A visit to Stirling Castle is an essential part of any visit to central Scotland. Its location rivals even Edinburgh Castle's for sheer magnificence as it sits on its high volcanic rock, visible for many miles in every direction.
The Castle is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. This page provides a brief glimpse of what the castle has to offer; you can find out more about particular parts of it via the clickable map to the right or the links below.
A site as important as the castle rock at Stirling, guarding as it does the lowest crossing point of the River Forth, would always have been of strategic interest to anyone wanting to control central Scotland.
There is no actual evidence that the Romans or the Votadini or the Picts who fought over this ground in the first millennium A.D. fortified the rock: it simply seems highly likely that they would have done. And it is sadly only an attractive theory that the legend of Camelot is based on a castle here during King Arthur's conquest of parts of Scotland in the 500s.
During a long and bloody history Stirling Castle has been attacked or besieged at least 16 times. Three battles have been fought in its immediate vicinity, two of which were turning points in Scottish history: and a fourth equally important battle took place just a few miles to the north.
A number of Scottish Kings and Queens have been baptised, or crowned, or died in or near Stirling Castle. At least one King was murdered nearby: while another committed murder within its walls.
With the exception of the Outer Defences, most of Stirling Castle dates back to the 100 year period between 1496 and 1583, and to the efforts of three Kings, James IV, V and VI and one of their Queens, Mary de Guise. But the Castle provided a home for Scottish Kings and Queens from the days of Alexander I (and probably earlier) until the Union of the Scottish and English Crowns under James VI.
The clickable map on the right links to nine further pages covering:
The Outer Close, the area stretching from the Forework Gatehouse to the North Gate and including the Grand Battery and Great Kitchens.
The Nether Bailey, the lower area of the castle occupying the northern part of the castle rock.
The Cafe and Shops available for visitors to the castle.