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Stirling Castle Christmas shopping night

19 November 2008

Enjoy a special Christmas shopping night at Stirling Castle plus a free chance to see a magnificent hand woven tapestry.

The clan shop on the esplanade and main gift shop within the castle walls will be open on Thursday, 4 December from 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm.

It’s a great chance to pick up some special gifts while enjoying a the atmosphere of one of Scotland’s greatest castles.

Options include ceramics, books, malt whiskies, jewellery and toys – many from exclusive Historic Scotland ranges.

The Chapel Royal will be specially opened for the occasion so shoppers can take a look at the latest of the Stirling Tapestries – entitled The Unicorn is Found.

It is the fourth of seven which have been specially commissioned in a £2 million project to recreate tapestries like those that would have hung on the walls of the castle’s royal palace.

Drinks and light refreshments will also be offered to those who come along and there will be a free gift wrapping service.

Gillian MacDonald, Stirling Castle manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer people the chance to have some fun while they do some Christmas shopping.

“They will be able to enjoy a complimentary drink and take the opportunity to visit the Chapel Royal and see the latest of the Stirling tapestries, just days after it goes on public display.”

Among the goods on sale will be a whole range inspired by the tapestries.

The last of the tapestries will be completed in 2013. They are new versions of a surviving medieval set belonging to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

They will eventually go on permanent display inside the castle’s royal palace which is currently being returned to how it might have looked in the mid-16th century.


The shopping evening

  • Stirling Castle is at the head of Stirling’s old town, off the M9 at junction 9 or 10. Parking will be free on the shopping evening.

  • The evening opening will be for the Clan Shop on the esplanade and the main gift shop inside the castle walls.

  • Warm clothes are recommended in case of rain and cold weather.

  • The tapestry

  • The Hunt of the Unicorn series tells a story that would have been familiar to people throughout medieval Europe. It involves the hunting and slaying of a unicorn in order to obtain its horn, which possessed mystical powers of purification. However, the unicorn is then restored to life. The story could be understood on two levels – as a tale of courtly love and a woman’s capture of a man’s heart – or as an allegory for the death and resurrection of Christ.

  • The Unicorn is Found shows the critical moment at which the hunters discover their prey. When found it is kneeling to dip its horn in a poisoned burn, thereby purifying the waters. Exotic birds and animals wait patiently for the magic to work so they can then drink the waters.

  • There was particular symbolism linked to the animals depicted. Among them is the lion, admired for its valour, and the stag which was respected for the way it protected its own kind from danger and was a destroyer of dangerous serpents.

  • The tapestries are being woven by experts from the West Dean Tapestry Studio, West Dean College, West Sussex. Some are being created at the college and others at the castle.

  • For more about the tapestry project visit our website at

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.

For further information

Laura Varney
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959 or 07769 630 763