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Thousands flock to Stirling Castle's royal palace grand opening weekend

6 June 2011

Around 5,000 visitors flocked to the grand opening weekend celebrations for Stirling Castle’s Renaissance royal palace.

More than 60 costumed performers put on a range of displays and entertainments covering everything from cannon firing and fighting with a rapier to 16th-century dance, music, cooking, fashions, makeup and midwifery.

But the centrepiece of the weekend was the chance to explore the beautifully refurbished interiors of six royal apartments in the palace building which was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots and her mother, Mary of Guise.

Visitors also met the two Marys, played by Catriona Glennie (5) from Law in South Lanarkshire and Carnoustie actress Angela Branney (22).

Historic Scotland’s palace project has involved an investment of £12 million.

While the return of the apartments to how they may have looked in the 1540s was the centrepiece of the project, it has also included the creation of a new exhibitions and interactive displays and the modernisation of three shops.

Gillian Macdonald, Stirling Castle Executive Manager, said: “The weekend was everything we’d hoped for, with lots of visitors coming to admire the palace and enjoy some great entertainment.

“The public reaction to the palace was excellent and we hope this event will help spread the word about what a brilliant day out you can have at Stirling Castle.”

In addition to the weekend visitors a further 700 people attended special previews for Historic Scotland members, local residents, stakeholders and the media.

Notes for editors:

  • For all the latest on the palace project, and everything else that happening at Stirling Castle, visit our website at and sign up for our free e-newsletter.
  • Stirling Castle is at the top of Stirling Old Town off the M9 at junction 9 or 10. Call 01786 450000

  • Historic Scotland has 345 historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:  

  • Historic Scotland’s Mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information

Matthew Shelley
07786 704 299 or 01786 431 325