Stirling Castle

Get a glimpse into the lives of Scotland's historical monarchs at this immaculately preserved hilltop fort and royal residence.

Overlooking the town from an extinct volcanic crag, the imposing Stirling Castle was the seat of Scottish kings and rulers for many centuries. The landmark, dominating every view of the area, is equally impressive inside, with brightly colored rooms perfectly preserved to give visitors an insight into the lives of Scotland's past monarchs. Learn about their births, marriages and deaths through interactive exhibits and informative displays.

Let costumed characters teach you about the history of the castle as you explore; docents dressed as maids and officials recount stories of castle life. Most of what visitors see today was built in the 16th century and was heavily influenced by Renaissance ideas.

Wander around every building on the site, starting with the distinctive Great Hall, where off-white exterior walls stand out amid the gray stone of the fortifications and palace. When constructed, it was the largest hall of its kind in Scotland. Imagine feasting with nobles and knights in the candle-lit banqueting room.

As you pass through the palace, look upward to see replicas of the Stirling Heads, the oak medallions adorning the ceiling. These wooden reliefs, which depict mythical heroes and Scottish royals, are replicas dating from 2011. See the original carvings upstairs. The palace also features an ornate bedchamber and visiting rooms with huge, detailed tapestries hanging on the walls.

See where princes were baptized in the Royal Chapel and stroll through the kitchens. Descend to the dungeons and walk around the fortifications for views of the Wallace Monument on the neighboring hill. Read about the exploits of Scotland's warriors in the Regimental Museum, which is housed in the King's Old Building.

Stirling Castle is a 20-minute uphill walk from the town’s main train station. Find on-site parking for those driving, as well as a gift shop, café and picnic area. Guided tours of the castle are included in the ticket price and take place every hour from midmorning. Alternatively, pick up an audio tour from the castle entrance to explore on your own. These helpful guides are available in multiple languages.

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