Dumbarton Castle is continuing to attract increasing numbers of visitors fascinated by its dramatic history and iconic setting.

New figures show a rise of six per cent - to 28,546 - in the number of visitors to the castle in 2018, continuing the increasing trend of recent years.

Last year the castle bucked the trend shown by other visitor attractions in the West of Scotland which in general showed a slight decrease.

This week Gordon Morrison, chief executive of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions, hailed the increase as "particularly impressive".

Now the castle is hoping the blockbuster film Mary Queen of Scots will boost this year's figures even further.

In a fascinating chapter of the castle's history, the child queen was kept at the castle for several months before her embarkation for France for safety in 1548 at the age of five.

Gordon said: "This a particularly impressive result for the castle because visitor attractions in the West of Scotland generally fell by 2.1 per cent in 2018."

A spokeswoman for Historic Environment Scotland said: “Our heritage sites in the Glasgow and Strathclyde region have seen on average a nine per cent increase in visitors.

"Dumbarton Castle in particular had a great year, welcoming 28,546 people in 2018.

"One contributing factor to the increase in visitors to Dumbarton Castle is our popular Rock of Ages event which welcomed over 2,500 people last June.

“With Dumbarton Castle playing an important role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots, we hope that more people will be inspired to visit the historic castle this year following the recent release of the film.”

Gordon added that visitor attractions in Scotland recorded only a modest increase in visitor figures of 0.1 per cent but he said it should be remembered that 2017 was "something of a stellar year".

"To be reporting even a modest increase in 2018 visitor figures is therefore a great achievement for the industry.

"Investment in new attractions, plus attractions that have invested in their visitor offer by developing innovative new products and services and launching inspiring events and exhibitions programmes, are not only reaching new visitor markets but are actively encouraging their existing visitors to return time and again."

The top 20 list made up for 59 per cent of all visits, with 10 of those based in Edinburgh.