The Real Mary King’s Close is soon to take pride of place on The Royal Mile as part of a substantial refurbishment and expansion plan following a growth in visitor figures for the fifth year running.
The announcement comes as the five star Edinburgh attraction welcomes its 2 millionth visitor since opening back in 2003, having enjoyed a steady 3.6% year on year average growth in visitor numbers over the last five. Last year alone the iconic attraction welcomed over 200,000 guests of which the majority were from outside the UK.
The £500,000 development is the largest investment into the attraction to date and marks a new phase in the Close’s history that is set to significantly enhance the visitor experience both above and below ground. The six figure enhancements follow the £25,000 sum invested in the site in 2013 as part of ten year celebrations, ensuring that this popular five star attraction continues to bolster Edinburgh’s tourism offering whilst exceeding visitor expectations.
Working closely with The City of Edinburgh Council, plans will see the attraction expanding its site with the reinstatement of original doorways on the Royal Mile to create a prominent on street presence. As well as improved access and facilities, a huge amount of the investment will make way for even more of Edinburgh’s history to be revealed through visual effects and interactive features that complement and preserve the historical fabric of the site.
Councillor Frank Ross, Economy Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Mary King’s Close is one of Edinburgh’s five star award winning attractions and this redevelopment will really help to boost the visitor experience. Reinvesting in our attractions is key to ensure the Capital’s Old Town continues to be a world class tourist destination. A share of the profits from The Real Mary King’s Close is reinvested into the Council and its services, and hopefully locals will also feel encouraged to rediscover the Close and the history of their town’s ancient streets. We are delighted to continue work with Continuum Attractions and offer the support of the Council’s internal architects and listed building experts.”
Chief Executive of Continuum Attractions FTS Juliana Delaney comments: “Working in close collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council, we are delighted to announce that The Real Mary King’s Close will evolve again for its 12th season. Our much loved underground tour will delve deeper into the history of the Closes, a Scottish cafe will be opened in the beautiful courtroom, and most importantly, we will be reinstating the two doors directly onto the Royal Mile – giving the thousands of visitors on the Royal Mile a high quality welcome into a new arrival area.”
The attraction plans to remain open throughout the whole expansion process and visitors will still be able to enjoy the full underground experience during this time. The first phase of the new investments will be in place and ready to be enjoyed by visitors from summer 2015.
The Real Mary King’s Close is part of Continuum Attractions who offer a host of cultural visitor attraction experiences across the UK, from the hallowed cobbles of Coronation Street to Portsmouth iconic Spinnaker Tower.