Awards all around as Continuum bags Travellers’ Choice clean sweep

Our portfolio of attractions has each been celebrated by TripAdvisor in recognition of our high customer satisfaction levels and the quality of visitor experience.

All eight Continuum locations have been awarded prestigious Travellers’ Choice Awards, once again evidencing our spot as one of Britain’s leading attractions operators.

The latest success came just 24 hours after it was revealed that The Real Mary King’s Close is officially the UK’s most popular tourist attraction.

The attraction beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile beat competition including Tower of London, Tower Bridge and The British Museum to be named Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards’ Best of the Best for the UK.

The Close even placed as the 11th-best attraction in Europe, one place below the ancient ruins of Pompeii and above the likes of the Trevi Fountain, Van Gogh Museum and fellow Edinburgh sites like Royal Yacht Britannia and Edinburgh Castle. Read more about The Close’s recognition here.

And our success is down to continuing to put engaging storytelling at the heart of what we do.

Our CEO, Juliana Delaney, says: “Our teams work incredibly hard to create memorable, story-led experiences for our guests, so it is always rewarding to get such glowing feedback from them. This is what drives us on and ensures that they want to return themselves or recommend us to others.

“We are delighted that our visitors have shared their five-star experiences on TripAdvisor and that our portfolio has unanimously been awarded with Travellers’ Choice Awards.”

The Real Mary King’s Close named UK’s number one tourist attraction

Edinburgh’s The Real Mary King’s Close has been revealed as the UK’s favourite tourist attraction, beating competition from some of the nation’s most iconic locations.

The tour takes guests beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to discover the city’s long-forgotten 17th-century streets and beat London attractions including Tower Bridge, The British Museum and Tower of London to top spot in Tripadvisor’s latest rankings.

Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards Best of the Best was revealed on Tuesday and highlights the top attractions to visit in the UK and internationally.

The Real Mary King’s Close, which was opened in 2003, is operated by Continuum Attractions and welcomes more than 250,000 visitors each year.

Commenting on the landmark achievement, Juliana Delaney, CEO of Continuum Attractions, said: “Our attraction is truly unique. Being able to bring the centuries-old stories of Edinburgh’s dark past to life in such an engaging and fun way is testament to our brilliant team of storytellers who capture the imagination of our guests.

“When we took on the Close some 20 years ago the predictions were for 60,000 visitors per year. Through the careful development of the site and expert storytelling we have built a reputation that has reached far and wide.

“Being named as the UK’s number one tourist destination is a real privilege but the most important thing is knowing that our guests enjoy their time with us and will want to return. Our partnership with City of Edinburgh Council has delivered them a world-class heritage attraction.”

The Real Mary King’s Close has been part of Edinburgh’s rich cultural scene for 21 years after Continuum Attractions teamed with the city council to reveal the Close’s rich history.

Edinburgh attractions claimed all three top spots in Tripadvisor’s latest rankings with Royal Yacht Britannia taking second place and Edinburgh Castle rounding off the top three.

The Real Mary King’s Close has received more than 21,000 reviews on Tripadvisor which has helped it to land in top spot.

One recent reviewer said: “This tour is highly recommended by me! If you love history this will be an awesome way to immerse yourself in what life was like in the 1600s in Old Town.

A second said: “A very interesting and unique visit to the Edinburgh of past times. You get to visit the old homes of people who lived there and learn their stories. Our guide Emilia was very nice and made the whole tour feel like time travel. Would totally recommend!”

Find out more about The Real Mary King’s Close and book tickets here.

Guests from 118 countries welcomed to Loch Ness Centre in first year as Continuum attraction

    • The Loch Ness Centre is celebrating the first anniversary of its £1.5m upgrade
    • 48 per cent of visitors say they’re convinced the Loch Ness Monster lurks beneath the water
    • Guests from 188 countries have booked onto tours
    • More than 13,000 Nessie hunters have taken to the water with sonar equipment in the last year to search for answers

More than 85,000 people have joined the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster in the last year, including visitors from 118 countries.

June 10th marks the first anniversary of the reopening of The Loch Ness Centre in Drumnadrochit. We invested £1.5m in the Highlands attraction in 2023, intertwining high-tech and immersive storytelling with the legendary story of the Nessie.

Lured by its rich mix of scientific research and reported sightings, guests have descended on the original Drumnadrochit Hotel from all four corners of the world in the last 12 months, including from Australia, Guatemala, Malawi and Mongolia.

While guests are intrigued by stories of Nessie, it’s clear that many believe tales of the legendary creature are based in fact. Since reopening last year, visitors have been having their say at the end of each hour-long tour. They say:

    • ‘I see Nessie’ – 48 per cent
    • ‘Nonsense’ – 23 per cent
    • ‘Possibility’ – 28 per cent

Juliana Delaney, our CEO, says: “The Loch Ness story is one of the most famous ever told and, more than ever, we are discovering that there are believers in almost every country, keen to make up their own minds about Nessie.

“When we redesigned and reopened the attraction last year, we were committed to retaining the authenticity and portraying the real story behind Loch Ness, its mysteries and its monster. Moving away from the cliches, we were passionate about focusing on the facts and real-life accounts. We acknowledge that, in many cases, there are rational explanations grounded in science for what people encounter but there are still plenty that have gone unexplained to this day.

“Our balance between explaining the science and beautifully illustrating witness accounts is what continues to draw people to the Loch and The Loch Ness Centre. Guests from six continents and 118 countries can’t be wrong.”

Visitors have praised the Centre’s “modern and fresh” presentation and how it appeals to all ages, backed by its five-star status on Tripadvisor.

