Visiting Stirling Castle in Scotland
Located in the town of Stirling, the Stirling Castle sits atop of Castle Hill, looking down on the town. When we were looking for things to do in Scotland and mapping out where we would be at, and the activities around us, we decided that visiting Stirling Castle was something we could not pass up to see. Find out what yo can expect to see, while visiting the castle. We’ve included a video too on what it looks like.
You can see the castle as you get close to the city. It’s located high above the city on a hill.
Getting To The Castle
As you wind your way through the narrow roads, you slowly make your way up to the castle. Driving is different here. People park along the road, sometimes blocking one lane. Drivers take turns going around the cars. Including those large tour buses! You can park further away, and walk up to the castle, it is a steep walk up to the castle. There is parking at the castle, so I would suggest trying to park there if it is available. You do need to pay to park.
Be sure to stop and enjoy the castle from the outside. The statue of Robert the Bruce is out there on the right hand side. As you enter the castle, you can stop and take photos. There is a small area you can explore for free. You came this far, you have to go inside! You can take a guided tour, or stroll through the castle at your own pace. We spent about 2 hours wandering through the castle on our own. You can definitely spend more time here exploring.
Exploring Stirling Castle
Tour of the castle happen on the hour. Our teens could not wait 20 minutes, so we decided to go on our own. You can also purchase an audio tour. The devices you use are available in English, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish for an additional cost. Family tours are also available on the weekends.
Walking along outside of the castle walls, you can go up to them and look out where the cannons are. To the right of the castle is the Old Town Cemetery. Looking back and to the right you can see the William Wallace monument in the distance.
You can walk all the way back and look at the wall and see the spikes along the wall to deter people from climbing it. It was very windy and chilly while we were there. The temperature was about 65F (and gusty winds), so be sure to bring a coat.
You can explore the royal kitchen of Stirling Castle too. It was interesting to learn that the cooks were not women, but men. The kitchen is open huge. There is food (fake) on display and menus that you can review to see what they would have served.
You can tour the Great Hall that is beautiful. You will see unicorns everywhere here. It was completed for James IV in 1503. The fireplace was as tall as my son. You can also find the largest banquet hall in Scotland.
There are many exhibits to see inside the buildings, be sure to get a map and make sure you see them all. There are beautiful tapestries as well (shown in in the video).
This is a castle that you can spend an entire day at, and still miss things. I suggest taking a tour and hearing from a local the history of this magnificent castle.
Things to know before you go:
- You can eat at the castle at the Unicorn Cafe (cafeteria style)
- There is a gift shop (you are charged for a bag, so bring your own)
- Tours are available in 6 languages
- Parking is available at the castle, but limited (you pay to park)
- There is a cost to tour the castle
- Bring walking shoes
- Take a jacket with you as it is windy
- Some of the walking area is uneven
- The walking is up and down hilly terrain
- There are bathrooms (they call them toilets, so ask where the toilet is)