STIRLING CASTLE BEATS TOWER OF LONDON AND THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT TO BE RATED UK’S FAVOURITE HERITAGE ATTRACTION
Castle voted best loved historic attraction by Which? members
Stirling Castle has beaten attractions such as The Tower of London, The Houses of Parliament and Hampton Court Palace to be rated the UK’s favourite heritage attraction.
The survey of Which? members rated the castle - which was home to a young Mary, Queen of Scots - as the UK’s top heritage attraction, impressing in areas such as value for money, customer service and quality of information.
The castle, which is run by Historic Scotland, re-opened its palace apartments to the public last June following a £12 million restoration of its interiors to how they may have looked in young Mary’s time.
Years of research were carried out by archaeologists, historians and other scholars to ensure that every detail – from the furniture to the heraldic decorations on the walls and ceilings – was as authentic as possible.
Key highlights include a set a replicas of the Stirling Heads – often referred to as Scotland’s other crown jewels – which adorn the ceiling of the Kings inner chamber. Many of the original surviving heads, which feature intricate carved images inspired by royalty, heraldry and mythology have been brought back together in a special exhibition.
Meanwhile, costumed performers from the court of a young Mary, Queen of Scots meet visitors to the palace as they arrive, transporting them back in time to the renaissance court of the 1540’s.
Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Scotland said;
“Stirling Castle was home to the Stewart Kings and Queens, arguably the most famous dynasty in Scottish history.
“At this time Stirling Castle and its palace were the height of renaissance grandeur and knights, nobles and foreign ambassadors would flock to the royal court to revel in its opulence.
“Through the palace project we wanted to recreate this experience for visitors by creating something entirely different to anything currently available in the Scottish market.
“It’s fantastic to see the response by visitors who have visited the castle in their hundreds of thousands since the reopening of the palace and to be recognised as the UK’s favourite heritage attraction is a huge honour and testament to the hard work of all the team.”
As well as the palace project, the castle also runs events throughout the year which bring other aspects of the castle’s chequered history to life.
“We know that visitors are increasingly looking for value for money and we want to ensure that we offer as competitive a proposition as possible.
“As well as having costumed performers in the palace all year round we also offer activities at the castle for all the family. These range from special children’s activities during the October holidays to our annual Christmas programme and themed events, and Historic Scotland members can benefit from free entry to the castle which includes all of the standalone events throughout the year.
“The castle has witnessed some of most famous events in Scottish history and we want it to be somewhere that visitors return again and again to create new memories.”