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Article published 18/03/2024

Da Vinci Code impact revealed

Visitors to Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian, are still strongly influenced by its role in The Da Vinci Code according to new research undertaken to mark the 21st anniversary of the book, which was first published on 18 March 2003.

In the story of The Da Vinci Code, the main characters, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, investigate a murder in the Louvre and, in doing so, follow a set of clues to unravel a mystery to find the Holy Grail, taking them to Rosslyn Chapel.

Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair. The beauty of its setting in rural Midlothian and the mysterious symbolism of its ornately carved stonework have inspired, attracted and intrigued visitors and artists ever since. The chapel is open to visitors throughout the year.

Rosslyn Chapel

View of Rosslyn Chapel and grounds

When I decided to write The Da Vinci Code, I knew that its finale would have to take place at the most mysterious and magical chapel on earth – Rosslyn

Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code

Research carried out shows that:


of visitors said that the novel, and the film, was a factor influencing their decision to visit


of them had read the book and seen the film.


of visitors said that The Da Vinci Code was either a ‘very important or important’ influence.

Rosslyn Chapel is one of Scotland’s iconic attractions and a hugely important driver of tourism in Midlothian. The Da Vinci Code was a global phenomenon and it’s wonderful that the book and film are still influencing visitors to this day. This new research chimes with our own visitor surveys which continue to show that film and television productions are still referenced by visitors, sometimes decades, after their initial release.

Scotland’s historic sites have been the backdrop to many productions, and this is a great example of the positive impact of screen tourism, which can help support the conservation of our amazing built heritage.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland’s Regional Director

It is remarkable that The Da Vinci Code continues to have such a strong influence on our visitors, 21 years since it first appeared. It has had a huge impact on the profile of Rosslyn Chapel and has significantly increased levels of visitor numbers, which rose from 38,141 to 79,916 after the book was published and to more than 176,000 when the film was released.

This has helped us complete a comprehensive conservation project at the Chapel and undertake a major programme of restoration and repair at Rosslyn Castle, enabling future generations to appreciate these unique buildings.

Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust,

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