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Stirling Castle Attractions

Stirling Castle


Everything to see in Stirling Castle

There has been many Kings and Queens connected to Stirling Castle, King Alexander I died in 1124, and King David I used the castle as a royal residence. James VI grew up in Stirling Castle and his son Henry was born here in 1594.

Stirling Castle was a Royal residence from the time David I (1124)

until James VI was crown as King of England and Scotland in 1603. He then moved to London.

Stirling Castle is the best example of how a 16th century castle interior would look. 

Stirling Castle Scotland as Edinburgh Castle Scotland stands on a Volcanic Rock that overlooks the city.

Mary Queen of Scots coronation also was performed in Stirling Castle’s Chapel Royal in 1543.

Stirling Castle Stirling Scotland

Robert the Bruce

Statue Stirling Castle

Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce) who led the successful Battle at Bannockburn against the English, which was to give Scotland independence in 1314. Subject of the film the ‘Outlaw King’ in 2018. 

Robert the Bruce King of Scotland

Argyle and Southern Highlanders

Memorial Statue Stirling

Find out the History of the Argyle and Southern Highlanders and when visiting Edinburgh Castle see the Memorial Fountain on the Castle Esplanade ramparts. Regimental history of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum Tells the story of the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders and the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders up to their amalgamation in 1881 when they became the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment and the history there after.

Stirling Castle Argyle and Southern High

Castle Drawbridge

Stirling Castle

The Draw-bridge is the entrance to Stirling Castle across a moat which protected the castle outer walls from being climbed the bridge would have been movable but now is of stone and wood built circa 1714.

Stirling Castle Drawbridge and Main Entr

Forework Gate House

Stirling Castle

The Gate House centre of the forework with at one end of the forework is Elphinstone Tower still stands as it did circa 1500. The other end was Princes Tower of which very little remains. It was said to be used as a nursery for Scotland’s royals.

Stirling Castle Forework Gate House Plaq
Stirling Castle Forework Gatehouse Entra
Stirling Castle Forework Top of Gate House

Stirling Castle View

Stirling Bridge  & Wallace Monument 

The view below is the way the Grand Battery faced protecting the Castle entrance and Old Stirling Bridge where William Wallace defeated the English in 1297.

Stirling Bridge Wallace Monument Stirlin

The French Spur

Stirling Castle

King Henry II of France the father-in-law of Mary Queen of Scots help keep the English out of Scotland. The French occupied Stirling and built the Spur known as the French Spur circa 1554. The gun fortification with 11 guns protected the entrance to the Castle and the Old Stirling Bridge over the Forth.

Stirling Castle French Spur

Guard House

Stirling Castle

The Main Guard House at the entrance to Stirling Castle was built in 1790 and was used to keep order in the Castle Garrison. ​The second Guard House was to watch over the powder magazines, circa 1850 this was converted into cells to maintain order within the Garrison. 

Stirling Castle Main Guard House
Stirling Castle Gaurd House Main Entranc
Stirling Castle Guard House Plaque
Stirling Castle Guard House

Elphinstone Tower

Stirling Castle

The home to the Castle Constable when the royals were not in residence. and is said to be haunted with many strange things being reported when no-one present. This is the original building of 1505.

Stirling Castle Elphinstone Tower Remain
Stirling Castle Elphinstone Tower Plaque

Queen Anne Garden

Stirling Castle

This was an area for rest and children to play games and later was a bowling green. It is probably a place they paid football as the oldest football was found in the palace in dating circa 1510. The football was made from leather and pigs bladder. The Royal Palace and Prince's Walk overlook Queen Anne's Garden. 

Stirling Castle Queen Anne Garden Plaque
Stirling Castle Queen Anne Garden

Great Hall

Stirling Castle

The Great Hall was a banqueting hall built for James IV in 1503 and is the largest of its kind built in Scotland. Used for ceremonies and pageants and once for a meeting of Parliament. Once the royals moved to London it fell out of use. The Great Hall was renovated and brought back to its original glory and opened in 1999 by Queen Elizabeth II taking over 20 years to recreate. 

