Stirling Castle is one of the largest castles in Scotland and sits atop Castle Hill in Stirling, about an hour away from Edinburgh. It was one of the most used Scottish royal residences, and several Kings and Queens have been crowned there, including Mary, Queen of Scots. The first record dates from 1110, when King Alexander I dedicated a chapel there. He died there in 1124.
The early Stuart Kings built the earliest surviving parts of the castle. It was part of the jointure of James I’s wife Joan Beaufort, and she took shelter there with her son in 1437. James II’s wife, Margaret of Denmark, died at Stirling Castle in 1486. It was also part of the dower for Margaret Tudor. Mary, Queen of Scots, was brought to the castle for safety and crowned in the chapel royal on 9 September 1543. When she returned to Scotland after being widowed, she visited Stirling Castle frequently.
The present Chapel Royal was constructed for the baptism of James VI and Anne of Denmark’s first son, Henry Frederick, who was born at the castle.
After the restoration, the castle was used as a prison and a formal garrison was installed from 1685. It was run as barracks from 1800. A major overhaul was completed in 2011, and the castle is now open to the public year-round.
Stirling is about 45 minutes by train from Edinburgh Park station. From there, you can either walk or take a taxi or public transportation to the Castle. It was quite a steep walk, so we took a taxi, which was still quite reasonably priced.
Stirling Castle is open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. An adult ticket costs £15.00, and there are several shops and cafes on the castle grounds. Despite the weather, we had a perfect day out.