The Queen’s former floating palace in Edinburgh has been rated the nation’s Best Visitor Attraction for each of the past 10 years by VisitScotland.
The five-star attraction achieved a record score of 96 per cent in the VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme.
It is the highest mark ever awarded to a Scottish visitor attraction, with the score trumping the Royal Yacht’s own record set in 2014.
VisitScotland’s scheme measures the quality for tourism businesses, benchmarking visitor attractions, accommodation providers and catering establishments across the country.
Businesses are assessed on a set of criteria, including welcome, attitude, knowledge and efficiency of staff, audience level and maintenance.
It was a landmark year for the Royal Yacht, as it announced record numbers of 308,906 visitors in 2015.
Since opening in 1999, almost five million people from around the world have visited The Queen’s former floating palace in Edinburgh. Britannia’s chief executive, Bob Downie said: “To be the best in Scotland once is a fantastic achievement, but to do this for ten consecutive years is a phenomenal tribute to our staff who go the extra mile to ensure that all our visitors have a great experience when they visit Britannia.
“The true test of any great organisation is consistency of performance, delivering great value for time and money, year in year out, and there is no doubt that our pioneering approach to providing great customer experiences has underpinned our success.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland’s chief executive, said: “I’d like to congratulate Britannia on this fantastic achievement, which demonstrates an outstanding commitment to quality and excellence in every aspect of the business.
“Retaining the accolade of Scotland’s best attraction for 10 years’ running, Britannia is setting the standards for tourism in Scotland, and it is a real testament to the total commitment shown by their staff to consistently deliver a world leading customer experience.”
The best hotels near Edinburgh Castle
The best hotels near Edinburgh Castle, featuring the top places to stay for romantic restaurants, elegant rooms, cosy bars and stylish interiors, near Waverley Station and the Royal Mile
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
An imposing and historic building in the heart of the city, with a top restaurant and a new spa. It’s a modern take on the grand hotel: doormen in top hats, afternoon teas and women in furs alongside first-class connectivity, a fitness centre (with swimming pool and Guerlain spa) and impeccably refurbished rooms. Rooms come in four grades from ‘Classic’ to ‘Suites’, decorated in lightly soothing or softly stormy colours. Splash out on a ‘Castle View’ room for a heart-swelling outlook on life in Edinburgh.
The only five-star hotel on the Royal Mile, located between the George IV Bridge and the photogenic charms of Victoria Street. For a hotel with 167 rooms it feels remarkably personal, with graceful references to the past incorporated in the new Scottish designer-led revamp. Rooms come in ‘cosy’, ‘signature’, ‘superior’ and ‘deluxe’, all with iPod docks and Nespresso machines. It’s a five minute stroll up the Royal Mile to the castle from the G & V Hotel, where room 507 has a huge window framing a fabulous view of the castle.
The former Scotsman newspaper building turned five star hotel is a bastion of solid confidence and quiet style in a commanding position offering great views over the city. You can swim in the stainless steel pool, have a spa treatment, hang out in the North Bridge Brasserie or just gaze out over the city from your turret bedroom. If money is no object go for the penthouse and play Edinburgh Monopoly in your own library.
Sheraton Grand Hotel
Located in Festival Square on the Lothian Road overlooking the west side of Edinburgh Castle, this modern hotel has everything you would expect from the brand, with bells on. Although predominantly aimed at business travellers, the location, range of rooms and services, luxurious spa and well-regarded restaurant make it the perfect choice for travellers who like to know exactly what they’re getting. There are 269 rooms in five categories, and these range from ‘Classic’ to ‘Grand Suite’, all with a look best described as well-tailored.
Motel 1 Edinburgh Princes Street
Located bang opposite Waverley Station and handy for everything, this German brand brings strong design to budget hotels, leaving everyone else playing catch-up. Here corporate means a house identity that is bold, distinctive and slightly bonkers. Rooms are pleasingly minimal – white walls and brand identity accents of turquoise and dark brown, book a front-facing room for views of the castle. Public areas are stylish, fun and functional; bedrooms are simple triumphs of good design using the house style with a lighter touch.