Stirling Castle Great Hall Inner Close
Stirling Castle Great Hall  Outer Close

House of the Fort Major 

Stirling Castle

The fort major was 3rd ranked in the garrison, The house was built circa 1790 when there were circa 800 men based at the castle

Stirling Castle Fort Major's House Plaqu
Stirling Castle Fort Major's House

Lion’s Den

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle's Lion's Den is where many Kings kept their Lions. David II and James III both had a lion and James II had a lioness and James Vi had three lions.

Stirling Castle Lion's Den Plaque
Stirling Castle Lion's Den home to the k

Grand Battery

Stirling Castle

The Grand Battery was built in 1698, but was only used once against

the Jacobites and Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746.

Stirling Castle Grand Battery
Stirling Castle  Batteries The Lines of
Stirling Castle Grand Battery 1.jpg

Three Gun Battery

Stirling Castle

The Three gun Battery stands on the remains of Elphinstone Tower part of the Forework (Castle walls) The tower built circa 1510, The tower was bombarded by English troops in 1651 and reduced to rubble. In 1689 it was made into what is a low battery.

Stirling Castle Three Gun Battery

Lady’s Lookout

Stirling Castle

This balcony known as the Lady's Lookout overlooked the jousting area and has great views of the the King and Queen's Knots. This is where the Queen with her ladies in waiting would look out over the Knights while they would compete in the joust. 

Stirling Castle Lady's Lookout

King’s Knot & Queen’s Knot

Stirling Castle

The King's & Queen's Knots are mounds in original gardens built circa 1265 for Alexander III. The knots are designs added to an older garden structure. There are many theories about the area and Knot some of which are linked to King Arthur and the round table. 

Stirling Castle Gardens King Knot & Quee
Stirling Castle Gardens. King's and Quee

North Gate

Stirling Castle

The North Gate is the oldest surviving part of Stirling Castle.

The vaulted passageway once had a Portcullis gate and kitchens above it. To the right of the gate are steps to the kitchen area (see below).

Stirling Castle North Gate. Back Door
Stirling Castle North Gate
Stirling Castle North Gate Kitchen steps

Great Kitchens

Stirling Castle

The Kitchens were built by James the IV circa 1510 as he was accustomed to have large gatherings Banquets.

When the King's court moved to Stirling Castle in 1543,

19 carriages were used in moving the larder, wine and utensils to the the Kitchen area.

Stirling Castle Great Kitchens
Great Kitchens Stirling Castle Informati

Old Chapel

Stirling Castle

Beside the entrance to the Old Chapel a Knight was found his body with an arrow that had killed him. Possibly of French origin. One of nine graves found at the site

Stirling Castle Old Chapel Entrance
Stirling Castle Old Chapel Plaque.jpg

Postern Gate

Stirling Castle

The Postern Gate was built in the castle wall and was a access in and out of the castle to the Gowane Hills, the gate was blocked up in 1689 

Stirling Castle Postern Gate.

Nether Bailey

Stirling Castle

The Nether Bailey was an enclosed area were there were store rooms kennels and the powder magazine and work shops. There was also a gate out of the castle at the far end which was closed in 1689.  

Stirling Castle Nether Bailey

Powder Magazine

Stirling Castle

The Powder rooms were built in 1810 to store the gun powder for the troops the Powder Magazine was built at the furthest point from the barracks and ancient Castle buildings.

Stirling Castle Powder Magazine Store.
Stirling Castle Powder  Magazines

Stirling Royal Palace

Stirling Castle Scotland


Stirling Castle Royal Palace

James V Palace

Stirling Castle

James V Palace at Stirling Castle was built to accommodate the new Queen in the style of the French as she was accustomed. The project took several years with building starting in 1538 on his return with his new wife Marie de Guise. Mary saw the completion of the Palace as James died in 1542 without seeing the completion.

With six rooms three for the King and three for the Queen. The Bedchamber where they each slept.

The inner chamber where each could give audience to a closer circle of friends, with the outer hall being used for functions and less personal meetings. Mary of Guise became Regent of Scotland on the death of her husband James V taking care of the crown for her daughter who was Mary Queen of Scots.

