The Castle Gardens & King's Park
Until the early 1600s Stirling Castle served as a royal residence and as a mighty fortress. For much of this time it was a peaceful place where the monarch held court, governed or simply relaxed.
Queen Anne Gardens
This pretty garden was an important feature of the royal castle. Here the king and queen could stroll with their courtiers, watch entertainments or play games such as archery and bowls. (This area is also known as the Bowling Green Garden.) There are records of trees, plants and seeds being purchased to plant here, and of cranes and peacocks strutting about.
The King's Knot
In the valley below the castle are the grassy outlines of a much bigger formal garden. This is the King’s Knot, the knot itself being a raised eight-sided feature dating from the 1600s. It is likely that this area would have been organised as an elaborate formal garden with bright floral displays, attractive terraces and paved paths.
The King's Park
Beyond the King’s Knot, and stretching far into the distance, lay the King’s Park. This was the royal hunting forest, where the king and his courtiers could hunt for red deer and wild boar. James V was a keen huntsman.
A Spectacular Finale
The hunt was often arranged so that the hunted beast was caught and killed within sight of the castle walls. The Ladies’ Lookout beside the Palace would have provided a vantage point to watch the spectacle. From here they could also have admired jousts in the royal tournament ground below.