A major Skye tourist destination – which attracts around 40,000 visitors a year – has been awarded five-star status for the second year running.
Clan Donald Skye is a magnificent 20,000 acre estate in south Skye, where visitors can explore the historic gardens and woodland trails around Armadale Castle and learn about Highland history in the centre’s Museum of the Isles.
There are also six self-catering lodges on the estate.
Last week, VisitScotland inspectors paid an unannounced visit to the Armadale attraction and they have awarded it an even higher score than last year, highlighting catering, retail and signage as major contributors to an “exceptional” standard.
General Manager, Stephen McKeown, said the centre had a 40% increase in visitor numbers in 2013, with 2014 numbers so far holding at the same levels.
He said: “Visitor numbers were up 40% to about 40,000 last year and that is against a backdrop of higher admission prices to reflect the value we provide as a tourist destination.
“So far this year, we are about level with this time last year, despite opening 20 days later due to Easter being later this year.”
Once part of the traditional lands of Clan Donald, the estate was purchased by the Clan Donald Lands Trust in 1971.
The trust was established to promote an understanding of the history and traditions of Clan Donald and the Lordship of the Isles.
Since then, it has worked tirelessly to save and develop the estate for the benefit of visitors to Skye and for the local community.
Mr McKeown added that they had made a lot of improvements to catering and the “retail experience” in the last couple of years.
He said: “The team here has worked hard to achieve even higher standards of presentation and customer service.
“We’re delighted to be recognised by VisitScotland as one of the top attractions on Skye.”