Stirling Castle is arguably Scotland's finest castle and one of the most popular visitor attractions in the country. Located 250 feet above the plateaux on an extinct volcano, Stirling became the strategic military key to the kingdom during the 13th and 14th century Wars of Independence and was the favourite royal residence of many of the Stuart Monarchs.
Many important events from Scotland's past took place at Stirling Castle, including the murder of the eighth Earl of Douglas by James II in 1452. Stirling Castle played an important role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Her childhood was spent in the castle and Mary's coronation took place in the Chapel Royal in 1543.
Stirling Castle has completed a £12 million project to return the royal lodgings to their Renaissance magnificence. Step back into the sumptuous world of Stirling Castle's Royal Court and James V's Palace, refurbished to show how it may have looked in the mid-16th century. Visitors can now glimpse life in one of the great royal residences of Scotland’s kings and queens. The decorative scheme is amazingly elaborate and colourful. It includes hand-woven tapestries, superb, hand-made furniture and painted replicas of the famous Stirling Heads - carved portraits in oak that once adorned the ceiling of James V’s magnificent Palace.
There are excellent historical displays, a recreation of the 16th century kitchens with sensory and interactive exhibits and the Regimental Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders which details their eventful history from 1794 to the present. The Great Hall, which dates from the end of the Middle Ages, has been restored to its medieval glory and was formally opened by the Queen on St Andrews Day, 1999. Built by James IV in 1503, it was converted to a four storey military barracks in the 19th Century. The Hall has been restored and this is how the original building would have looked and it is now widely admired for its magnificence on the Stirling skyline.
The Chapel Royal, built by James VI for the baptism of Prince Henry in 1594, has been refurbished and features a seventeenth century fresco of elaborate scrolls and patterns.
Stirling Castle is fantastic day out for all the family and a must see on any visit to Scotland.
Open all year round
For latest opening times and prices see Historic Scotland