Scotland’s Minister of Culture announced today £5 million in funding to create a state-of-the-art visitor centre at the site of the battle of Bannockburn. The centre will be built in time to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the battle where Scottish forces defeated the English king Edward II.
The landmark project will see Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland work in partnership to deliver a world class visitor attraction incorporating an immersive digital experience designed to transport visitors back to the fourteenth century battle.
Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Minster of Culture, said, “This project will deliver a world class visitor attraction with a immersive digital experience that will give visitors a real flavour of the battle. We believe it will set new standards for Scotland’s tourism industry, generate significant additional income for the local economy and increase visitor numbers.
“The regeneration project will have a positive impact on the Bannockburn Heritage Centre, the local community of Stirling – already looking forward to the unveiling of the £12m Stirling Castle Palace Project – and Scotland as a whole.
“During the second year of homecoming in 2014, Scotland plays host to the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup – our country will be on an international platform – and this project will allow us to celebrate our heritage and promote Scotland as a tourist destination to the world.
“A new visitor centre will bring a leading edge digital interpretation to the battle of Bannockburn when it opens in 2014 and establish the site’s position as one of the most historically and culturally important places in Scotland during the Battle’s 700 year anniversary.”
It is expected the new centre will increased the number of visitors coming to the battlefield from 65,000 to 85,000 annually, with 100,000 estimated to come in the first year.
This latest investment comes ahead of the completion of the ambitious £12 million Stirling Castle Palace Project expected in Spring 2011. This will see the restoration and refurbishment of Royal Palace at Stirling and present the Royal Lodgings as they might have appeared in the heyday of Scotland’s Stewart court in the mid 16th century.
Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland said: “Bannockburn is one of Scotland’s most significant sites and we want to ensure that everyone understands this place’s part in the development of the nation. As the conservation charity charged with its care, we have a responsibility to ensure that the legacy of the events that occurred here lives on and is recognised by future generations.
“We are very excited by the possibilities as we embark on this new and ambitious partnership project and look forward to working with Stirling Council, community representatives and others to ensure that Bannockburn and central Scotland’s many historic sites play their part in telling the story of Scotland.”
A design team of consultants are working with Historic Scotland and the Trust to develop proposals for improving visitor facilities and are currently looking at new interpretation of the Battle and the site featuring new digital media, visitor facilities, landscape and car parking improvements and conservation of the listed monuments and their setting. The next step in the project is the approval of the interpretation plan, scheduled for January 2011.
The Minister added: “The interpretative designers, working in partnership with the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation, will ensure a high quality immersive experience for all those interested in Scotland, its history and culture. Visitors will experience and explore battlefield tactics of the period for themselves through a unique approach telling the real story of the battle of Bannockburn.”
“Scotland’s historic environment contributes more than £2.3 billion to the Scottish economy – a key factor in ensuring sustained economic growth and supporting our tourism. We are attracting thousands of visitors to Scotland every year thanks to our heritage sites and our national trend shows an impressive 2.5% increase. The Government’s investment in Bannockburn will see an economic return for Scotland and build upon our current success in tourism.”
Source: Historic Scotland