Ardross Castle dethrones Scotland’s most popular castle

Ardross Castle

ANALYSIS of Google data reveals ‘Ardross Castle’ became more searched than Scotland’s most popular castles, following the return of the hit BBC reality show, The Traitors, filmed near Inverness.

Travel information site Places To Travel discovered Ardross Castle searches overtook Edinburgh, Balmoral, Stirling, and Edinburgh Castle on the same day Season 2 Episode 1 aired on Jan 3, 2024.

Searches for the castle, near Inverness in the Highlands, soared by 4,500% compared to the average volume over the last five years. Analysis revealed that ‘Flights to Scotland’ searches reached pre-pandemic levels for the first time in the first week of January as the show came back to our screens.

“You may think it’s a coincidence – that demand is returning to natural levels over time. But Google data clearly shows a bump in searches at the same time The Traitors returned to our screens. It also happened last year when the first season aired,” a spokesperson commented. 

The US version, also filmed at Ardross Castle, aired in January 2023, coinciding with the first surge in flight searches.

A spokesperson from Places To Travel said, “Searches for flights to Scotland have risen to pre-pandemic levels, partly due to The Traitors inspiring viewers’ travel plans as the show returns to Ardross Castle in the Highlands. 

TV tourism is becoming more common, with viewers wanting to visit the filming locations of their favourite shows. It’s effective because the locations are carefully selected for the show, but they aren’t being directly advertised, so users don’t feel like they are being sold to. 

It seems to be driven by a desire to immerse themselves in the filming location of the show, or it could just be that the program has inspired people to travel somewhere they’ve never considered”. 

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