Doubletree by Hilton
This city-centre hotel is not on the most salubrious-looking street in Edinburgh, but it’s in a central location close to the Grassmarket, with a great view of the imposing south side of the castle, and good restaurants nearby too. Although strongly corporate, the welcome is as genuinely warm as the complimentary cookie handed out on arrival, while the more stylish bar and restaurant areas make up for regimentally uniform but convincingly comfortable bedrooms.
The Balmoral Hotel
This neo-Renaissance building with its massive clock tower has been an Edinburgh landmark for more than a century. With elegant bedrooms, the most expensive of which look out over Princes Street, the Castle and Arthur’s Seat, over-the-top marble bathrooms, a spa, gym and swimming pool and Number One restaurant (Michelin star holder for 13 years), as well as a brasserie, the Balmoral Bar and a dedicated whisky bar, this is a 21st century version of a grand hotel.
The George Hotel
Edinburgh Castle is only a 10-minute walk from the newly refurbished George Hotel, where rooms at the side of the hotel have castle views. Bedrooms come in various sizes and styles from standard to suites (no bathrobes until you reach ‘deluxe’), but standard rooms are a good size, the ones in the old building with perhaps more character, but the new rooms are appealingly bright. A byword for comfort and unchanging standards for generations of visitors to Edinburgh, the hotel has managed to retain its essential character whilst managing to keep up with the times.
Glasgow’s reputation as an outstanding destination for discerning global travellers looks set to grow as the city has been named by the authoritative and inspirational National Geographic Traveler as one of its 20 ‘Best of the World’ destinations for 2016.
Amped Up With the Arts
If Edinburgh is the blue-blooded aunt at Scotland’s tea party, then Glasgow, just 45 miles to the west, is the T-shirt-clad cousin kicking over the kettle on the way out.
A wealthy shipbuilding and trade hub on the River Clyde since the 15th century, Scotland’s largest city fell into dereliction, earning a rough-and-tumble reputation that stuck to soot-covered buildings well into the 1980s. Now scrubbed up and gleaming, Glasgow flexes cultural muscle, artfully burnishing its industrial cityscape.
Scotland’s self-proclaimed Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design kicks off in January, with Glaswegians proudly puffing their chests. The Turner Prize, Britain’s most esteemed contemporary art exhibition and award, is in Scotland for the first time, culminating on January 17 at Tramway, Glasgow’s former streetcar terminus.
But it is music that really pumps Glasgow’s cultural heart. From the bagpiper busking top-20 tunes along Buchanan Street to the crooner wooing crowds at storied clubs like King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow’s sound track is unrivaled.
“To describe a typical Glasgow musician is quite difficult to do,” says Stirling Gorman, who performs with his brother, Cha, in their band, King of Birds. “It’s really a Glasgow swagger that ties us together like twine.” —Kimberley Lovato
When to Go: March through May for the spring flowers; June to August for outdoor festivals and up to 17 hours of daylight; the New Year brings the Hogmanay and Burns Night festivals.
How to Get Around: From Glasgow Airport, take the First 500 Glasgow Shuttle to the city center. Walk and ride the subway to get around downtown and the West End. Use buses and trains to connect to outlying areas.
Where to Stay: Two buzzy, boutique options close to Glasgow Central train station are the 72-room Malmaison Glasgow and the 30-room Grasshoppers Hotel Glasgow. Malmaison, housed in a converted Greek Orthodox church (with a modern wing attached), is home to Scottish superchef Martin Wishart’s new brasserie, The Honours. At Grasshoppers, rates include sweet amenities like complimentary cupcakes and ice cream.
