When it comes to historical sites in Scotland, The National Wallace Monument has to be one of the most famous. Standing on the shoulder of the Abbey Craig in Stirling, is a 220ft sandstone tower commemorating Sir William Wallace, one of Scotland’s favourite sons.
Having lived in the Central Belt of Scotland for most of my life, I am ashamed to say that until last weekend I hadn’t visited The National Wallace Monument. Only a 30 minute drive from Glasgow or an hour from Edinburgh the monument is part of Scotland’s history that should never be missed or forgotten.
Upon arrival at the lower guest information centre you have the option of taking the free shuttle bus to the top of the Abbey Craig to the monument, or you can wander up the scenic Wallace Way. Despite the weather being miserable I decided to walk up to the monument and found that the Wallace Way is littered with historical facts and stunning woodcarvings which mark these points in history.
After the 15-20 minute walk I arrived at the foot of the stunning sandstone monument with stunning views of Stirling in the foreground and The Ochil Hills in the background.
The foundations of The National Wallace Monument were originally laid back in 1861 and the tower itself was designed by the Edinburgh Born architect J.T. Rochead and was finally completed in 1869.
You might wonder why Stirling was chosen as the home of such a monument and legend has it that the original plan was to build it in Glasgow which led to protests from residents of Edinburgh so in order to compromise the monument was build in the location of Stirling.
Now don’t be expecting a quick trip to the top and back down, you will have to navigate up the monuments stunning spiral staircase, featuring 246 steps. Fear not there are 3 stop off locations on your way up the tower, The Hall of Arms, The Hall of Heroes and The Royal Chamber which all have their own brilliant history lessons and include artefacts like The Wallace Sword. Upon leaving the Royal Chamber you only have a few more steps until you reach The Crown where it’s time to get your camera’s primed and ready.
After carefully negotiating your way down all 246 steps you will find a Scottish themed gift shop complete with Braveheart DVD (A must see). I was lucky that on the day I visited I was able to watch “A Battle Won”, a re-enactment of The Battle of Stirling Bridge (1927) by costumed actors who bring the historical figures and fact of this battle back to life. Find out more about the events programme at The National Wallace Monument here.
After all that walking it is possible that you may need to refuel, and the Legends Coffee House at the bottom information centre is the place to do exactly that.
Exploring more of Scotland is something I want to do more of in 2018 and visiting The National Wallace Monument ticked all the boxes. I would fully recommend a visit to one of Scotland’s most visited and stunning sites.
You can find out the prices and opening times of The National Wallace Monument here.
Many thanks to The National Wallace Monument staff for a lovely day.
*I was given complimentary access to The National Wallace Monument for review purposes! All thoughts and photography are my own.