Stirling Castle: Located in Stirling, Scotland, Stirling Castle provides an imposing sight as it sits on top of a volcanic hill. Surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, this castle is a national monument and is under the management of Historic Scotland. It is the headquarters of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment and although the regiment is no longer stationed in the castle, its museum is located here.
When you visit Stirling Castle, you will see an excellent example of castle architecture dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries in many of the main buildings. Some of the structures dating back to the 14th centuries still remain, but the outer defences facing the town were built in the 18th century.
The history of Stirling Castle includes a siege on the castle by Edward 1 in the 12th century. It was at this time that the medieval defence strategy of throwing projectiles over the walls of the castle was first used. You can see the Palace block, started by James IV, but completed by James. This building with its Renaissance and Gothic detail is one of the most charming buildings in the country. See the magnificent oriel windows in the Parliament Hall and the chapel that James VI had built in 1594 for the christening of his son.
Stirling Castle towers over some of the most important battlefields in Scottish history. It was at Stirling Bridge that William Wallace defeated the English in 1297 and at Bannockburn where Robert the Bruce delivered another defeat in 1314. Enjoy the stories of assassinations, kidnappings and imprisonments that took place during the centuries at Stirling Castle. There are many buildings for you to tour and plenty of things for you to see, such as the fine tapestries in the Chapel from the Hunt of the Unicorn.
Learn about the Stewart monarchy and the contribution they made to Stirling Castle in the castle exhibition in the Queen Anne casemates. You can visit all parts of the castle, except those used by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The castle is also wheelchair accessible, except for the medieval kitchen and the Elphinstone Tower. There are free guided tours and if you wish you can take advantage of the computer tour of the castle available in the Unicorn Cafe. This gives you a look at even the places where access is a little more difficult. There is also an exhibit about the restoration project ongoing at Stirling Castle. This will show you the differences future restorations will make to the castle, so that you can make plans to return and see the finished product.