Stirling Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland.
Hundreds of years ago, Stirling Castle was a stronghold for Scottish Kings and Princes. Today you can explore the rooms and passages that still have medieval features including moss-covered walls, dungeons, huge fireplaces and a gridiron. There are cannon and gun displays and a huge collection of weapons.
There is a medieval maze next to the castle where you can lose your way on the way to King’s Knot, an old tree that Scottish kings were crowned under. You might want to visit the Great Hall, which was built in the 14th century and is one of the largest hammer-beamed halls in Scotland. There is also a big square tower called The Peel. It was added to Stirling Castle in 1602 and has a 27-metre drop — one of the highest free falls in Europe!
The castle and grounds are set high on volcanic rock above a town with an excellent view of Edinburgh Castle about 10 miles away. At the foot of the castle, there is a little strip of shops and cafés.
The castle has lots of original features both inside and out such as a dungeon room with manacles for hands and feet, arrow-slits, murder holes above doorways to pour boiling oil onto invaders, battlements on top of towers from which archers could fire at enemies below (some battlements are now used for sightseeing), a huge fireplace big enough to walk into and thick walls.
If you go to Stirling Castle you can choose from two different tours hosted by an audio guide in four different languages. The first tour lasts for about 35 minutes and guides you through the castle’s features. The second tour takes you into a contemporary setting with life-sized characters such as a castellan, an archer and a nun.
From June to September, stunning fireworks display over the castle walls each night at dusk. This is called The Burning of the Clavie and it forms part of an ancient ritual for Stirling’s royal burgh (a town run by a council of Scottish citizens). The burning was first recorded in 1540 when Stirling obtained its royal burgh status.
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