Read our regular staff blog and get a behind-the-scenes-view of life and work at Stirling Castle.

Hop on over to Stirling

by StirlingCastle 8. August 2014 04:11

Destination Stirling has launched a trial hop-on, hop-off bus service linking Stirling’s key attractions including the Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle, Smith Art Gallery & Museum and the Battle of Bannockburn Experience. Running from Stirling train station the service is available to visitors 7 days a week until the 22 August.

Funded by Scottish Enterprise; Destination Stirling is a newly established industry-led destination organisation aimed at bringing tourism businesses together to drive forward the tourism agenda for Stirling. If successful this trial would pave the way for a sustainable future summer service. It’s hoped that this would also encourage more visitors to arrive by public transport with this service in place to circulate between the key attractions in the area. As well as attractions the service also links the city centre with local towns including Bridge of Allan and Bannockburn.

Destination Stirling has been working closely with existing operators First Bluebird to deliver the service. Stirling Council and the previous operator of the open top City Sightseeing Stirling Tour have also been closely involved and incredibly supportive. As part of this project there is also a focus on increasing the awareness of existing public transport routes to various attractions in and around Stirling.

Geoff Morrison, Destination Manager at Destination Stirling, says “Stirling has an outstanding tourism product and enormous potential for growth in the years ahead. This service offers clear benefits to both our visitors and our attractions and in turn enhances our tourism offering.”

A spokesperson from First Bluebird says "We are delighted to be able to operate the Stirling Free Tourist Service on a trial basis. Supporting our local communities is very important to us and we have worked hard to get this service up and running in a short period of time. We hope that the service will be popular and be the foundation for a more comprehensive service."

Stirling Provost Mike Robbins says "This a crucial time in the development of Stirling. The events of 2014 provide local businesses with unrivalled opportunities and it’s essential we take every opportunity to enhance the overall visitor experience. This new service is a fantastic addition to Stirling and it will be exciting to see it develop further.”

Since its launch last weekend the service has already been well received by visitors. The uptake and feedback throughout the trial period will be used to develop a case for a future sustainable service.

There is more information on the Destination Stirling website

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Summer Sensibility

by StirlingCastle 31. July 2014 10:12

We’re delighted to be working with Chapterhouse, the open air theatre company, to bring one of Jane Austen’s best loved works to life next week.

Sense and Sensibility tells the story of two young sisters, romantic Marianne and rational Elinor Dashwood, as they take their first foray into eighteenth century society, in a tale of love, friendship and sisterly bonds. The death of the sisters' father brings their world of privilege into doubt.

The novel was first published in 1811 under the pseudonym ‘A Lady’. It was to be Jane Austen’s first published novel but only her immediate family were aware of her authorship, an anonymity would last until her death until 1817. The first edition of Sense and Sensibility sold out all 750 copies by July 1813, which was followed by a second edition. It is regarded as one of Austen’s best loved works and has been the subject of numerous adaptations, including perhaps most famously a 1995 film starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.

Come and enjoy the tale of courtship, young love and high society at Stirling Castle on Thursday 7 August. As the performance is taking place in the great outdoors, bring along your own seat or rug, enjoy a picnic and remember to dress appropriately for Scottish weather – but most of all get lost in this superb story!

Buy tickets and find out more information

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Stirling Castle

Stirling - The Heart of Scotland

by StirlingCastle 15. July 2014 05:34

Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling was the seat of power for some our greatest monarchs and the backdrop to epic battles fought and won by heroes like Wallace and Bruce.   It was strategically and spiritually the heart of Scotland.

Today Stirling is still a great city with so much to see and do, only now the heart comes from the pride and passion that people in the area put in to welcoming visitors from near and far.  If you are planning a visit to the castle this summer why not make a day of it or even plan a break to Scotland’s Heart and experience everything that this historic and vibrant city has to offer.  You won’t be disappointed!

Check out our guide to some of the other attractions and events in the area.

1.  Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre
The brand new Battle of Bannockburn experience puts you in the heart of the action. With cutting edge 3D technology, you can experience medieval combat like never before and learn about this crucial event in Scottish history.