What to Eat or Drink: At Cail Bruich in the West End, the six-course tasting menu is worth the splurge. Selections are seasonally fresh, local, and homemade and could include savory smoked cheese gougères (pastry puffs) and mackerel prepared with plum, cucumber, elderflower, and buttermilk.
What to Buy: Get interior design inspiration at Timorous Beasties, the internationally acclaimed studio founded in 1990 by Glasgow School of Art alumni. Browse the collections of edgy textiles (such as iguana fabric, surreal Chic Blotch wallpaper, and Union Jackass lampshades). Smaller gift items include ceramic mugs and pillows.
What to Watch Before You Go: Glasgow native Peter Mullan won the Cannes best actor award for his title role in My Name Is Joe (Lionsgate, 1998), a gritty drama set and filmed in one of Glasgow’s poorest neighborhoods.
Fun Fact: One theory about the derivation of the name “Glasgow” is that it’s an anglicized version of the Gaelic descriptor glas cu (translated as “dear green place”). The city has 90 gardens and parks, including Victoria Park, where you can see remnants of an ancient swamp forest. The site, called Fossil Grove, protects 11 fossilized tree stumps estimated to be about 330 million years old.
The best days out with the kids and things to do as a family near Edinburgh and Glasgow and around Scotland, including beaches, Scottish Wildlife Trust sites, parks and adventure playgrounds.
Whether you find yourself in the depths of the dark season in Scotland, or glorying in a sunny day, here are 10 great days out for families.
The Firth of Clyde, dubbed the Costa Clyde by Glaswegians, has the best range of beaches within easy travelling distance of the city.
An award-winning sandy beach stretching for almost two miles from the town of Ayr, ideal for picnics and sandcastle building.
The northern end is the most popular with an esplanade, a huge expanse of grass, and outdoor and indoor children’s play areas. Amenities include crazy golf, a putting green and several cafes, and other listed activities are bird watching and fishing trips for skate, haddock and cod.
On rainy days Pirate Pete’s on the esplanade is a treasure trove of gangplanks, scaling nets, ball lagoons and slides for toddlers and young pirates up to age 11.
A long, sweeping stretch of sand with a lively esplanade and spectacular views over the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran. The beach is well maintained, and there is a well-equipped play park for children. Popular with kite enthusiasts and windsurfers. Lovely Italian gardens to the north, and sand dunes to the south.
A picturesque harbour serves as a fishing and ferry port, and a modern marina is a haven for yachtsmen. Plenty of shops and restaurants in town and no fewer than seven golf courses, including the championship course of Royal Troon.
A beautiful expanse of sand at the mouth of the River Irvine backed by sand dunes and grassy areas. Picnic sites, parking and toilets, and if the water is too cold the Magnum Leisure Centre has a swimming pool, a lazy river, family slides and a teaching pool.
It also has a children’s soft play area and an ice rink. Other local attractions include the Scottish Maritime Museum on the harbourside, with ship models, lifeboats, and visits on board the MV Kyles, the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the world.
Conveniently located near the town’s shops and cafes, a clean sandy beach with a children’s play area, amusement arcades and a boating lake. Car parking and toilets by the harbour and fishing port, from where an esplanade stretches south bounded by grassland parks. Woodlands Bay to the south of the beach is a good place for finding fossils. Daily boat trips to the curious volcanic island and nature reserve of Ailsa Craig.
Take a 10-minute ferry ride from the coastal resort of Largs to the isle of Great Cumbrae, where a small sandy blue flag beach lies in the shelter of Millport Bay. Winner of the Keep Scotland Beautiful Best Beach Award for two years running.
A crazy golf course, mini-dodgems for kids, a summer funfair and trampolines, and no shortage of shops and cafes. Cycles for hire for a popular 10-mile circuit of a quiet coastal road around the island. Largs also has a small beach, and a Viking entertainment complex with exhibitions, story telling, a soft play area and a 25 metre-long swimming pool.
