Our first castle visit – Stirling, Scotland

As a little girl, I had always dreamt of being a princess and living in a beautiful castle. Now as an adult, I understand fantasy from reality and can live through the history of kings and queens who once ruled the land.  With this dream in mind, one of my goals for this Europe trip was to see as many castles as possible. So, while we were in Glasgow, we decided to take a day trip to Stirling to see the Stirling Castle.

We looked up train fares and entrance fees to see if it was worth doing it on our own or going with a tour group. In the end, we went on our own since it only cost us 8.50 GBP per person for a return trip on the train (we booked it online and printed it out at the station). For some reason, it was cheaper to buy two tickets online, in advance instead of tickets in person.

The rain doesn’t stop, you only get some breaks and unfortunately, this was not one of those days.  We arrived at the Stirling train station and went straight to the information desk to get a map of the city. We headed to the Cambuskenneth Abbey (AKA Stirling Abbey) first, not really knowing how far it was going to be. We tried to follow the map and asked for directions, we eventually got there and it was in the middle of a green field and the gate was closed 😦 I was so sad and it was raining pretty hard. L decided to go investigate and trek through the wet grass up to the gate. It was actually open, there was a sign that said “please close the gate behind you.” We wandered in and realized what we were looking at was actually the watch tower. The abbey itself was in ruins. We saw the tomb King James III of Scotland. I’m glad we explored it and the rain stopped temporarily.

We retraced our steps back towards the train station and found our way to Stirling Castle. It was at the top of the town and quite the trek. Along the way, we found the Church of the Holy Rude that was a nice visit. There were beautiful stained glass windows. We past the Old Town Jail and was super excited to visit it, only to find out that it ceased being an attraction two years ago 😦

We explored the Castle and it was everything I hoped visiting a castle would be and more! The Royal Palace has a great hall where it entertained guests and had fireplaces that were taller than me.  There’s a wall walk you can take that leads you around the perimeter of the grounds and there are some great views of the city along there.  It was a gloomy day but overall, it was a great first castle visit. I can’t wait to see other castles!!!

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