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Stirling Castle Launches a Brand New Image

1 April 2009

New unicorn logo symbolises historical home of Scottish royalty.

Stirling Castle now has a striking new brand identity to raise its profile as one of Scotland’s premier visitor attractions and further develop its tourism business.

The creation of the Stirling Castle brand is part of the £12 million Stirling Castle Palace Project which will see the royal lodgings at Stirling Castle returned to the Renaissance magnificence of the mid 16th century.

The stunning stronghold’s unique identity conveys both its character and significance in Scottish history.  

The exclusive, striking logo contains references to Scotland’s coat of arms, the unicorn tapestries and the sculptures on Stirling Castle’s Great Hall roof.  The unicorn, the enigmatic mythological beast, features throughout Stirling Castle.  The new mark also takes its shape from the famous circular wood-carved Stirling heads.  Its references and complex detail are emblematic of pageantry and royal status, and features Stirling Castle sitting high up in its green and leafy setting.

Historic Scotland Marketing and Media Manager Rebecca Hamilton said: “This new logo we have created conveys a sense of depth, experience, royal authority, richness and intimacy.  Marrying the highly decorative with an intimate experience is very apt for Stirling Castle.  

“Our aim was to create a distinctive, memorable and stronger visual identity which embodies the special importance and character of Stirling Castle.  It is a truly outstanding attraction with a range of visitor experiences.  And the completion of the Stirling Castle Palace Project in 2011 will see the visitor experience enhanced further.”

The logo will be phased in at the attraction for a wide variety of uses including signage, vehicle livery, staff uniforms, publications for visitors, and interpretation of the castle’s history, as well as in Historic Scotland’s website details on the site.

The Stirling Castle Palace Project

The Stirling Castle Palace Project involves the conservation and refurbishment of the Royal Lodgings to present them as they might have appeared in the heyday of Scotland’s Stewart court in the mid 16th century. Extensive historical and archaeological research has been carried out to ensure the interior decoration, as well as the materials and craftsmanship used, are as authentic as possible.  

An interpretive display on the court of James V will be created in the palace vaults and a Renaissance Gallery on the upper floors of the palace will house the original Stirling Heads, a rare group of intricately carved oak ceiling medallions depicting kings, queens, courtiers and mythological creatures.  Costumed interpreters will bring the rich history of the 16th century to life to enrich visitors’ enjoyment.

Chris Watkins, head of Historic Scotland’s major projects team, said: “The Stirling Castle Palace Project will not only conserve the palace as a monument of international importance but also present and interpret the magnificence of the royal lodgings, the superb Renaissance carvings and the life of the royal court.

“The project will enable us to maximise the appeal of Scotland’s finest Renaissance palace and encourage more people to visit both the castle and the city of Stirling.  And the creation of the Stirling Castle brand, with its distinctive new logo, will play a very important part in helping us promote and project all that this wonderful attraction stands for and offers.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Stirling Castle Brand

  • The only logo which has been used until now at Stirling Castle has been that of Historic Scotland, which is responsible for the property. The new brand identity gives Stirling distinction in recognition of its status as a premier Scottish visitor attraction and one of the most important of Historic Scotland’s portfolio of Properties in Care.

  • The two companies which worked in partnership with Historic Scotland on the development of the brand identity and logo were Inverleith agency The Union, which is contracted to handle Historic Scotland’s advertising and marketing, and London-based consultancy Corporate Edge, a leading international destination branding specialist with clients including VisitBritain, Shetland, Jersey, Isle of White, New Zealand, and Durrat al Bahrain.

Historic Scotland

  • Stirling Castle is one of 345 heritage properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland.  Ranging from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings, these include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country. Among the most popular are Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Skara Brae, and the Border Abbeys.  (For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places )

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

  • 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.

Stirling Castle

  • Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s grandest castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. From the castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views over two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town, off M9 junction 9 or 10. Tel: 01786 450000. Admission: Adult £8.50; Child £4.25; Concessions £6.50 (includes admission to Argyll’s Lodging).

The Stirling Castle Project

  • The Stirling Castle Project has seen major conservation work over many years to preserve the castle as a major national and international monument. Both the castle and its palace fell into disrepair in the 17th century but refitting for military use ensured that some parts remained in good condition as the army often covered up, rather than removed, original features. The castle ceased being a military depot in 1964. It later became a paid-for visitor attraction but many of the buildings were largely bare and there was little in the way of exhibits or information. In 1991 Historic Scotland put forward proposals for a multi-phase project to turn the castle into a world-class visitor attraction. Achievements to date include the: return of the Great Hall to how it appeared in the days of the Stewart kings and queens; new shop and ticketing facilities; provision of education rooms; addition of the tapestry studio; return of the Great Kitchens to how they might have been in the Middle Ages; refurbishment of the Chapel Royal; creation of a modern café; conservation and maintenance of all areas of the castle.

The Royal Palace at Stirling

  • The Royal Palace is one of the most prominent buildings within the castle walls. With magnificent facades, it is quadrangular in design with a central courtyard. The palace’s designer was probably one of several French master masons in James V’s employment and the building is of outstanding interest as an example of royal planning and the increasingly sophisticated protocol of courtly life. Recent years have seen parts of the palace closed for a major programme of archaeological research – the largest of its kind on a building in Scotland. At present the royal lodgings, on the ground floor, have been stripped of cementicious plaster to conserve the historic fabric and exposed the underlying archaeology of the building. The first floor is largely unused at present. Its fittings are much as they were when the army departed and, in some cases, date back to the 18th century. The interior will be kept intact when this area is transformed into the Renaissance Gallery. The vaults contain exhibits about life at Stirling’s royal court and these will be upgraded.

The Stirling Palace Project

The Stirling Palace Project highlights include the:

  • conservation of the Queen’s Outer Hall, Queen’s Inner Hall and Queen’s Bed Chamber so they are fully decorated and furnished in mid-16th century style;

  • re-presentation of the King’s Outer Hall, King’s Inner Hall and King’s Bed Chamber as splendidly decorated, but unfurnished lodgings – as it is believed they were after the death of James V;

  • costumed interpreters who will help bring the past of the palace to life for visitors;

  • creation of a Renaissance Gallery on the upper floor of the palace, where the original Stirling Heads will be displayed;

  • displays and exhibits in the Renaissance Gallery allowing visitors to find out about Scotland’s place in Renaissance Europe and the story behind the splendid stone statuary on the outside of the palace;

  • updating of exhibitions about the lives of courtiers, including jesters and  musicians, in the palace vaults;

  • modernisation of the introductory display, telling the story of Stirling Castle throughout the ages, in the Queen Anne casemates.

For further information


Rebecca Hamilton
Marketing and Media Manager
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8685 / 07788 923871
rebecca.hamilton@scotland.gsi.gov.uk