Pollock Country Park
A sylvan wonderland on the south side of the city with 145 hectares of woodland, gardens, riverside walks and meadows where highland cattle and Clydesdale heavy horses graze. Themed walking trails, mountain bike circuits, and countryside ranger events such as pond dipping and wild flower planting.
Pollock Country Park offers 145 hectares of woodland, gardens, riverside walks and meadows, along with the ancestral home of the founder of the National Trust for Scotland
Formerly the ancestral home of the founder of the National Trust for Scotland, Pollok House is a grand mansion with walled gardens and the UK’s finest collection of Spanish art.
The park also houses an eclectic exhibition of art and antiques in the Burrell Collection – and an adjacent children’s swing park. There are cafes in both Pollok House and the Burrell collection.
Who: Suitable for children of all ages.
Mugdock Country Park
A short drive from Glasgow, 260 hectares of ancient woodlands, moorlands, wetlands and lochs with expansive views of the city to the south and the Campsie Fells to the north. Jewels in the crown are a centuries old oak forest carpeted with wildflowers in spring and summer, and a tranquil loch.
A network of footpaths leads to a castle dating from the 14th century, and an easy orienteering course for families. Bicycles, tandems and child bike trailers are available for hire, and there is a play park for kids and a more challenging adventure trail for older children.
Regular events include story telling for youngsters and craft workshops.
Who: Suitable for all ages.
An hour’s drive south of Glasgow is a nature reserve at New Lanark, run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, where a way-marked footpath leads through woodland along the banks of the River Clyde to a spectacular three-stage waterfall tumbling down a gorge. The Corra Linn falls were painted by Turner, and eulogised by Wordsworth.
Bonnington Linn, above New Lanark, Falls of Clyde: the perfect setting for a Scottish family adventure
Bonnington Linn, above New Lanark, Falls of Clyde: the perfect setting for a Scottish family adventure Photo: Alamy
A highlight is a restored 18th century cotton mill village, a world heritage site, with a visitor centre, puppet theatre, and summer craft workshops for children making fairy costumes, paper lantern hot air balloons and butterfly lights. Suitable for primary and secondary school children.
A short ferry ride from Gourock to Hunter’s Quay by Dunoon leads to a magical little gorge where exuberant vegetation crowds around a stream tumbling down a succession of rocky falls.
This is a true fairyland, where a footpath and wooden bridges wind up through the kind of scenery that would be familiar to Frodo Baggins. At the top, a woodland contour path affords fine views of the Cowal hills and leads to Benmore Botanical Gardens, featuring over 300 species of rhododendron and an avenue of giant sierra redwood trees.
Not for toddlers.
On the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, a modest hill walk affording splendid views of what Victorians called “the most beautiful of Scottish lakes”.
Beginning at the car park in the pretty village of Balmaha, it is an easy ascent through a forest of old Scots pines and up a clear, well-used footpath on the open hillside. There is no need to go all the way to the top (358 metres) to enjoy the views, and find a grassy picnic spot. Can be combined with a stroll along a loch-side path to a small beach below the hill. Shops, cafes and waterfront restaurants in Balmaha.
Heads of Ayr Farm Park
Animals are the big attraction of this play-park near Ayr, notably Ralph the Camel, Troy the Tapir, and a menagerie of llamas, lemurs, meerkats, ponies, donkeys and goats.
Activities include bumper boats, water wars, electric tractors and diggers, and a giant aerial runway. Quad bikes for adults with toddlers and others for older children, and an undercover Play N’ Wild adventure barn with drop slides and a two-storey soft play area.
Toddlers can slide, seesaw and explore in a play zone with sensory games.
Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre and Aquarium
Eagles and falcons, kestrels and hawks, and owls big and small are among more than thirty birds of a feather in a little avian zoo in Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond, devoted to conservation and education.
Guided tours explain the history and individual character of every bird, as well as the global plight faced by many birds of prey.
