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On the trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie

Press Release   •   Jan 31, 2017 09:53 GMT

Actor Mark Kydd (Bonnie Prince Charlie) explains the campaign to Edinburgh Castle visitors Vanessa Valle and Oscar Calelle, from Barcelona. Picture credit: Gareth Easton/VisitScotland

A new campaign capitalising on the renewed global appeal of Bonnie Prince Charlie, sparked by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, has been given a £40,000 boost by VisitScotland.

National Museums Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Royal Collection Trust and The National Trust for Scotland have joined forces to create a new trail of 25 properties and attractions throughout the country whose history is intertwined with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.

The announcement comes on the 229th anniversary of Charlie’s death (31 January 1788) and at a time when the historical figure plays a major role in the hit television series, Outlander.

Through a combination of creating online videos, media promotions and blogger activity, the £40,000 match-funding from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund will allow the campaign to reach a greater digital audience across the UK, while also tying in with the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Dressed as ‘The Young Pretender’, actor Mark Kydd helped announce the campaign at Edinburgh Castle – one of the properties on the trail and a building Charlie was famously unable to capture during his lifetime.

A key part of the campaign takes place from 23 June to 12 November, when the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh will host the biggest exhibition on the Jacobites in more than 70 years. This will include, among numerous other items, Charlie’s shield, sword and his travelling canteen.

A new website – – has been created for the campaign. The trail can be downloaded from the site now, with a range of further resources to be added in the coming months. Other locations highlighted in the online trail include:

  • Glenfinnan Monument, Highlands
    The site where Bonnie Prince Charlie came ashore on 19 August 1745 and raised the Stuart standard, beginning the final Jacobite Rising which would end at Culloden
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
    When the Jacobite army took Scotland’s capital city in September 1745, Charlie set up court at the Palace
  • Doune Castle, Stirling
    A principal filming location for Outlander, the castle was occupied by government troops during the 1689 and 1715 Risings but was taken by the Jacobites in 1745
  • Culloden Battlefield, Highlands
    Using 360-degree immersion theatre, the multi award-winning attraction takes visitors back to one of the bloodiest periods in Scottish history, where the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie fought to reclaim the throne
  • Fort George, Highlands
    Established in the aftermath of Culloden to house government soldiers, the fort has changed little in almost 250 years of active service
  • Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

    “Scotland’s history and culture is one the top reasons for visiting Scotland and 2017 offers huge opportunities for the tourism industry and collaboration across sectors. Bonnie Prince Charlie is one of Scotland’s most enduring historical figures and we are delighted, through the VisitScotland Growth Fund, to support this collaborative campaign that will help visitors follow in his footsteps.”

    David Forsyth, lead curator of the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites, said:

    “Our exhibition will present the best material there is – real objects and contemporary accounts and depictions – to present the truth of a story which is even more layered, complex and dramatic than the many fictional and romantic interpretations which exist in popular culture.

    “Through this partnership, we are delighted to extend the exciting invitation to people to not only come here and see those real objects and hear that real story but also to travel the country and visit the places where many of these momentous events actually happened.”

    Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism for Historic Environment Scotland, said:

    “It’s great to be working collaboratively with other heritage partners on this campaign to get tourists and local visitors alike following in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie. We’ve seen a huge increase in footfall to our properties in the wake of the ‘Outlander Effect’, and in Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we’ve got the perfect opportunity to build on this further by sharing the Jacobite stories associated with them far and wide.”

    Simon Skinner, Chief Executive of The National Trust for Scotland, said:

    "The Jacobite story is one of Scotland’s most complex, compelling and, ultimately, tragic tales. Through this partnership we hope to bring this important part of Scotland’s heritage to life for visitors at the sites where these events took place.”

    Deborah Clarke, Senior Curator, Royal Collection Trust, said:

    “We are delighted to partner with National Museums Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland and VisitScotland on this exciting campaign. Following the success of our Mary, Queen of Scots collaboration with VisitScotland in 2013, this special focus on the Jacobites provides further opportunities for visitors to enjoy the Royal Collection at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and learn more about how Bonnie Prince Charlie brought the Palace to life in 1745.”

    Growth Fund applicants are required to align their marketing with VisitScotland’s strategies and campaigns, including the global Spirit of Scotland campaign. They are also encouraged to think about how they can take advantage of Scotland’s Themed Years, with 2017 being named the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

    For more details about the campaign, go to

    To find out more about the VisitScotland Growth Fund, go to

    - ENDS -

    Notes to Editors

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      2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
    • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
    • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
    • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
    • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
    • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
    • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017