A ROSS-SHIRE attraction is celebrating a record year with a major leap in visitors.
The number of people going through the gates of world famous Inverewe Garden increased by almost a third this year compared with 2016.
The sub-tropical garden on the National Trust for Scotland-owned estate welcomed 75,000 visitors.
The figures were announced by property manager Kevin Frediani who also revealed ambitious plans for 2018 and beyond.
Mr Frediani said: "2017 has been an amazing season, with an upward trend of visitors to the wide range of events that have taken place at Inverewe.
"Our visitor numbers have already reached almost 75,000 with a 31 per cent increase in admissions since I took over as property manager at Inverewe in January 2016.
"We held over 15 events ranging from Rhododendron Week to World Biodiversity Day, from our Inverewe Erythronium Festival to the Scottish Adventure Travel Film Festival – and have appealed to new audiences through our targeted marketing.
"This has been complemented by our brand new Sawyer Gallery at Inverewe House, where we have held a full season of exhibitions, and of course Inverewe House itself is a gem of a museum telling the story of the garden and its visionary family."
This season also saw Inverewe scooping the UK Garden of the Year title from the BBC Countryfile Magazine.
"Starting the season by winning the Countryfile award was the perfect start, and it just went onwards and upwards from there," said Mr Frediani.
It also won quality awards from Taste Our Best, for our use of Scottish and local food in both Osgood’s and the Bothy Café, CIE Tours award of excellence for customer service, and the gold level Green Tourism award for our sustainable methods of working.
Inverewe has also announced that, for the first time, the garden will be opening over the winter months.
Inverewe will be open at weekends over November and December, with the Bothy Café and Sawyer Gallery being open from 10am to 3pm at weekends up until Christmas.
The gallery will also be showcasing the final 2017 artwork installations of Inverewe’s current Artist in Residence, Lynn Bennet Mackenzie and there will also be Christmas shopping opportunities.
Inverewe will shortly be recruiting for next season with a range of full-time, seasonal and internship posts available. See the trust’s website for further details.
Mr Frediani added: "We have some very exciting plans for next season, with a range of events, walks and talks and workshops, and further developing Inverewe Garden and Estate as a destination of inspiration.
"I am really proud of the work the team here do at Inverewe, as we aspire to become the ‘go to’ destination of the Highlands."