Additional packages include handling and flying hawks.
Who: All ages
An adjacent aquarium has the country’s largest collection of sharks among over 1,500 creatures, viewed through a ‘tropical ocean’ tunnel and in inter-active rock pools. Activities include animal feeding, a quiz trail – and sleepovers in the glass tunnel.
Who: All ages
Calderglen Country Park
An outdoors experience in a scenic wooded glen in East Kilbride with a children’s zoo, tropical glasshouse, nature trails, and play areas.
The zoo has a range of exotic and endangered animals including owls, marmosets, wallabies and meerkats, and there are miles of walks through woods and along the banks of the River Calder.
A dedicated play area for younger children, and a more demanding adventure play area for older children. Talks and tours of the zoo with one of the keepers to learn about the animals and biodiversity and conservation. Pre-school sessions with story telling and ‘guess the animal’ games.
Who: All ages
M&D’s theme park
The Giant Condor meets the Runaway Mine Train and the Flying Carpet at this complex of roller coasters, slides, disco boats and dodgems in Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell.
Split into kids’ rides, family rides and thrill rides, the park caters for all ages. The Game Zone is one of Scotland’s biggest indoor amusement arcades with more than 150 games, and the country’s first glow-in-the-dark 10-pin bowling alley with 16 lanes.
An 18-hole crazy golf course plays over water and into a pirate’s galleon, and a soft play area for under threes has spiral chutes, trampolines and a ball pit.
A highlight is Amazonia, an inter-active indoor tropical rainforest with monkeys, toucans and pythons.
Who: All ages
An indoor adventure centre for wee ones in the city with play frames, ball pools, trampolines, slides, a go-kart track, and an astro-turf football pitch.
The aim is to stimulate imaginations by recreating an Amazonian swamp, a Bornean rainforest and an Egyptian pyramid.
Babies and toddlers are catered for in a separate play area with a foam octopus and a mini racetrack. Party rooms available for special occasions. A restaurant and Starbucks Café are on site.
Go on a historical walking tour.
A walking tour in Edinburgh is a must as so much of the city’s history is in its streets, hidden in alleyways and market squares. There are loads of tour companies and last minute street tours you can join.
Wander through the shops on Victoria Street.
The collection of restaurants and shops in this colorful bend in the road is one of the hippest corners of the city. The Red Door Gallery is a great spot to grab some local souvenir artwork or take home a Harris tweed bowtie from Walker Slater.
If you’re lucky enough to have sunshine in Edinburgh, you have to spend at least one afternoon spread out in these gardens that are in the shadow of the castle. I buy bread, cheese, fruit and wine at the Marks and Spencer Food Hall to share with friends in the park.
Get your whisky on.
Right on the Royal Mile is a spot I try to pop into whenever I’m in Edinburgh. It is a bar called Whiski. They have live music (often Scottish folk) every night. With over 500 whiskys, they are sure to stock your favorite single malt, but they also offer tastings or “whisky flights” if you’re new to Scotch whisky.
I especially like the flights that highlight the different regions so you can taste the difference between an island malt (peaty/smoky) or a Speyside (usually more smooth).
Climb a hill for a view of the city.
If you’re feeling energetic, head to the top of Arthur’s Seat for the best views of the city. The walk starts at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Holyrood Park, past the Palace of Holyroodhouse. A smaller hill to climb that also has a great view of the city is Calton Hill. It’s on the opposite side of town from the Royal Mile.
Go to a museum.
There are several great art museums in Edinburgh. My favorite is the Scottish National Gallery in Princes Street Gardens. Bonus: Admission is free. It boasts an impressive collection of both Italian and Dutch masters and of course, famous Scottish artists. Look for William McTaggart’s gorgeous landscape paintings of Scotland’s dreamy west coast. Also free to visit, the National Museum of Scotland is worth a wander just to view the building. It is usually my rainy day back-up plan to any outdoor activities because it is massive.
