This wonderful castle, nestled on a hill above the attractive town of Stirling, doesn't looked like your average castle. When I first saw it, I was quite disappointed as it looks like a mis-match of houses, but once inside, the history oozes out and it's interesting to learn which monarch added which building and why.
We didn't do the audio tour or any of the guided tours which was a mistake, we will do them next time. We did come across several school tours having guided tours and what we overheard was very interesting.
Inside the castle walls there is a real 'village' feel; there are two courtyards where you can imagine people gathering in days gone by for a chat.
There is a display of easy to read posters that take you through the ages of who ruled, how they came to rule, for how long, and how they died. There is also a military museum which you can easily spend an hour or two in. I had a coffee in the courtyard just outside while the rest of the family continued to look around it.
There are lots of steps & uneven surfaces, especially if you want to see everything, like the kitchens which are down steps like a cellar. They do have ramps in some places, but I don't think it's the best place to go if you have a disability or finding walking difficult – everything is on a slant, up or down hill.
There are two cafe's within the castle walls, and a small stand inside the larger courtyard where you can get a take-away drink and a cake to keep you going.
There are two gift shops which I thought were expensive, but they do different gifts I didn't see anywhere else.
There is a large, busy car park, but we parked at the bottom of the hill and walked up the footpath, which was a nice zig-zag climb, with just a short steep bit at the top.
Well worth a visit and I would go back.