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National Wallace Monument
The National Wallace Monument on Abbey Craig outside Stirling commemorates the life of Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who battled the forces of King Edward I of England in the cause of Scottish independence. The monument, completed in 1869, is a 220-ft Victorian Gothic tower designed by John Thomas Rochead. Visitors climb 246 interior steps to view Stirling, the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and Stirling Castle—not to mention the River Forth and the surrounding countryside—from the tower’s crown. Along the way, they can pause to explore galleries depicting Wallace’s impact on Scottish history, to gaze at his sword, and to wander the Hall of Heroes with its busts of famous Scotsmen. Aside from the monument’s remarkable open crown, its most striking element is a 15-ft bronze statue of Wallace placed on a corbel about 30 ft above ground level. The caretaker’s house (attached to the monument) is now a tearoom. There is also a small on-premises gift shop. A separate reception center is located at the base of Abbey Craig, where visitors can purchase tickets and catch the shuttle leading up to the monument.
Stirling Castle is located in Stirling, on top of the Castle Crag. The western face of the rock drops 80m down, but the site is naturally well defended form three sides. Historically, the castle guarded a desirable crossing on the river Forth and effectively, the access to the Highlands from the south. The castle is connected with important events of Scottish history: battles of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn, coronation of Mary Queen of Scots, Jacobite uprisings. It was a favourite residence of the Stuarts in 16th and 17th centuries. The castle is approached via fortifications of the Forework: the Gatehouse, the curtain wall, ditch and several towers. Majority of the important buildings inside the walls date from the 15th and 16th centuries. The most important ones are located around the Upper Square: the Palace, The Great Hall, built as venue for state occasions, the Chapel, and King's Old Building. Other attractions include the basement Great Kitchens, the Nether Bailey and the Tapestry Studio. There is a cafe, a bookshop, a gift shop and a whisky shop. Admission: Adult £9 (10 Euros), Child £4.50 (5 Euros). Opens 9.30, closes 6pm in summer (Apr-Sep)