TourisM chiefs are ­celebrating after Scotland's most popular attraction, Edinburgh Castle, enjoyed its busiest Easter weekend.

A total of 26,087 people crossed the drawbridge between Good Friday and Monday, 2000 more than the previous Easter record in 2009.

The castle, Scotland's number one paid-for visitor attraction, welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors in 2013 and is operated by Historic Scotland.

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Some 64,869 people visited the government agency's 78 paid-for sites, up 31% on the same period last year. The busiest day was last Saturday, with 18,946 visitors to the various buildings.

Elsewhere, visitor figures for Stirling Castle were 20% up year-on-year, with 8,795 visitors and Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness was up almost a quarter on the figures for Easter 2013 with just over 5,000 visitors.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: "The Easter weekend is a lovely time to visit one of Scotland's many world-class historic sites and I am delighted that so many people chose to enjoy the good weather at Edinburgh Castle this past weekend. In 2013 the castle welcomed over 1.4 million visitors for the first time, and it's wonderful the site is breaking further visitor records."

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Scotland said: "The Easter weekend is always a popular time for our sites, but this year we welcomed a record number of visitors to Edinburgh Castle."