I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we decided to go and see the National Wallace monument in Stirling. We knew it was a huge tower monument erected for Sir William Wallace and overlooks the place where the Battle of Stirling was fought and won. (I didn’t even know there was a battle at Stirling but I believe its in Braveheart too. Probably a movie I should watch again). We decided we couldn’t not see it and, not being quite sure whether we could even go up the tower, we thought we’d pop in anyway and see what happened.
It turns out its a huge tower situated on a hill. We took a bit of a steep walk through a little forest and I was already breathless by the time we got to the front door of the monument, I’m that unfit! There’s a bus you can take too if you’re not feeling up to it but seeing as even our 5 year old was bouncing up the hill, I felt a bit of a wimp taking public transport. The monument has a huge spiral staircase and you can climb straight to the top. It reminded me a lot of the Scott monument in Edinburgh. Its open to the public all the time but the tower itself has regular opening hours and there’s a car park situated right next to the visitors centre (with decent baby changing facilities!). The walk up the hill is buggy friendly on the road but not so much through the forest. If you’re able then its better to carry the baby in a carrier or go on the bus. Be aware that you can’t take your buggy up the monument stairs as they’re so narrow so these would have to be left at the door.
The William Wallace monument has 246 steps and you can stop off for little breaks (or to have a sleep / collapse on the floor) and view all the museum and historical pieces that are on display. We even saw William Wallace’s actual sword and it’s HUGE. I’m pretty sure it’s about my height, not that I’m that tall but he was apparently well over 6 feet in height and I guess could lift it with ease. Even if you’re really unfit it’s well worth going to the top. It gets so narrow the further up you go but the views were beautiful once we’d clambered up there. It was really REALLY blustery though and the barriers are very safe but you still feel a bit like you’ll be blown off the top. We spent a lot of time telling Z to not run about. He didn’t listen of course and had a brilliant time running from pillar to pillar. There’s a beautifully carved dome feature at the tip of the tower and the views of Stirling are stunning, even if a little wet and windy.
The walk down is definitely a lot easier and we found some guides all dressed in period clothing. They are really enthusiastic and its worth joining a group if you can as they take you on a tour of the grounds and through the woods. I’d definitely combine it all with Stirling castle as they’re so close together.
Here are some photos of our visit there….