Stirling Castle

Looming grandly from the crag of Castle Hill, Stirling Castle is one of the Scotland's most important and impressive castles.

TravelCurious Tip

Be sure to visit the Museum of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and read the soldiers’ letters home during the World Wars

One of Scotland’s most historic castles, Stirling Castle sits atop an extinct volcano near the city of Edinburgh. Surrounded on three sides by precipitous cliffs, its a formidable defensive position. There have been at least eight sieges of Stirling Castle - all bloody, and rarely successful - with the last in 1746 by Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The site’s military importance has been recognised for centuries: some speculate that a fortress has existed here since before the Romans arrived. The current castle dates from the late 14th to 16th century when it was a magnificent residence of the Stuart monarchy.

Now the castle has been recently restored to look as it would have done then, just as it was completed by James V’s French masons. A highlight is the Royal Palace, which is a true demonstration of the luxuries of 17th century royal life. Fine fireplaces and exquisitely carved oak fill its six rooms - three for the King and three for the Queen - while an astounding reproduction of a series of tapestries depicting the hunt of a unicorn make for extraordinary decorations.

Fools’ gold

James IV, who reigned 1488-1513, kept a full Renaissance court at Stirling. He wanted to establish is as a palace of European standing, and this meant having a few mad alchemists too. If a satirical poem by the poet William Dunbar is based in fact, the castle walls may have been the site of an attempt at human-powered flight by the Italian alchemist John Damian. He broke his thigh.

The Ladies of Stirling Castle

Stirling has no shortage of female phantoms. They are an unusually colourful bunch: the Blue Lady, the Pink Lady, the White Lady, and, perhaps most famously, the Green Lady. It is said the Green Lady was the daughter of a Commander of the fortress who threw herself from Elphinstone Tower onto the cruel rocks below when her father ended her inappropriate romance by shooting her suitor.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Edinburgh
Wallace Monument
This Victorian Gothic tower commemorates William Wallace, the 13th-century hero who fought for Scottish independence.
The Trossachs National Park
The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park is known for its beautiful lochs, flora and fauna, woodland parks and beaches.
Midhope Castle
Midhope Castle is a 16th-century tower house in Scotland, featured as a location in the Outlander TV series.
Blackness Castle
This 15th-century fortress stands on a rocky spit in the Firth of Forth, best known as 'the ship that never sailed'.
Culross is a village and former royal burgh, and parish, in Fife, and one of Scotland's most picturesque villages, often used as a film and television location.
Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Palace was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots and one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its magnificent ruins are set in a park beside a loch rich in wildlife.

Related Tours

Private Excursion to the Highlands
This full-day excursion will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, to the medieval city of Stirling and natural beauty of the Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park.

  • Enjoy a scenic drive to the medieval city of Stirling 
  • Visit the magnificent Stirling Castle, which overlooks the city of Sterling
  • Learn about  the key moments of Scotland's long and bloody history, as well as renown characters including Mary Queen of Scots and William Wallace 
  • Stop for a traditional Scottish lunch at Stirling (not included in price) 
  • Snap pictures of Scotland's finest natural beauties, the Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park
  • Take a stroll near Loch Katrine, which inspired many great literary figures 
  • Stroll through Aberfoyle, an impressive forest park with stunning waterfalls
  • Enjoy a drive back to Edinburgh 
Stirling - the Spirit of Scotland

Leaving Edinburgh, your tour will begin with a scenic drive to the medieval city of Stirling, where you will be visiting the magnificent Stirling Castle. Overlooking the ancient city of Stirling, the castle is one of the most iconic historic buildings of Scotland and has come to symbolize the spirit of this great nation.

During your visit to the castle you will learn about the key moments of Scotland’s long, violent and bloody history. You will hear stories of the fascinating characters who called Stirling Castle their home, including of Mary Queen of Scots, William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Bonnie Prince Charlie. You will also have the chance of exploring picturesque Stirling town, where you will have the pleasure of sampling some traditional Scottish fare.

The Scottish Highlands in Miniature

You will then proceed towards one of the most scenic areas in Scotland, the Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park, also known as ‘the Scottish Highlands in Miniature’, for it offers such a splendid view over myriad gorgeous lochs, untamed mountains and wonderful forests. You will be making several stops at various scenic locations, to ensure that you get to enjoy the absolute best of the beautiful Trossachs. 

You will have the pleasure of taking a stroll near Loch Katrine, one of the most beautiful in all of Scotland. Set in the centre of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Loch Katrine is said to of inspired great literary figures, including Sir Walter Scott who wrote his famed poem Lady of the Lake in 1810 after visiting Loch Katrine. One last treat will be a stop at Aberfoyle where you will explore the impressive forest park, complete with stunning waterfall and scenic views over the famous Scottish highlands. 


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