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What to Do in Stirling. Tours, Sightseeing and History of Stirling.

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From the Wars of Independence, through the reign of the Stuart monarchs to it's time as medieval burgh, Stirling has played a central role in Scotland's history for hundreds of years. There are many historic attractions to visit in the Royal Burgh of Stirling. Take a look at the list below for some great suggestions about What to See and What to Do in the City of Stirling.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle played an important role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. She spent her childhood in the castle and Mary's coronation took place in the Chapel Royal in 1543.


The Royal Palace at Stirling Castle

The Royal Palace at Stirling Castle 1540-42 is the finest Renaissance building in Scotland. Visitors can now glimpse life in one of the great royal residences of Scotland’s kings and queens.


The Wallace Monument

Opened in 1869 to commemorate Scotland's greatest freedom fighter, Sir William Wallace. The Wallace Monument is on the Abbey Craig, a rocky crag from which Wallace watched the English army gather before the Battle of Stirling Bridge.


Bannockburn Heritage Centre

In June 1314 the history of Scotland as a nation was about to change forever. It was at the Battle of Bannockburn that Robert Bruce, King of Scots, would face down the English army led by Edward II. An incredible new experience that changes how you learn about Scottish history.


Argyll's Lodging

This 17th Century town residence is Scotland's finest surviving Renaissance mansion. A tour of Argyll's Lodging is included with Stirling Castle admission ticket.


Stirling Old Town

By 1550, Broad Street in the Old Town of Stirling was the hub of town life and the centre of commerce and trading. The history of Stirling developed as the old town gradually grew from the castle down onto the low flood plain.


Mar's Wark

A once, grand building at the head of Stirling Old Town. Commissioned around 1569 by the powerful Earl of Mar, heriditary Keeper of Stirling Castle and one time Regent of Scotland.


Church of the Holy Rude

Stirling's principal parish church for more than 500 years. A plaque on the floor marks the spot where the infant, King James VI was baptised in 1567.


Ladies' Rock, Star Pyramid and the Valley

A £1.7 million project to restore Stirling’s Old Town Cemeteries was completed recently. Wander around the Holy Rude graveyard and you will see headstones which are hundreds of years old.


Cowane's Hospital

Built between 1639 - 49 with funds bequeathed by John Cowane, a wealthy Stirling merchant. John Cowane was a Town Councillor who became a member of Parliament for Stirling in the Scots Parliament and was elected Dean of Guild in October of 1624.


The Tolbooth and the Mercat Cross

By 1550, the Tolbooth stood next to the Mercat Cross in the old town of Stirling. It was the court house, council meeting place, armoury and prison. Stirling Tolbooth is now a vibrant centre for music and the arts.


Erskine Marykirk

The original Erskine Kirk was founded in the 18th century amid local religious upheaval. The tomb of the the Reverend Ebenezer Erskine lies in front of the church, overlooked by an elaborate classical monument. The facade of Erskine Marykirk has been incorporated into a modern youth hostel for Stirling.


Old Town Jail

For 400 years, Stirling's prisoners were kept in the old Tollbooth Jail. Pressure for improvement and prison reform led to the new, purpose built Stirling Old Town Jail which was opened in 1847.


Darnley's House

At the lower end of Broad Street is the house where Mary Queen of Scots second husband, Lord Darnley, is said to have stayed.


John Cowane's House / Queen Mary's Palace

John Cowane was born in this house around 1570. The house was still inhabited in 1900 but is now a ruin on St. Mary's Wynd in Stirling Old Town.


Town Wall and the Back Walk

Stirling's Town Wall was built as a defence when King Henry VIII was trying to force a marriage between the infant Mary, Queen of Scots and his son Edward. The Back Walk was built between 1723 and 1791 and is regarded as one of Europe's finest urban walkways.


The Gowan Hill and the Beheading Stone

One of the landmarks on Stirling's skyline with fine views towards Stirling Bridge, the Wallace Monument and the Abbey Craig. The beheading stone was used for many executions during the 15th Century including Murdoch, Duke of Albany in 1425.


Stirling Old Bridge

Before this Bridge was built there were earlier structures, including the wooden bridge where Sir William Wallace defeated the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

- William Wallace and the Battle of Stirling Bridge

William Wallace and Andrew Murray, commanding an army of common spearmen, defeated heavy cavalry at the Battle of Stirling Bridge on 11 September 1297.


Read William Nimmo's
History of Stirlingshire
(revised 1880)

The King's Knot

An octagonal stepped, grassy mound on the land below Stirling Castle. The King's Knot is known locally, as the Cup and Saucer and around 1630 it formed part of a magnificent formal gardens.


The King's Park

At one time the park was used as the hunting grounds for the Royal Court at Stirling and is now one of Stirling's best used recreation areas.


Smith Art Gallery and Museum

Founded in 1874 with a legacy from Thomas Stuart Smith. The Smith gallery and museum houses a wide range of artworks, historical and archaeological material and a changing programme of exhibitions.


The Bastion

A surviving section of the 16th Century, town wall of Stirling. Under the Thistles shopping centre you can visit the thieves pot, a small dungeon where prisoners were confined.


Cambuskenneth Abbey

Within a loop of the winding River Forth. An Augustinian settlement founded by King David I in 1147. The Abbey was closely involved with the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.


Stirling Arcade

The Stirling Arcade was designed and built between 1881 and 1882 and has long been an important feature in Stirling city centre due to its prominent location right in the heart of the old town.


The Stirling Tour

Listen to the fascinating history of Stirling in the company of a local guide as you walk through the cobbled streets of the old medieval town with its ancient buildings and famous Royal Castle.


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