There are loads of great tea rooms in Edinburgh, which make it easy to stop multiple times for tea on a rainy day. Valerie Patisserie is our family favorite. Some of the loveliest tea rooms are inside the museums where you can pop in for a slice of cake and some tea to revive you after wandering the exhibits.
Every guidebook to Edinburgh will include touring both Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. These are both great places to visit, but I’ve omitted them because they are already well covered. If you only have one day in the city, you might view these buildings from the outside in favor of a few other choices, especially during the high summer season as they can be very crowded.
Whatever you do in Edinburgh, you are sure to fall in love and want to come back again and again to see the hilltop fort and spires rising up around you.
Edinburgh Airport and VisitScotland have today welcomed confirmation from Eurowings of a new direct flight between Scotland's capital and Dusseldorf Airport.
Edinburgh Airport’s Chief Executive Gordon Dewar said the three-times-weekly flight – which will commence on March 27 of next year – highlights the airport’s commitment to delivering enhanced options for passengers and business links direct between Scotland and mainland Europe.
Mr Dewar said: “I am delighted that Edinburgh Airport has a direct new flight into the heart of Dusseldorf; this offers even greater choice and is further confirmation of Edinburgh Airport’s position as a leader for business connectivity between Scotland and the continent.
“Credit is due to Eurowings for recognising the growing demand for connectivity from Edinburgh. Confirmation of this route between Scotland’s capital and Dusseldorf Airport shows they share similar aspirations for business growth as we do.
“With over one million passengers through the doors at Edinburgh Airport last month – and in every one of the last five months – we are continuing to grow, create jobs and make a positive contribution for Scotland’s economy.”
Eurowings, which is part of the Lufthansa Group, already serves Cologne from Edinburgh. Lufthansa also flies to Frankfurt from Edinburgh, and two airlines within the same group – Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss Airlines (Swiss) – also serve Edinburgh to Brussels to Zurich respectively.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Germany already makes up our single biggest European market and is our second largest international market. Last year Scotland welcomed 343,000 trips by our German friends – almost a fifth more than in 2013. Air services play an important part in growing the visitor economy and we are particularly delighted to see such a strong operator as Eurowings increasing its position in Scotland.
“German visitors see Scotland as an ideal destination for ‘romantic adventurers’ and can be found travelling to all corners of the country to explore our diverse cities and beautiful landscape. With this exciting addition to Scotland’s air routes, we look forward to welcoming even more of our German friends next year.”
Follow the country’s movie trails and discover sprawling beaches, ancient castles, rugged mountains, rolling hills, distinctive cities and picturesque towns and villages - all which have taken centre stage, many times over on the silver screen.
A MAP highlighting Scottish locations from films such as Skyfall, Harry Potter and Braveheart has been launched to attract “set-jetting” movie fans.
The Highlands & Skye movie map highlights about 50 filming locations and features everything from Hollywood blockbusters to low-budget horror films.
Among the landmarks highlighted are the Glenfinnan viaduct, which appears in the Harry Potter movies, Eilean Donan Castle, seen in Highlander and The World Is Not Enough, and Glencoe, which forms a backdrop in Braveheart and The 39 Steps.
The map is divided into different genres ranging from horror films such as The Wicker Man, filmed partly in Plockton, to science fiction movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, which features Glen Nevis, as well as drama, action and more.
The guide, created by VisitScotland and Highland Council, also features a dedicated section on Skye which, in addition to providing the opening airport scene for Flash Gordon in 1980, has been a major draw to film-makers in recent years.
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman and the Gaelic language film Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle are among those to be filmed on Skye. It can also be seen in the forthcoming Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender.
Jenni Steele, film and creative industries marketing manager at VisitScotland, said: “This fantastic map is an indispensable guide to movies shot in the Highlands and on Skye.
“From Monty Python And The Holy Grail to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and from Local Hero to Braveheart, the spectacular scenery of the region has been a magnet for generations of film-makers.
