Scotland wins the title ‘world’s best cinematic destination’
The Highlands have helped Scotland become the number one cinema destination in the world.
Readers of American newspaper USA Today and travel website 10best chose the country as the best place in the world to experience the magic of the silver screen, as part of the Best Cinematic Destination awards.
A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
Scotland beat off stiff competition from a host of popular and exotic destinations, including Las Vegas and New Zealand.
And that was thanks in no small part to the Highlands, which is home to some familiar sites for movie-goers.
The 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct along the West Highland Line was used for scenes featuring the Hogwarts Express, a train ride which visitors can now experience for themselves.
The award will be welcome news for tourism bosses, who hope to attract film fans from across the globe to the country, spurred on by the recent success of hit TV programme, Outlander.
The fantasy series uses a variety of locations across the country, including several high-profile sites in the Highlands such as Culloden Battlefield and the Clava Cairns.
Others include Eilean Donan castle in the western Highlands for 1999 James Bond film The World is Not Enough and used in the 1984 Highlander film starring Sean Connery and Highlander where it was the location for the home of the Clan MacLeod.
The Illusionist, which opened the 2010 Edinburgh International Film Festival and was partly set in Scotland, was created in a purpose-built studio in Edinburgh.
Head to the picturesque Isle of Mull and visit Duart Castle which served as a filming location for a number of motion pictures throughout the years, most notably the 1999 Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in 1999.
The Wallace Monument in Stirling, and Rosslyn Chapel in Edinburgh – which played a prominent role in blockbuster The Da Vinci Code – are some of the other destinations mentioned by the newspaper.
VisitScotland research has shown that 40% of tourists who travel to the UK are inspired to visit after seeing the country portrayed in movies or on television.
The latest film to be shot in Scotland is – Macbeth – a new movie adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, directed by Justin Kurzel with Michael Fassbender in the lead role, filmed on locations on Isle of Skye in the Highlands.