Come and join us for a fabulous weekend of family fun.
A special park and ride service has been organised for the weekend of celebrations for the opening of Stirling Castle’s magnificently refurbished Renaissance royal palace.
With a royal procession launching events on the Saturday, and a series of other activities outside the castle walls on both days, the esplanade will not be available for car parking.
Visitors will be able to use the special bus service from running from the Castle View Park and Ride, through the town, up to the castle in order to reach the event.
Drivers simply have to follow the AA event signs, which will lead the off the M9 at Junction 10.
Buses start at 8.59am and will run regularly throughout the day. The last bus back from the castle will leave at 7.20pm.
Tickets are £1.20 return for adults and 60p for children and free for concession card holders.
First Bus will be running a separate service from Stirling bus and train stations leaving every half hour from 9.15am, with the last departure from the castle at 18.05pm.
The opening event, Stirling Castle Presents – A Palace Fit for a Queen, marks the completion of a £12 million project, the centrepiece of which is the return of six royal apartments to how they might have looked when they were the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots.
There will be 60 costumed performers, from jesters and dancers to nobles, royals and soldiers.
It promises to be one of the most colourful events of the summer, and offers the chance to be among to first to enjoy a fantastic new Scottish visitor attraction.
- Royal procession – 11.45am, Saturday only: Mary of Guise, Mary Queen of Scots and the royal party arrive at the castle and are welcomed by cannon fire.
- Feast your eyes: See a team of cooks prepare a feast fit for royalty. They will be roasting, boiling and poaching everything from venison, beef and trout to (a few) vegetables. But the main attractions are likely to be a decorated boar’s head, complete with apple in mouth, and a model warship made from sugar.
- Gunpowder and rapiers: Four costumed gunners will fire salutes from a cannon set on the gatehouse. And there will be a Renaissance military encampment where visitors can find out how the bow and arrow is grad
ally being replaced by the gun and see why gentlemen are prefer the rapiers to the broadsword.
- Meet the mighty: Mary of Guise, widow of James V, along with little Mary Queen of Scots, will meet their subjects. Remember to bow and curtsey.
- Plots and politics: Dramatic events are shaking Scotland – meet the French ambassador Henri Cleutin and his rivals at court as they cook up all sorts of plots, but beware, it could spill over into swordfights at any moment.
- Looks could kill: A make-up demonstration will reveal the beauty secrets of Renaissance women. It will also explain the risks, as cosmetics contained poisonous substances including lead. Visitors can see how a lady was dressed by her servants each morning, beginning with a shift and tight corset.
- What a giggle: Sir Guy de Brouillard and his Fool Peterkin will entertain the crowd with jokes, juggling and acrobatics.
- Sounds of the 40s – that’s the 1540s: Hear the hurdy gurdy and a harp-type instrument called a psaltery. Then there’s the racket, a small wind instrument which makes a big noise.
- Strutting their stuff: See displays of Renaissance dance of the types that courtiers and nobles would have enjoyed at a major royal party.
Tickets for Stirling Castle Presents – a Palace Fit for a Queen and are best purchased in advance from www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk though some will be available at the gate. They are £13 adults, £6.50 children, £10 concessions.
The castle gates will open at 9.30am and activities start at 11.45am.
Opening hours have been specially extended on both days and people without event tickets can buy tickets after 4pm – the castle gates will shut at 7pm.
Notes for editors
- For all the latest on the palace project, and everything else that happening at Stirling Castle, visit our website at www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/newsletter and sign up for our free e-newsletter.
- Stirling Castle is at the top of Stirling Old Town off the M9 at junction 9 or 10. Call 01786 450000
- Historic Scotland has 345 historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places.
- Historic Scotland’s Mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.
- Historic Scotland around the web: www.twitter.com/welovehistory, www.facebook.com/visithistoricscotland, www.youtube.com/historicscotlandtv and www.flickr.com/groups/makeyourownhistory.