One guest said: “We returned to the exhibition following its recent refurbishment and wow – what a difference. This new presentation vividly brings the science, culture and folklore to life in a clear and entertaining way.

A second commented: “What an excellent experience. It’s not what I was expecting. It was educational, witty and there was something for everyone. It was a really well-balanced view of possibilities with enough of a magical element to fulfil the fantasy.”

A visit to the Centre is internationally popular. In the last year, bookings have come from across the globe, including:

    • Guatemala
    • Laos
    • Malawi
    • Mozambique
    • Nepal
    • Oman
    • Peru
    • Samoa
    • Turkmenistan
    • Venezuela
    • Zambia

A single booking could be done on behalf of a group or an individual.

As well as visiting the Exhibition, more than 13,000 guests have also headed out onto the Loch on a Deepscan Cruise. The boat, named after the first Operation Deepscan Expedition carried out in the Loch in 1987, ferries guests across the water to search its depths using world-class sonar equipment, as well as to get stunning views of Urquhart Castle.

Hundreds attend four-day Quest for Nessie at Continuum Attractions’ Loch Ness Centre

The Loch Ness Centre recently led the largest-ever search for Nessie to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the first organised surface watch.

The Quest, which took place at the end of May, concluded with an unexplainable noise being captured during a Deepscan cruise – one of the cornerstone activities of the four-day event centred around the centuries-old search for answers.

Hundreds of guests. From as far afield as Washington State, USA, took part in the hunt along the 23-mile-long loch in the Scottish Highlands. The event was held in and around The Loch Ness Centre, operated by Continuum Attractions, which celebrated the first anniversary of its £1.5m refurb on 10th June.

Among The Quest’s headline events was a hydrophone cruise to listen for mysterious sounds echoing from the depths of the loch, led by Alan McKenna from Loch Ness Exploration. His team captured a unique noise to be analysed – a rhythmic pulsing that lasted about 10 seconds. Alan will now isolate the noise in attempt to identify the source of the fascinating sound that he has never heard before.

Meanwhile, Evelyn Murphy, 11, captured a potential sighting with an intriguing photo, showing a clear break in the water made by an unidentified object or creature.

The Quest took place on the 90th anniversary of the pioneering adventurer Sir Edward Mountain and his team of twenty becoming the first ‘Watchers of the Monster’.

The centre also hosted a live debate with Alan McKenna as well as Roland Watson, a renowned Loch Ness writer, and eyewitness Richard White, which was held in-person and screened virtually to participants from around the world. The panel told gripping stories, discussed their ongoing research, and dissected eyewitness accounts, all while debating the existence of the elusive monster.

Other volunteers explored the depths of the world-famous loch with Deepscan Captain, Alistair Matheson, the Skipper for the Loch Ness Project. Monster hunters joined Alistair and Alan McKenna for an extended excursion, utilising a 60-foot hydrophone to listen for mysterious sounds echoing from the depths of the loch.

Ashley Range, a volunteer who travelled from Washington State to take part in The Quest, said: “I’ve been obsessed with Scotland and Nessie my whole life, and to be here is just a dream. To be on an actual expedition and out on Deepscan exploring Loch Ness is a dream come true. I definitely believe in Nessie. Although a lot of the evidence can be explained, there is a lot out there that is unexplainable. It’s been an incredible trip!”

Paul Nixon, general manager of The Loch Ness Centre, said: “The excitement this weekend has proven that intrigue surrounding Loch Ness and its monster is still very much alive. We all want the same thing, to discover the mysteries of the natural phenomena beneath the loch. We’ve been delighted to welcome so many people to The Loch Ness Centre for hour-long centre tours and Deepscan boat trips across the weekend. After another successful The Quest Weekend, we’re more determined than ever to continue our search for answers.”

Next year’s Quest Weekend is taking place on Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th May 2025.

Wonka woes to Paddington’s pounds: Our CEO has her say on the evolution of immersive experiences

Never has our industry made headlines so readily.

The infamous Willy Wonka-inspired experience made global news and sent shockwaves through anyone owning or managing attractions. We are – and will never be – in that position but it’s hard to avoid flashbacks to when those notorious, underwhelming images appeared online.

Now, London’s new Paddington Bear Experience has launched making headlines of its own, based around its cost – a little more than your typical marmalade sandwich!

More extravagant, immersive attractions are popping up across the UK. While some are seriously impressive, others fall well short and raise questions around value for money.

Check out our CEO Juliana’s comments to The Observer about the rise of large-scale immersive experiences here.

“Their rise to prominence stems from the demand for captivating, story-led experiences,” Juliana says.

“Most attractions tell a story but the method of doing so is often the clincher in driving sales and providing a genuinely great experience. These large-scale immersive interactions remove the guest from their everyday and transport them to an alternative space where they can forget about their day-to-day challenges for a while. But these attractions can sometimes underwhelm.

“Technology has its part to play but our insights show there is still huge demand for authentic, people-led experiences with storytelling at their heart. One example is The Real Mary King’s Close. It utilises talented actors to take guests back to the 17th-century and ranks in TripAdvisor’s top 10 UK attractions – showing the demand is there.

“With increased operating costs to consider, tiered pricing strategies are also employed to provide accessibility to as many potential guests as possible. These models can include everything from early bird discounts to VIP packages to cater for various budgets and open our doors to as many people as possible.

“In years gone by, we have also found that guests might spend a full day in a city to soak up three or four attractions but this is no longer the case. We are finding visitors are now opting to spend their money on one great experience – one they know will knock them out the park and create lasting memories to recall in years to come or share on their Instagram.”