About an hour drive from Edinburgh and strategically built on a hilltop in Stirling, sits Stirling Castle. A beautiful castle with history bursting from every corner, think Mary Queen of Scots type history. If you’re a history lover you’ll want to add this to your Scotland bucket list.
Although there is an entry fee, they have free guided tours lead by extremely knowledgeable and passionate staff, and since there is so much history in the castle, this is the best way to take it all in. The tours last between 45-60 minutes and are fairly comprehensive. You will walk both indoors and outdoors, so dress comfortably for both. The only parts they don’t cover are things you can easily see on your own. They also have period actors throughout the castle that stay in character even while they interact with visitors, accents and all. When you walk around the grounds, take in the amazing views form different vantage points. You can even see other sites like the Wallace Monument. We spent 3 hours at the castle, but you should plan on at least 1.5 hours. If you’re tight on time use one of their itineraries to make the most of your visit.
How To Get Here/ Access
Address: Stirling Castle, Castle Esplanade, Stirling, FK8 1EJ
The website has extremely detailed information on not only how to get to the castle, but also information on accessibility, including numbers of steps, locations on handrails, and gradient. You can get to the castle by car, bus, rail, or bike.
If you plan to spend awhile at the castle or visit around lunch time, stop by the Unicorn Café. They have traditional Scottish dishes using high quality local ingredients, as well as a deli bar, and desserts that they bake in the castle kitchen. There’s a rooftop patio where you can take in the views surrounding the castle, or opt to sit inside for a cozier lunch.
Thing To Know
- To save on ticket prices, purchase online by midnight the day before your visit. It’s cheaper than buying at the castle.
- If you want to save even more and plan to visit multiple sights in Scotland, grab the Explorer Pass.
- Check the castle website because open hours vary based on the time of year.
- Large bags/ backpacks and suitcases aren’t allowed inside and there are no storage lockers.
- On-site parking is paid.
- The restrooms are really clean.
- The castle is hundreds of years old, so there is constantly restoration being done.