Stirling, a former capital of Scotland and historically ‘a gateway to Scotland’, is a magical place we visited around the festive season – and I fell in love with it although the weather was freezing! Let’s see what you can explore there.
Stirling Castle is one of the largest and the most important castles in Scotland, and it most probably you’ve already heard of it because it played a vital role in Scotland – England relationship for centuries. Stirling Castle was a magnificent royal residence, many monarchs were crowned in here including Mary, the Queen of Scots. It was transformed into a real palace by James V in the 16th century and is still preserved very well. New research and refurbishment still take place which allowed to learn more about the sculptures of the castle and its beautiful ceiling carvings dating to 1540.
Don’t miss the 16h century Great hall and the Statue of Robert the Bruce on the esplanade facing the direction of the Battle of Bannockburn, 1314, when Scots had a victory over the army of King Edward II of England in the First War of Scottish Independence.
If you ask me about Stirling Castle’s symbol, I’d say it is probably a unicorn. Queen’s inner hall has a wonderful tapestry of the Unicorn in Captivity, and overall, there there are a series of modern tapestries recreating the famous hunt for Unicorn (originally woven in Low Countries of the 16th century 1500 and now residing in the Met, NYC).
Stirling Old Bridge across the River Forth has been built in stone as we see it now in the 15-16th centuries. Bridge that stood there before that was glorified by Sir William Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray who defeated the army of Edward I at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, in the first war of Scottish independence. The Wallace monument, by the way, is also located nearby.
Pop into the the Stirling Old Town Jail. In the summer they have tourist guided tours there, and a wonderful view opens up from the observation deck! Have a look at the Church of the Holy Rude founded in the 12th century and Cowane’s hospital next to it. According to legend, the figurine from there comes down from the building on New Year’s Eve and dances. Among other places you might want to visit is Smith Art Gallery and Museum.
You might also like my other blogs about Scotland:
Hope you liked my blog,