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Preview of new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre offers a glimpse behind the scenes

6 February 2014

With less than a month to go until the opening of the new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs has been given a preview of the attraction.

The highly-anticipated new visitor centre – which is due to open on 1 March, ahead of the 700th anniversary of the battle on 23 and 24 June - uses cutting-edge technology to bring the battle to life for visitors, offering an experience which is unlike any other available in the UK. State-of-the-art installations are used to interpret and explain the events which led up to the battle, and its consequences.

A collaboration between Historic Scotland and The National Trust for Scotland, the Scottish Government has committed £5 million to the project through Historic Scotland, and £4.1 million has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The opening of the centre will form a key part of the Homecoming 2014 celebrations and promises to attract significant visitor numbers to the Stirling area.

Fiona Hyslop was given the opportunity to experience the interactive exhibits and meet the Battlemasters who guide visitors through the attraction. Cutting-edge motion capture technology is used to immerse visitors in a 3D medieval battle, while they are also given the chance to lead a division of soldiers from Robert the Bruce and Edward II’s armies in a dramatic battle simulation.

A massive 3D map of the landscape gives a bird’s-eye view of the battle, showing both the present-day terrain and the land as it was in 1314. Interpretation designers Bright White Ltd were responsible for the concept behind the new experience and battle game. Visitors can even ‘meet’ computer-generated representations of some of the individuals whose lives would have been impacted by the events of 23 and 24 June 1314.DS) and heritage experts from Historic Scotland - worked with The Clanranald Trust for Scotland who have provided combat fighting for over 180 film productions, including Gladiator and Robin Hood, to develop authentic fight choreography. The CDDV also filmed live horses with the guidance of Toby Capwell from the Wallace Collection to develop the equestrian animation.

A range of short 3D films transport the visitor back to 1314, the night before the battle, to witness some of the physical preparations involved in battle and cavalry training, surrounded by 270 degree, massive screens, for a truly immersive experience. This prepares the visitor for the innovative Battle Game, where they can take command of the knights and soldiers who fought in 1314 and pit their wits against their fellow visitors on a virtual battlefield.

Designed by Scottish architecture firm Reiach & Hall, the building takes a sensitive approach to the battlefield site. Careful conservation of existing monuments on the site has been undertaken and the new building adopts a modern interpretation of traditional farm steadings and a large courtyard, bringing the historic and contemporary together in an inventive and dignified way.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “The Battle of Bannockburn was a pivotal event in Scotland’s history and as we approach the 700th anniversary of the battle, I was delighted to be given a preview of the exciting new Bannockburn Visitor Centre. State of the art technology is used to tell the story of the conflict in an informative and engaging manner, revealing the impact it had at both an individual and a national level. The centre is housed in a striking building designed by Reiach and Hall, which enhances the experience for the visitor, reminding us of the value that a sense of ‘place’ has for all of us and the important role that the built environment plays in enriching our lives.”

Sir Kenneth Calman, Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland said: “Our charity is proud to have been charged with the care of this important site since the 1930s. The Trust’s aim is to tell this place’s story with academic accuracy and balance, in the most compelling way we can. We have worked with world-leading experts from a range of disciplines to create this unique experience which is a true testament to their impressive talent and innovation, and which will provide visitors with an unrivalled insight into medieval battle and the events of June 1314.”

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • Scotland welcomes the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games. The Year of Homecoming Scotland will run until 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country. Visitors from around the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland, supported by numerous partners. To find out more visit

  • A new look for 2014: The Battle of Bannockburn project is an exciting partnership between the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund. An innovative new visitor centre and sensitive landscaping will change the way visitors experience Bannockburn, making it a truly world-class site for this defining moment in Scotland’s history. The new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre will use state of the art installations to interpret and explain the circumstances that led up to this pivotal event in our history and its consequences. The Scottish Government has committed £5 million through Historic Scotland, and £4.1 million has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The design team includes:
    • Architectural Team - Reiach and Hall with Sinclair Knight Merz (Engineer), Turner and Townsend (QS) and KJ Tait (M&E Engineers)
    • Interpretation: Concept and Design - Bright White Ltd
    • Landscape Architects - Ian White Associates
    • 3D Media Research, Development and Realisation - Centre for Digital Documentation and  Visualisation (CDDV)
    • Contractors - Mansell Construction Services Ltd

  • The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is internationally recognised as one of  Europe's foremost higher education institutions for creative education and research in fine art, design and architecture. The Digital Design Studio (DDS) is a world leading research and postgraduate centre of the GSA specialising in 3D digital visualisation and interaction technologies,. It combines academic, research and commercial activities. The experts at the Digital Design Studio are currently creating the 3D scans for the widely admired Scottish Ten as a partner in the CDDV. Other areas of DDS research include ground-breaking medical visualization, Marine Visualization and Auralisation and sound.

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For further information

Alice Wyllie
Media and PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768 096