Travels In Stirling

The opportunity to visit Scotland arose back in October, and having last visited in 2001 for a wedding as an 11 year old I felt it was time to see the country as an adult.

As it was a family visit, and I was very gratefully able to stay free with my brother-in-law’s dad (thanks Jimmy), the only expenses were the flights up from Southampton to Edinburgh.

If you ask most people to name major Scottish cities they’d probably come up with a few more well known ones before getting to Stirling, or forget it altogether. Most Scots however will not, as the site of the famous Battle of Bannockburn (where the Scots defeated the English in battle) is located within the city.

I spent five days in Scotland, however as per most holidays it is never long enough. Stay tuned for future ventures in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Two days were spent solely in Stirling, which is not only historically important in Scotland but is full of landscapes that photographers dream of.

Wallace Monument

The first major attraction we visited was the Wallace Monument. It’s located high above the town, which involves a brisk (or slow) walk depending on your mood but is relatively easy to get to.

You can get to it via the road and car, or walk up the pathway (naturally we chose the later, mainly because we didn’t have a car!)

At a guess I would say it takes around 20-25 minutes to get from the town at the bottom up all the steps, and winding roads but it depends on how quickly you want to reach the monument (or how cold it is). It certainly helps when the Yorkshire Terrier (Oscar or Oski for short) is keen to get there before you.

By the time we had got the monument the attraction itself was closed, however the views were more than worth the trek up to the top. The prices however to enter are relatively cheap and range from £4.50 for school group trips to £32.48 for a family of five.

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The view from the monument, overlooks Stirling and is surrounded by breathtaking mountains in the background.

Stirling Castle

At the other end of the town sits Stirling Castle, which can be seen from the Wallace Monument. The castle itself is a hugely historical building which played a key role in multiple historical events. In order to visit the castle you’ll require a car (or any other form of transport). This is mainly because it stands on a crag (volcanic rock). Tickets are relatively cheap, especially when compared to other castles I’ve previously visited. Prices range from £8.70 for kids, to £14.50 for adults (prices may vary depending on the time of year).

The castle itself is a brilliantly beautiful building, offering a look into the historic life of many former Kings and Queens. From the Great Hall, with the £20 million roof to the Royal Palace and Kitchens, you could easy spend a couple of hours enjoying the castle and surroundings.

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There are a number of actors playing the roles of the Queen’s servants, who will regale you with stories and a fun way to learn about the castle.

One of the coolest things with the Castle is the wide array of artwork that has been intricately painted and designed. The standout is perhaps the tapestry that has been designed and created with the castle itself, inside the Queen’s Inner Hall. In the time since I lasted visited Scotland, the tapestry took a mere 13 years to create. Every part was hand made in the walls of the castle.

As with the Monument, the castle gives various vantage points of the town and overlooks a number of locations. From the Monument, to the mountains and the site of the Battle of the Bannockburn you would be lost for pictures to take.

As usual, the trip itself went far too quickly, but Stirling is definitely worth a visit.

One thing is for certain, I plan to wait less than 16 years until the next visit.

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