Visit this city in the central Scotland that effectively ties the Highlands and Lowlands together, and visit the striking Stirling Castle.
Considered the “Brooch of Scotland”, this city in central Scotland effectively ties the Highlands and Lowlands together. Owing to this strategic junction, it has been long said that “he who holds Stirling, holds Scotland” as this area has been the scene of some of Scotland’s most infamous battles during the Wars of independence and the Jacobite uprisings.
Dominating the skyline of Stirling -- perched high atop a volcanic crag overlooking the city and surrounding hills -- is Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s finest and most famous castles. Castle Hill, the land under the current castle, has probably been fortified from ancient times, as the crag is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, making it a strategic defensive location.
But the importance of Stirling Castle as a sophisticated royal residence peaked in the 16th century when kings James and James IV commissioned the vast Great Hall, Chapel Royal and the majestic Royal Palace. Just like other Highland strongholds, Stirling Castle has seen its share of drama through the ages: several kings and queens have been crowned here, including Mary, Queen of Scots, and the castle has withstood several sieges, notably during the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Inside the castle you can explore the exhibits documenting the castle’s history, take some fun pictures in the Palace Vaults—a favourite with kids—and even meet some of the castle’s ‘former residents’! The castle is open year-round, and because there’s so much to see you can easily spend around two hours here.
Surrounding the castle is the old town, with its well preserved medieval and Renaissance churches and mansions, cobbled streets and Victorian iron works. The city is also home to some of the country’s top attractions, including The National Wallace Monument.