Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle, Esplanade, Stirling FK8 1EJ, UK

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles, particularly for its role in Scottish history—several kings and queens were crowned here, including Mary Queen of Scots. Tour the Great Hall, the lavish Royal Palace, the elegant Chapel Royal, and the Great Kitchens, then check out Argyll’s Lodging (Scotland’s finest 17th-century town house, built just beyond the castle walls for a great nobleman serving the royal court). Also worth exploring are the peaceful Queen Anne Gardens and the Stirling Heads Gallery, which features 16th-century oak medallions carved with images of royalty, Roman emperors, and characters from the Bible. When you’re done roaming the interiors, head outdoors and walk the ramparts to appreciate the castle’s commanding position above the Royal Burgh of Stirling.

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12th century castle

This castle is huge and the views are ridiculous. The first records dating the castle are from the 12th century. In 1124, King Alexander I died here. The castle was used by him and his successor as an administrative center as well as a residence until 1286. The castle changed hands a few times between the English and the Scots until 1314 when Robert the Bruce led the Scots in a fight against Edward II and captured the castle. Most of the buildings were built between 1490 and 1600. Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned here in 1542. In 1603 King James VI of Scotland (Mary’s son) was crowned as King of England and moved to London. The castle grounds were then used as a military base. There were eight sieges of the castle during the Wars of Scottish Independence and the last one was in 1746 when Prince Charlie tried to take the castle but was unsuccessful. From 1800-1964 the castle was owned by the War Office and used as barracks for Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Infantry Regiment which fought in both world wars and Korea).

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