Stirling was one of several castles I visited while touring Scotland last year. Stirling Castle sits on a craggy volcanic rock about 30 miles north of Glasgow, at a point where the Highlands and Lowlands meet.
Generations of Scottish monarchs have refurbished and enlarged Stirling Castle and its three main enclosures. In particular James V of Scotland (1513-1542) was crowned here and he fitted out the royal apartments in the French Renaissance style in the late 1530s. The refurbished Royal Palace became the childhood home of James’s daughter Mary, Queen of Scots, who succeeded him and whose coronation was also held here.
With its grand sculptures and beautiful gardens, the castle was a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations from christenings to coronations. Today, there is a restaurant – the Unicorn Café – and not just one but three gift shops to get maximum visitor attention.
From the ramparts there are extensive views over the surrounding countryside and glimpses of the city of Stirling.