How to get rid of visitors

I think I mentioned that we spent last week in Keith with the rest of Phyllis’ family. We drove up to our holiday home via Pitlochry, but we returned via Urquhart Castle and Glencoe (see the map on the left).

The idea was to have a quick look at Urquhart Castle during our lunch break.

However, when we got there, we realised they had built a wall and planted trees to prevent visitors from seeing the castle without paying the entrance fee of £7.20 for adults and £4.30 for children between 5 and 15. This would have meant that for all of us to get in we would have had to pay £57.40 – a hefty price to eat our sandwiches in a ruin.

Needless to say, we tried to climb the wall to take a few photos and then ate our lunch in the car park, followed by a toilet break in the next village because they wouldn’t even let you use their toilets without paying the entrance fee.

As far as I could gather, almost nobody paid to get in. I wouldn’t rule out that many tourists would pay that much during the summer holidays, but they would definitely make more money in April if they lowered the price.

What gets me is also that they had absolutely no rebates for families. If our kids had been closer together in age (e.g., 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5 instead of 13, 11, 5, 3 and 1), a single visit would have cost us £35.90. That kind of price just prevents families with many kids from going altogether. Will people setting the price for attractions never understand that large families typically have less money left to spend on entertainment than families with 1.4 kids? Of course it’s our own choice to have many kids, but the result is that we just don’t go to places that charge a high entrance fee for each child.

That said, it looks like you can get free admission to lots of castles including Urquhart Castle if you join Historic Scotland, which costs £79.80 per year for two adults with up to six kids. That actually is a fairly reasonable price – I just wish all the individual attractions would adopt a similar pricing scheme.

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