Stirling Castle Entrance

Stirling Castle Entrance, Scotland

This evening, my focus is on Stirling Castle in central Scotland. This is a quality visitor attraction which would probably rank in Scotland’s top 10.

The current castle, which sits atop a 350m year old volcanic outcrop, dates from around the 12th century. In medieval times the castle had a prominent strategic role in that it controlled the central plain over which invading armies (from England)   had to travel in endeavour to control Scotland and as such was known as the ‘buckle in the belt’ of Scotland. This important military function is manifested in the two prominent battles which took place within a few miles of the castle, namely Stirling Bridge in 1297 and Bannockburn in 1314, both of which resulted in positive outcomes for the continuing independence of Scotland.

In addition to the military function, the castle served as an important Royal Palace and housed the courts of James IV and James V. From the late 1400s to 1603 the castle was, for all practical purposes, the capital of Scotland.

The castle’s military role continued right through to the 1960s when the British Army finally marched out after which the building was transferred to civilian control and a programme of refurbishment commenced which culminated in the just completed restoration of the former Royal Palace at a cost of GBP12.0M.

The key aspects of the castle comprise:

  • The Chapel Royal (1594) which was built to celebrate the baptism of Prince Henry.
  • The Great Hall (16th C) with its new hammer-beam roof.
  • The (newly restored) Royal Palace which was built around 1538 for Mary of Guise, the French wife of James V.
  • The restored Great Kitchens.
  • A professional tapestry weaving studio.

A visit to Stirling Castle regularly features in my tours programme.

Royal Palace, Stirling Castle

Royal Palace, Stirling Castle, Scotland

Great Hall, Stirling Castle

Great Hall, Stirling Castle, Scotland

Inside Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle

Inside Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle, Scotland

Great Hall, Stirling Castle

Great Hall, Stirling Castle, Scotland

Servant, Royal Apartments

Servant, Royal Apartments, Stirling Castle

Detail from Restored Interior, Royal Palace

Detail from Restored Interior, Royal Palace, Stirling Castle

Medieval Kitchens, Stirling Castle

Medieval Kitchens, Stirling Castle, Scotland

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