Our travels to Scotland usually take us to Helensburgh, where our daughter lives, but on the last occasion we made the effort to drive an hour eastwards to Stirling and its castle, and the trip was very worthwhile.
Firstly, you catch sight of the castle from a distance, as it stands on the high point of the region – for obvious reasons. The drive up to the castle is steep, better driven than walked. A good tip is to arrive early, as the car park fills up quickly and you wouldn’t want to be parking down in the town area unless you fancy the climb! Its location therefore may make it problematic for those with mobility issues. Another tip is to book tickets in advance online, as the coach parties can cause long queues.
The approach to the castle is impressive, and you can see how difficult it might of been for any invaders wishing to capture it. Its very well fortified with Robert The Bruce guarding the gateway! Inside the walls, there are various buildings which you can visit, and can appreciate what life might have been like in the time of James V and VI. Much money was obviously spent by both kings in making the castle not only a fortress but also one of the most magnificent palaces of its time. We particularly enjoyed the Royal Palace, the Chapel and the Great Hall. There are also various exhibitions and the museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
It’s not too expensive to get in. There is a concession price of £12 for the over 60s which compares favourably with some of the bigger National Trust houses in England. Best of all, there is a cafe (with seating outside overlooking the Bannockburn battlefield) serving delicious pies filled with haggis, neeps and tatties!