Scottish Medieval Castles: Stirling Castle
12th Century
Open to Visitors

Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland. Sitting atop Castle Hill, a crag that forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation, the first record of the castle dates from around 1110. Sterling soon became a royal burgh and an important administrative center.

The Romans had bypassed Stirling, choosing Doune to build a fort. The rock might have been a stronghold of the Manaw Gododdin. A settlement was recorded in the 7th and 8th centuries (however, there’s no archaeological evidence of occupation before the late medieval period).

The castle sits on a strategic defensive position, surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs. The gatehouse was erected by King James IV around 1506. The oldest part of the Inner Close is the King’s Old Building, completed in 1497. The principal rooms were on the first floor, over cellars, and included two chambers with wide-open views to the west.

Most of the castle’s main buildings date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with a few structures of the fourteenth century.

Stirling Castle - Aerial View.
Stirling Castle - Aerial View. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Stirling Castle's Main Attractions

Stirling Castle: The Great Hall

The Great Hall

This banqueting hall, completed in 1503, is the largest of its kind ever built in Scotland and was used for feasts, dances and pageants. It was heated by five large fireplaces, and has galleries for minstrels and trumpeters.
Stirling Castle: The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is exquicitely decorated and furnished. Interpreters in costumesset the scene and talk to visitors about the years when it was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. The royal chambers include the rooms where nobles and courtiers met their monarch, the bedrooms where the royals retired with their closest companions and brightly-painted replicas of the Stirling Heads and the breathtaking Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries.
Stirling Castle: The Chapel Royal

The Chapel Royal

This elegant chapel was built in 1593-4 on the orders of James VI (who wanted somewhere suitable for the baptism of his son and heir Prince Henry). It’s one of the first Protestant kirks in Scotland, as well as the last royal building at the castle. 
Stirling Castle: The Great Kitchens


Among other activities, you can explore the Castle’s Great Kitchens, the Queen Anne Gardens, The Palace Vaults and the Regimental Museum.

Visit Stirling Castle


Bike Access
Carpark Nearby (Paid)
Assistance Dogs Permitted
Accessible by Ramps


Summer (1 Apr – 30 Sep): 9.30am to 6pm.

Winter (1 Oct – 31 Mar): 9:30am to 5pm.


Castle Esplanade, Stirling, FK8 1EJ


+44 (0)1786 450 000


Ticket typeAdmission Price
Adult (16-59yrs)£15
Concession (60yrs+)£12.00
Child (5-15yrs)£9
Child (Under 5Free
Young Scot Card Holder£1


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