Battlefield Stirling

Rally the troops for egg and soldiers (the breakfast of kings) before setting off to battle.

Take the car or the bus to the new Bannockburn Experience where cutting-edge technology brings the 14th century battle to life for 21st century audiences led by the ‘battlemaster’. Every visit culminates in visitors either leading their own division of medieval soldiers in a dramatic 3D battle simulation or observing a simulation of the battle. There’s also a chance to see the actual battlefield where it all happened 700 years ago. You can buy tickets online or wait until you get there. Then jump back in the car or bus and head to the Wallace Monument (you can’t miss it), built on an ancient fort destroyed by fire around 600. If the weather is good enjoy a picnic on Abbey Craig with a view down to Old Stirling Bridge, close to the site of William Wallace’s victory in 1297. If it’s not picnic weather, there are great places for a snack nearby.

Head to the base of the iconic Wallace Monument at the summit of the Abbey Craig. See William Wallace’s actual sword and some of Scotland’s most famous heroes before taking on the 220 foot climb to the top of the monument. Catch your breath before peering over the top as the views will take it away again. As you’ve already been to Bannockburn make sure you claim your special discount for entry to this world famous attraction. Then head back to Stirling via Cambuskenneth Abbey, where James III was buried following his murder after the Battle of Sauchieburn 1488, two miles south of the city. Can you spot the musket ball impacts from the 1651 on the tower?

Bridgehaugh right next to Stirling Old Bridge was the site of the battle of Stirling Bridge where in 1297 William Wallace defeated an English army. In 1606 it was used a plague camp where 600 men, women and children died. Cross the bridge, the largest in Scotland when it was built nearly 500 years ago. Take the path through the underpass. Cross Lower Bridge Street and turn right to reach the entrance to Gowan Hill. In 1746 the Jacobites set up three cannon on Gowan Hill (the cluster of pines next to the cemetery) to force the surrender of the Castle. Cannon fire from the Castle battlements destroyed the Jacobites’ cannon in half an hour, the soldiers had such a good vantage point that they could see the buckles on the enemy’s shoes! Take the path up the hill past the 19th century cannon to the Beheading Stone. The Beheading Stone was the site of executions in the 15th century, and if you look closely you can see the axe marks! The stone sits on a hillfort destroyed by fire around 250. Take a minute to look back at the views towards the Wallace Monument.

Retrace your steps to Lower Bridge Street and turn right towards the city centre or follow the paths through the woods to reach Ballengeich Road and the Castle Esplanade. Stand beside the statue of Robert the Bruce on the Castle Esplanade for a view back to some of the key battlefields in Scottish history. Make sure you also look at the memorials to the Scottish regiments who fought in more recent battles round the world.

Find out the best place to feast and toast your day on Stirling’s battlefields. You can also check out our evening entertainment here before you retreat to bed.

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