliant. It’s great to have so many people interested in what’s happening at Kinneil. We hope the trend continues in 2012.”
She continued: “We’ll re-start our open days at Kinneil House in the spring. However, the surrounding parkland is open throughout the year, as is the lovely Kinneil Museum, which boasts an audio-visual show and hands-on exhibits. The museum is normally open from Monday to Saturday afternoons through the year (with a closure for the New Year holidays). Admission is free.”
** The PR Store provides pro-bono support for the charity, both via traditional media and online.