There has been many alterations to the buildings in the castle over the centuries.

The present castle has many of original buildings from the 16th century. 

Stirling Castle Palace from Queen Anne G
Stirling Castle Palace Inner Close

Prince's Walk 

Stirling Castle

The Prince's Walk overlooks Queen Anne Garden and is accessed from the Princes Tower in James V Palace.

On the walls of the Palace along the Princes walk are four carvings which are of bests and one of the winged Devil.

Stirling Castle Princes Walk
Stirling Castle Prince's Walk Carvings
Stirling Castle Prince's Walk carvings
Stirling Castle Prince's Walk carvings
Stirling Castle Prince's Walk James V Pa

Kings Outer Hall

Stirling Castle

The King's outer Hall was an place for people of social standing that wished an audience with the king.

Only a chosen few would be picked to go forward to the inner hall 

Kings Outer Hall Stirling Castle

Kings Inner Hall (Presence Chamber)

Stirling Castle

This is were the chosen few would be honoured to meet with the king

The King’s Presence Chamber (Inner Hall) was where the original Stirling Heads (wooden carved heads) decorated the ceiling. Taken down circa 1775 the ceiling had circa 100 carved oak heads some are on display in a gallery above the Royal Apartments. There are replica hand carved heads on the ceiling of the Presence (Inner) Chamber.

James V wooden ceiling portraits
King's Inner Hall Fireplace Stirling Cas

Kings Bedchamber - Ceiling Plaques

Stirling Castle

This was also used as a meeting place but only for close friends and the very important guests. This would have also been a dressing room and for washing with a bed in a connecting area.

Kings Bedchamber Ceiling  Stirling Castle Royal Palace
King's Bedchamber. Stirling Castle Royal

Queen’s Outer Hall

Stirling Castle

The Queen's outer Hall was an place for people of social standing that wished an audience with the Queen. Only a chosen few would be chosen to go forward to the inner hall. 

Queens Outer Hall Stirling Castle Royal

Queen’s Inner Hall

Stirling Castle

This is were the chosen few would be honoured to have audience with the Queen.

The benches and stools were for her ladies in waiting.

Queen Inner Hall Stirling Castle Royal P
Queen's Inner Hall Queens Audience Chair

Stirling Castle

Ghostly Hauntings

The Haunting of the castle by the Green Lady is said to be a maid of Mary Queen of Scots who had been seen as a soothsayer and predicted the death of the Queen the next night. The maid stayed awake that night and carried the Queen to safety from a fire, the Queen was saved but the maid died from her wounds she had received in saving the Queen. Thought to be a Harbinger of Doom, dressed in green velvet the maid haunts the the castle. To look into the ghosts eyes could mean certain death.  

Queen’s Bedchamber

Stirling Castle

The Queens Bedchamber decorated in the opulent style of circa 1550. The grand tapestries and large fireplaces, bedding of silk with rich colours. This was her dressing room and bathing room the bed would have been in a smaller area away from all visitors. There is a painting of three birds shot with one arrow which is Mary of Guise signature.

Queen's Bedchamber Royal Palace Stirling

Queen’s Dressing Table
Stirling Castle

Queen's dressing table Royal Palace Stir

Queen’s Linen Cupboard
Stirling Castle

Queen's Linen Cupboard Royal Palace Stir

Royal Palace Vaults

Stirling Castle

The Palace Vaults are found in a passageway under the Royal Palace. Each room (vault) was designated for a different section of the Royal household. There are five areas that give more information with interactive exhibitions for the children.  The Musicians Vault – music and instruments of the 16th century The Jester's Vault – jokes games and tricks made for the Royals. The Painter's Vault – what and how colours were made for paints and dyes. The Carvers Vault –tools for the joiners and stonemasons, how they were used to create the wooden panels and stone carvings you can see in the Royal Palace. The Tailor's Vault – all about the clothes, jewellery and cents the Kings and Queens wore.

Stirling Castle Royal Palace Vaults
Stirling Castle Royal Palace Vaults Jester's Room.
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