2.  The National Wallace Monument
Recently refurbished, Stirling's renowned landmark, commemorating the life of Sir William Wallace, is a must.  See Wallace’s sword, listen to his trial and climb to the crown where you can enjoy magnificent views. Show your castle ticket for 10% discount on entry.

3. Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park
Spend an exciting day at Scotland's Safari Park. Drive through animal reserves, take a boat trip around Chimp Island or watch amazing sea lion shows and bird of prey displays.  The park also has a pet’s farm, adventure playground and pedal boats.  Fun for all the family guaranteed!

4.  Whisky Galore
Stirling is lucky enough to have two fantastic distilleries.  Deanston Distillery started life as a cotton mill before being transformed into a distillery in 1966 where, to this day, it produces an outstanding Highland single malt whisky using traditional methods. The history of Tullibardine as a location for brewing and distilling is one of the oldest in Scotland. Located in Blackford, the gateway to the Highlands, it was here in 1488 that the young King James 4th of Scotland stopped by on his way to his coronation, to purchase beer from the local brewery. This is recorded as the first public purchase of beer. In 1503 the brewery received the first Royal Charter issued by James IV, in recognition of the fine beer produced at Tullibardine.

5.  Old Town
A quick stroll from the castle, Stirling’s old town boasts the finest concentration of historic buildings in Scotland.  See the remains of Mar’s Wark or visit Scotland’s oldest living Church to have held a coronation (James VI), the Holy Rude. The Tolbooth, now an arts and live music venue has served as a jail, courthouse and even hosted a parliament while Cowane's Hospital, a 17th century almshouse was converted into a guild hall and is currently home to a delightful café. Add some excitement to your visit by joining a Stirling Walking Tour or Ghost Walk.

6. The Macobert Centre
Based at Stirling University, the macrobert is the premier arts centre for Stirling and the Forth Valley and a cultural hub for Scotland. It offers a huge variety of activities with over 400 live performances of drama, comedy, opera, dance, music, musical theatre and art exhibitions. Their cinema – The Norman McLaren filmhouse – screens a year-round programme of blockbusters, arthouse movies, classics, documentaries, world cinema and children’s films.

7.  Highland Fling
Stirling is a magnificent setting for some fantastic events including the ancient pursuit of a Scottish Highland Games.  See how far competitors can toss the caber, enjoy some highland dancing and listen to the stirring sounds of a traditional pipe band.  Also on offer crafts, trade stalls and plenty of fine food and drink.  Bridge of Allan Highland Games takes place on Sunday 3rd August with Stirling Highland Games following a few weeks later on Saturday 16th August.

8. The Smith Art Gallery and Museum
If Stirling is Scotland’s heart, the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is its soul. All of the special objects and paintings relating to the history and culture of Stirling are gathered here, with the purpose to collect, record, interpret and show the story of Stirling to the world, and the world to Stirling. On permanent display is the burgh seal of Stirling dating back to 1286, the town’s weights and measures and the oldest football in the world found in the rafters of Stirling Castle.

9.  Other Historic Scotland sites
Stirling Castle isn’t the only historic Scotland property in the area.  Doune Castle is just a few miles down the road.  A magnificent monument that has been used as a film setting for Monty Python and the Holy Grail and more recently Outlander.  Meanwhile Castle Campbell is a proper fairytale castle.  Set in the stunning surrounds of the Dollar Glen, it transports you to another time. Consider investing in an Historic Scotland Explorer Pass or Membership if you want to save some money.

10.  Loch Katrine Experience
Loch Katrine, from the gaelic for “highland thief or robber”, is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s special places. Set against the backdrop of the Trossachs, the loch is surrounded by hills, mountains and woodlands. A favourite tourism destination for avid adventurers, international tourists and families throughout the year, many of whom come for a cruise on our famous steamship, Sir Walter Scott.

Destination Stirling has a very good website where you can find out all about Stirling from accommodation to eating out and what’s on.