Beyond the historic cityscape of Edinburgh, with its iconic Edinburgh Castle, lie other jewels of Scotland’s royal heritage, each one resplendent in its unique history and charm. Today, let’s venture out to explore other magnificent fortresses like Stirling Castle, Dunnottar Castle, and Balmoral Castle.
Stirling Castle: Scotland’s Strategic Stronghold
Perched atop a high volcanic rock, Stirling Castle has been a key military stronghold for centuries due to its strategic location. The castle has been the site of many significant events in Scottish history, including the coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542.
Take a journey back in time as you walk through the beautifully restored Renaissance Royal Palace, home to Scotland’s monarchs in the 16th century. Don’t miss the legendary Stirling Tapestries – a set of seven hand-woven tapestries depicting ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ which adorn the palace walls.
Dunnottar Castle: A Cliffside Marvel
Perched dramatically on a cliff overlooking the North Sea, Dunnottar Castle is a sight to behold. This formidable fortress, with roots tracing back to the Early Middle Ages, was once the home of the Earls Marischal, one of the most powerful families in Scotland.
Its breathtaking beauty aside, Dunnottar Castle also holds a significant place in Scotland’s history. It was here that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months, saving the Scottish Crown Jewels from destruction.
Balmoral Castle: The Royal Family’s Highland Home
Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of the Scottish Highlands, Balmoral Castle has been the royal family’s holiday home since the time of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
As you explore its splendid gardens and estate, you’ll feel a sense of tranquillity that explains why it’s the royal family’s favorite retreat. The castle’s grand architecture, reflecting the Scots Baronial style, is a visual treat. Although the castle itself is not open to the public, the stunning estate, gardens, and exhibitions in the old stable block are open to visitors from April to July.
Visiting these three castles offers a fascinating insight into Scotland’s rich history and a chance to appreciate the nation’s architectural prowess. They stand as tangible reminders of the country’s intriguing past, etched in stone for us to marvel at and learn from. So, when you’re next planning a Scottish Castle tour, make sure these extraordinary sites are on your list.