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Tips for your visit
Much less crowded than the Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle is still one of the Scotland’s most-visited attractions, and at certain periods of the year the hordes of tourists may be rather tiresome.
To get the most of your visit, avoid the month of August: that’s the busiest time of the year at the castle, followed by the month of July. Just to compare: there are almost twice less visitors in June than in August!
May, April and September can be considered as the shoulder season: yes, there will be other visitors and there may form queues sometimes (especially on weekends), but they are manageable overall, and the weather is nice. Starting from October, crowds become less and less of a problem, and December-January is the quietest time of the year.
No matter which time of the year, consider that weekends are always busier, so plan your trip on a weekday whenever it’s possible. During the low season avoiding crowds will not be that of a problem, so think of checking the castle’s events calendar in case some of the events catch your attention.
Anyway, the best time to visit the Stirling Castle is either right at the opening or later in the afternoon, an hour or two before the closing time - that’s when the number of visitors is at the lowest. Keep it in mind especially if you visit the castle in July or August.
Good weather, not surprisingly, brings more visitors to Stirling.
In order to avoid queue at the ticket office, you can buy the Explorer Pass (it will pay out if you plan to see at least the Edinburgh Castle and the Stirling Castle). The Pass gives you free access to 78 attractions in Scotland.
For the visit, allow yourself from one hour (to run around the main highlights) to three hours (to discover the site at normal pace, take a guided tour, etc.) or even more, if you want to check Stirling and the nearby attractions as well.
Opening hours and admission fees
- From April to September: open daily from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm.
- From October to March: open daily from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.
- The Castle is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing day.
- Last ticket sold 45 mins before closing.
- Adult (aged 16-59): £14.50
- Child (aged 5-15): £8.70
- Seniors (aged 60 and over), unemployed: £11.60
- Child (under 5): free.
Free Castle Tour
To discover the Castle, you can join the free guided tour, it’s included in the ticket price to the castle.
Castle tours begin at 10.00 and are every hour, on the hour until 15.00.
Photo credits to Stirling Council via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
By train: Stirling train station is well connected with other Scottish cities. Direct trains go to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness.
By car: Stirling is located around 40 miles from Edinburgh and 31 miles from Glasgow. Parking is available on the castle esplanade.
By air: Edinburgh airport and Glasgow airport are the closest ones to Stirling.