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Stirling Castle is an absolute must and the Church of the Holy Rude is a 2 minute walk.
Other things to see and do in Stirling include:
The National Wallace Monument is located atop the hill that Wallace and his troops descended in going into battle at Falkirk. Wallace Monument was erected by public subscription and opened in 1869. The top of the 220 ft tower, reached by 246 steps, commands one of the finest views in Scotland. Below, three halls or chambers house Wallace’s famous double-handed broadsword, a battle tent and a Scottish Hall of Heroes. At various levels in the monument are exhibits on Scottish history, William Wallace and the construction of the National Monument. The actual Wallace sword is located in the Monument. From the top, there is a splendid view of the surrounding area. Arthur's seat in Edinburgh can be seen from the Monument, as well as the battlefield which lies in the valley below. The Monument is well worth a visit, especially if you have kids or William Wallace fans. USE the FREE shuttle up the hill unless you are in great shape - it is a killer walk up hill then numerous steps up to the top of National Wallace Monument .
Explore the historic Old Town. Just below the Castle is perhaps the best concentration of medieval buildings in Scotland. Cowans Hospital, Church of Holy Rude and the wonderful graveyard are all worth exploring. Guided tours of the Old town with costumed guide depart from the outside Cowan's hospital next to the Church of Holy Rude most afternoons and offer a mix of storytelling, history and comedy.
The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum on the Dumbarton Road beside the historic King's Knot is well worth a visit. There are new exhibitions all the time but the largest gallery in the museum permanently houses the Stirling Story where you will find out everything about Stirling over the centuries. You can even see the oldest football in the world!! There are fun things for the kids to do and if you phone ahead you can organise a free guided tour for your group. The parking is free and there's a great cafe. FREE ADMISSION
Argyll’s Lodging is perhaps one of Scotland’s most important surviving Renaissance mansions, built circa 1630 by the 1st Earl of Stirling and Viscount Canada. Now splendidly refurbished as it would have been in that period. FREE ADMISSION WITH CASTLE TICKET
Stirling's Town Wall was built as a defence in 1547 when King Henry VIII of England was seeking to force a marriage between the infant Mary, Queen of Scots and his son Edward. Stirling, being the Royal Court, was continually under attack. The walk, described as one of Europe's finest urban walkways, was constructed around 1723 to 1791.
Bannockburn Heritage Centre Commemorating King Robert the Bruce’s famous victory a much larger English army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 is an exhibition on the Kingdom of the Scots. Outside is a commemorative Rotunda and the Borestone — traditionally Bruce’s command post — as well as a magnificent statue of the king on his war-horse. A state of the art brand new visitor centre is due to be opening spring 2014.
Cambuskenneth Abbey was closely involed with the Battle of Bannockburn. Bruce’s parliament here in 1326 was the first to include representatives of Scotland’s burghs, and James III and his Queen are buried in the grounds. Much of the building was carried away after the Reformation but the Bell Tower or Campanile (originally 1300) survives in restored condition. The Abbey was an Augustinian settlement founded by King David I in 1147
Church of the Holy Rude was Stirling’s principle church for more than 500 years and the site of the coronation of King James VI (James I of England) in 1567. It remains the only church still in use for worship that has been used for a coronation in Britain outside Westminster Abbey. The church features one of Scotland’s few surviving medieval open timber roofs. The Nave and tower date in part from 1456–70. A 17th century dispute in the church’s congregation led to a dividing wall being built wihtin the church which was removed during restoration in 1936. FREE ADMISSION
Stirling Old Bridge This handsome late 15th century bridge was for almost four centuries the lowest bridging point over the River Forth, until Stirling New Bridge opened in 1831 (and the Forth Road Bridge in 1890). The Old Bridge succeeded earlier wooden structures including the wooden bridge which was at the centre of William Wallace’s victory over the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.
The Bastion was a 16th century defensive tower originally guarding an angle of the Town Wall. It contained a barrel-vaulted guardroom above the Thief’s Pot, which was used as a short-term prison. Inside Thistle shopping centre next to WH Smith. FREE ADMISSION
Cowane’s Hospital Built by local merchant John Cowane (1637) as an almshouse for “decayed members of the Guild of Merchants”. Houses a Family History Project (genealogical database for Stirling and the surrounding area) and displays on Cowane’s history. FREE ADMISSION