Kirsty Thomson: Social Media and Marketing Assistant
It is said that ‘he who holds Stirling, holds Scotland’. Stirling is the home of kings and queens, the gateway to the highlands and the city of Robert the Bruce. There is lots to explore in this city but here are five of our favourites!
1. The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre
The Battle of Bannockburn Centre provides an immersive experience into the well known 1314 battle. Located on the site where Robert the Bruce gathered the Scottish army you will discover medieval warfare through audio-visual presentations created using state-of-the-art technology. This visitor centre is well worth a visit as you encounter the sights and sounds of battle, learn about strategies and weapons as well as hear the stories of those who fought. Tickets to the Battle of Bannockburn experience must be booked in advance of your visit.
Don’t forget to explore the parkland outside the visitor centre where you will find the iconic statue of Robert the Bruce!
2. Wallace Monument
On the 11th of September 1297, William Wallace led his troops to victory at The Battle Of Stirling Bridge. The now famous landmark, Wallace Monument opened to the public in 1869 having been built above the fields where the battle occurred. There are three exhibition galleries to explore within the tower which commemorate Scotland’s National Hero through interactive exhibits and an animated film.
The galleries are accessed through a spiral staircase, go right to the top for a stunning view over Stirling and remember to check out the Wallace Sword while on your visit. Remember to book tickets beforehand to avoid disappointment.
3. The Beheading Stone
Situated at a spot called “Mote Hill” or more suitably known as “The Heading Hill” a large stone sits, and according to local legends it has a very dark past having been used in 15th-century beheadings. An ancient Pictish Fort once stood on this site and it would later become the location where King James I would have dealt with his enemies. One of Stirling’s supposed spooks, The White Lady, was reportedly spotted here.
The stone is within a 15/20 minute walk from Stirling Castle and provides incredible views over the city. It is therefore no surprise that it is popular with walkers, but be aware that the site can be hazardous in bad weather or late at night.
4. The Church of the Holy Rude
This church of the Holy Rude is the oldest building in Stirling after the castle. Although it had been founded in 1129 during the reign of David I, a fire destroyed all of the church's early structure. Work to rebuild the church started in 1414 and was completed by around 1530.
In the year 1567, James VI who was an infant at the time was crowned King of Scotland in Holy Rude as a result of the forced abdication of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots who at the time of his coronation was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle. The Church of Holy Rude therefore is the only active church in the UK apart from Westminster Abbey to have held a coronation. With its historic significance the church is well worth a visit.
5. Stirling Old Town Tour
If it's your first time in Stirling or you’re a local looking to explore a little bit more of the city why not join us on a walking tour of the city. You might even learn a bit more about some of the sites from this blog on one of our tours!
On the Stirling Old Town tour you will hear of battles and the kings and queens who shaped Stirling into the place it is today, plus many more hidden secrets!
If you are more intrigued by Stirling’s dark history however, why not book a private Dark Side tour. Expect to be immersed in dark secrets with stories of unsolved murders, grave-robbers and more. We have tours available to suit everyone so if you’d rather explore the city with a more relaxed stroll our private Pub Tour has flexible meeting and end points. Discover Stirling’s unique past and present by exploring the city's most iconic landmarks and pubs.
Book online at: www.walkingtoursin.com/stirling