Stirling Castle steward shares top visitor tips

Haste ye back! Stirling Castle is opening its gates to visitors once again. In this blog, castle steward Caitlin shares her top visitor tips.

aerial view of stirling castle

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have missed getting out and about and visiting Scotland’s historic places this winter. Along with my coworkers at Stirling Castle, we’re getting ready to welcome visitors back from Friday 30 April. And we couldn’t be more excited!

I have worked at Stirling Castle for about two years and it is an amazing place to work. Going into work every day and being surrounded by such iconic history never gets boring. The breath-taking panoramic views are an added bonus!

When you visit now, things will be a bit different to pre-pandemic visits so I thought I’d share some top visitor tips for sightseers looking to make the most of their visit in the “new normal”.

Make sure you book!

To help make everything as safe as possible, we’ve introduced timed ticket entry. With staggered entry times it should mean less queuing for you. You can arrive at any time during you half hour ticket slot and once you’ve entered the castle you can spend as long as you like exploring the castle up until closing time.

It is very important to book in advance before you arrive, you can do this here. One of the most difficult things about this past year is having to turn people away because we are at full capacity or they have missed the last time slot of the day. So please, please, please check the website before arriving at the site!

Also remember that you should book your car park ticket in advance if you plan on driving and parking at the castle.

Enjoy the space

During a ‘normal’ summer at the Castle we can get thousands of visitors a day. Our record was welcoming just over 5000 people in one day! This past year has certainly been different.

While we do miss the buzz and meeting so many people, it has its benefits. With reduced visitor numbers you will have more space and time to enjoy your visit.

safety signage that reads: One unicorn between us. Please keep 2 metres from other visitors

Bring your smartphone

Whether you want to tune into our audio guide or experience brand new digital interpretation of the castle, be sure to pack your smartphone and check it’s got plenty of battery and data!

If you’re a fan of fascinating information and tales which bring the past to life (who isn’t?!) then our audio guide will be the perfect addition to your visit. It is available in seven languages. Just remember to pop one in your basket when you book your tickets online. Once you get to the castle you’ll be able to download the tour and tune in.

We’ve also introduced new digital interpretation at the Castle. There are QR codes to scan throughout the castle that will beam more information about the history of the castle direct to your phone. Use this feature to unlock interesting snippets of information or explore parts of the castle that are currently not accessible to visitors.

Chat to the stewards – we’ve got loads of visitor tips!

As part of our safety precautions we have more staff on hand at the castle. We’re here to help with any questions and with directions around the one way systems. And we love a good chat!

One of the best things about working at Stirling Castle is meeting so many interesting people and sharing our love of the history of the castle with them.

Photo of steward Caitlin in her tartan Historic Scotland uniform sanding beside TV historian Prof Alice Roberts

Caitlin meeting Professor Alice Roberts when she filmed Britain’s Most Historic Towns at Stirling Castle in 2018.

Visit our neighbours

If you’re in the area, why not make a day of it? You can also book to visit other Historic Scotland sites. Doune Castle and Dunblane Cathedral are just down the road. We’re always happy to provide visitor tips for things to see and do nearby.

aerial view of Doune Castle

Doune Castle is about 8 miles down the road from Stirling Castle.

See you soon!

I think everyone is ready to get out and explore new places, or revisit old favourites and at Stirling Castle we’re ready to welcome visitors back once more. I can’t wait to be back on site and to engage with visitors again.

To find out more about visiting Stirling Castle, to read our FAQs and to book tickets take a look at our visitor information.

For more information on other sites that will be reopening on the 30 April please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website.

If you’re not able to visit quite yet, why not join us virtually with our virtual castle tour.