IT has proved to be the big tourist hit of the summer.
Victoria Tower, on Castle Hill in Huddersfield, has smashed its visitor figure record.
In less than five months, the number of people who have visited the tower this current financial year has passed that for the whole of the previous year.
The figure was boosted by a busy weekend, when almost 500 people over two days took the long climb up 165 steps to appreciate the views from the top.
It pushed the total since the beginning of April to 8,200.
In the year to March 2010 the tower attracted just over 8,000 visitors.
The numbers have been hailed as justification for opening the tower each day during the school summer holidays – and council officials are looking at doing the same again at other holiday periods.
During August, the tower – which was opened in 1899 to celebrate 60 years of Queen Victoria’s reign – has been open every day instead of just weekends.
Castle Hill Ranger Julian Brown accepts that figures have benefited from that, as well as recent publicity.
“Since the beginning of August we have had 3,558 visitors to Victoria Tower in 95 hours open to the public.
“We have had local people who have not been up the tower for 20 and 30 years coming back to take in the views, as well as people from all over the world.
“Everyone who comes is delighted with the views from the top.
“I’d like to say ‘thanks’ to all who have supported the daily opening, including the tower team who had faith in the old girl. We never doubted her magic,” said Julian.
The visitor figures include 400 visitors who attended aŠ ‘Come Scribble’ storytelling event last week, which included free entry to the tower for children.
The children drew storyboards which are to be displayed in the tower so the youngsters can visit again to see their artwork.
Weekday opening between noon and 4.30pm will continue until Friday, September 3.ŠWeekend opening between 12.30pm and 4.30pm will continue until the end of October.
Kirklees councillors have also to decide if the tower will be illuminated through the winter, as it has in the past.
Admission prices to the tower are adults £1.30, child 60p, family ticket £3.00 (two adults and up to four children), with free entry for Kirklees Passport holders.
There will be free entry for Heritage Open Weekend, September 11 and 12.