“With set-jetting an ever more popular pastime, I’m sure even more people will be inspired to come to the Highlands after learning of its rich silver screen legacy.”
The map is available in VisitScotland information centres and will also be available to download at http://static.visitscotland.com/pdf/highlands-movie-map.pdf
Audrey Sinclair, chair of Highland Council’s planning, development and infrastructure committee, said: “The Highlands has a great history of being used as a movie location and we also know this can be a significant factor in encouraging people to visit many parts of the Highlands to experience our fantastic scenery for themselves.
“With the last year seeing an increase in interest from movie-makers, it makes it all the more relevant for the council to have supported the production of this movie map which showcases many of the best Highland locations used in everything from movie classics to modern blockbusters.”
The Forth Bridge has become the sixth Scottish landmark to be awarded Unesco World Heritage Site status.
The decision was announced at a meeting in the German city of Bonn after the UN’s cultural committee spent more than a year considering its nomination.
World heritage status is given to sites of “outstanding universal value” with the aim of protecting them for future generations.
The distinctive red bridge has carried trains over the Forth since 1890.
Scotland’s other World Heritage Sites are New Lanark, St Kilda, the Old and New Towns in Edinburgh, Neolithic Orkney and the Antonine Wall.
The award puts it alongside the Pyramids of Egypt, the great Wall of China and the Sydney Opera House in terms of cultural significance.
The bridge, which spans the Firth of Forth between South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh and North Queensferry in Fife, was opened in 1890 after eight years of construction.
Designed by Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker, it measures 2,529m (1.5 miles), weighs 53,000 tonnes and was at the time the world’s longest multi-span cantilever bridge.
When it was constructed it was one of the most ambitious projects of its kind ever attempted, and at its peak, more than 4,500 men were employed building it.
The Unesco inspection report stated: “This enormous structure, with its distinctive industrial aesthetic and striking red colour, was conceived and built using advanced civil engineering design principles and construction methods.
“Innovative in design, materials and scale, the Forth Bridge is an extraordinary and impressive milestone in bridge design and construction during the period when railways came to dominate long-distance land travel.”
For 125 years it has been an icon of Victorian engineering excellence, a symbol of Scotland and even a favourite expression for a never-ending task.
Now the Forth Bridge is listed alongside the Pyramids of Egypt, the great Wall of China and the Sydney Opera House in terms of cultural significance.
The bid for World Heritage status was led by the Forth Bridges Forum, which was established by the Scottish government to promote the three Forth Bridges.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the bridge was one of the “industrial wonders of the world” and congratulated the team behind the bid.
She added: “The Forth Bridge is an outstanding example of Scotland’s built heritage.
“Its endurance is testament not only to the ingenuity of those who designed and built it but also to the generations of painters, engineers and maintenance crews who have looked after it through the years.”
The bridge is owned by Network Rail, whose infrastructure director, David Dickson, described it as “a prime example of civil engineering and an iconic structure, not only in Scotland but across the world.”
Mike Cantlay, chairman ofTourism agency VisitScotland said World Heritage Site status would lends “even greater aura and appeal to one of the planet’s most instantly recognisable landmarks”.
He added: “The timing is perfect as, in 2016, this country will celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and you would be hard-pushed to find a better example of all three qualities anywhere in the world than in the Forth Bridge.”
UK Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: “Recognition as a World Heritage Site will draw more tourists to the area as well as making sure one of the UK’s great engineering feats stands for future generations.”
There are now more than 1,000 World Heritage Sites across the globe, in 161 countries.
Of these, 29 are British, including the Tower of London, the Giant’s Causeway and Stonehenge.
Scotland’s Food Secretary Richard Lochhead has suggested that Scotland’s traditional whisky distilling regions should also now seek World Heritage Site recognition.
It follows the announcement on Saturday that the French region of Champagne had been given the status.