Stirling offers a fascinating journey back in time
Created as a Royal Burgh in 1124, Stirling offers a fascinating journey back in time for anyone with even a passing interest in Scottish history and heritage. Discover a unique tapestry of original, historic attractions that tell the story of our Scottish nation first hand. Perched high above the city is Stirling Castle (some say that it’s the greatest castle in all of Europe). Wander through the recently restored royal palace and apartments and meet the costumed interpreters who bring the history of Stirling Castle to life. In 1314 the castle was the prize fought over at the Battle of Bannockburn and was bombarded by Bonnie Prince Charlie, with his Jacobite army, in 1745. Entry to the castle also includes access to the Argyll’s Lodging – Scotland’s finest surviving 17th century townhouse and the Argyll Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.
Stirling’s Old Town
Stirling’s Old Town links Stirling Castle to the bustling city centre. By its cobbled streets you will find some of the finest examples of medieval and Renaissance churches and mansions in Scotland. One such building is the Tolbooth, the original jail and courthouse which also witnessed public executions until 1843. Nowadays it’s a thriving live music and entertainments venue retaining many of its original historic features. The Church of the Holy Rude, dating from 1456, hosted the coronation of King James VI, in 1567, under the watchful eye of Scottish Reformation leader John Knox. If you look closely you will see the musket shot marks from Cromwell’s troops during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms on the tower and apse.
The neighbouring Old Town Grave Yard rewards explorers with magnificent views as well as some of the oldest headstones in Britain. Just around the corner is the imposing Stirling Old Town Jail, a former Victorian prison where visitors can now experience daily performance tours over the summer.
National Wallace Monument
Dominating the Stirling skyline from another dramatic rocky outcrop, the National Wallace Monument overlooks the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Here, in 1297, William Wallace – Braveheart – outwitted a much larger English army, splitting their forces either side of the narrow bridge and claiming his place in history as Scotland’s National Hero.
Set amid the slowly winding curves of the River Forth, Cambuskenneth Abbey was the setting chosen by King Robert the Bruce for a historic parliament meeting in 1326. It is also the last resting place of King James III and his Queen, Margaret of Denmark.
Battle of Bannockburn
Scotland owes its status as a proud nation to King Robert the Bruce’s great victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, beside Stirling, on 23rd and 24th June 1314. The Scottish king’s triumph over the vastly superior army of King Edward II of England secured Scotland’s independence for the next 400 years. Visit the Battle of Bannockburn Experience and re-live the dramatic story of the battle.
The Stirling Story
The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is a treasure house of Stirling’s history, art and artefacts. Scottish history collections, fine art and archaeology are used in the main display, called ‘The Stirling Story’, which explores the history of the town over the past Millennium (entry is free).