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23 Oct 2023

Can you help us shape the future at Glenfinnan?

The Glenfinnan landscape, including Glenfinnan Monument, Viaduct and Loch Shiel
In a new online survey we’re asking local community and recent visitors about their experiences at Glenfinnan, to help inform future planning for this special place.

We’re inviting anyone who has visited Glenfinnan in the past two years, or who lives in the local area, to tell us about their time spent here and to share their thoughts on how to improve the experience.

As part of our activity to care for and share Glenfinnan Monument and Visitor Centre, we want to gather the views of as many visitors and local people as possible, as we work with the local community and other partners to look after this increasingly popular Highland tourist destination.

Take the online survey now

This feedback will play a vital role in helping to inform future planning and investment in facilities at Glenfinnan, which has experienced significant growth in visitor numbers in recent years. The online survey allows respondents to share their opinions, rate different options, and add their own ideas and comments.

Waiting for a glimpse of the train: eager visitors at the Glenfinnan viewpoint behind the visitor centre

Emily Bryce, Operations Manager for Glenfinnan, stated: ‘2023 has been Glenfinnan’s busiest ever year for visitors. Our visitor centre has welcomed almost half a million people since January, which is a massive 46% up on 2022 (when we were the most-visited attraction in Scotland outside the Central Belt) and 9% up on our previous busiest year in 2019.’

‘This volume of visitors of course places pressure upon our small rural community, as well as our facilities and parking infrastructure, none of which were designed to accommodate such great demand.”

‘Our conservation charity is working closely with our neighbours and local partners to ensure Glenfinnan is an enjoyable and sustainable place to both visit and live in. We are here to protect, care for and share what makes this area special and, as part of this, we are embarking on a project to invest in our facilities here.’

‘Understanding more about why people visit, how they travelled here, the experience they had and how we could improve it, is an essential step towards planning for the future.’

“This is a brilliant opportunity for anyone who knows and loves Glenfinnan to have their say, whether they had a great day out here, or encountered challenges which impacted on their enjoyment.”

Glenfinnan is often considered the starting point for the 1745 Jacobite Rising, where Charles Edward Stuart gathered his supporters at the head of Loch Shiel before embarking on a fateful campaign to regain the throne for the Stuarts, which ended in defeat at the Battle of Culloden.

Since the 1930s, the National Trust for Scotland has cared for the iconic Glenfinnan Monument, built in 1815 to commemorate the Jacobite cause. We also run a visitor centre, which was designed to accommodate up to 100,000 visitors a year, but now attracts more than five times that.

Glenfinnan became globally famous when it starred as a location in the Warner Bros Harry Potter films and now attracts visitors from around the world, many coming to see the Jacobite Steam Train crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct several times a day from spring to autumn.

As well as encouraging more visitors to arrive without a car, we are working closely with the local community and other partners to address traffic congestion and parking capacity challenges at Glenfinnan, which have resulted from growing visitor numbers.

We are also committed to improving our own facilities and the ways we share Glenfinnan’s stories, enabling people from around the world to gain a greater understanding of this special place, and inspiring them to respect and protect it during their visit.

The survey can be accessed online here until the end of November. The research is being managed by an independent research company, details will not be shared with third parties, and storage procedures are fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (2018) and General Data Protection Regulation.