In Scotland’s warlike past, whoever held Stirling held the kingdom – such was its strategic importance controlling routes between Highland and Lowland Scotland. To this day, its guardian castle stands at its highest point. Once it was the court of the Stewart dynasty of Scottish monarchs. Today, it still offers one of Scotland’s best historic ‘castle experiences’- as well as a fine panorama from the Castle Esplanade.
Below the Castle, the Old Town of Stirling draws parallel with Edinburgh as an old community that grew up in the protection of the fortress. Buildings around the old High Street such as the Tolbooth and the bare façade of Mar’s Wark add to the historic ambience. Further downhill are the shopping streets as well as the modern mall of the Thistle Centre.
Aside from the Castle, historic Stirling is also noted for the Wallace Monument – more fine views as well as the story of Scotland’s first freedom fighter. And the historic theme is inescapable, with the Bannockburn Heritage Centre (to be redeveloped for the 700th anniversary of the battle) also within a few minutes of the town centre.