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Question about Stirling Castle on RS Best of Scotland Tour

I have taken a number of tours including RS tours. It is difficult/impossible to describe everything you see and do on a tour. I have a free day in Edinburgh and am thinking about a day tour (don't feel like renting a car for one day.) One tour of interest is the "Scottish Independence Tour" which includes these highlights: Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, The Wallace Monument, Bannockburn Battlefield, Falkirk Battlefield, and Dunfermline Abbey (Tomb of King Robert the Bruce). My question, if you have taken the RS Best of Scotland Tour: I know the tour goes to Stirling Castle, does it stop (even briefly) at any of the other listed sights? TIA

Posted by
5678 posts

It looks to me like they do go to Stirling Castle. That' probably the biggest attraction of the tour you've described. You might want to look into a tour to the Borders. The Rick Steves Tour doesn't cover that at all. It looks like Rabbies goes to Roslyn. Or you could find out about this tour to Alnick Castle. It looks like Go Scotland has several different tours.

You could email the Tourist Information Centre for Edinburgh and ask them about day tours.

Pam

Posted by
1068 posts

Thanks for your reply. Have you taken the RS Best of Scotland Tour? Again, I ask because in the past, on other tours, we did things that were close to items described in the itinerary (such as visiting extra sights at the D-Day Normandy Beaches) but were not specifically listed. I have a day tour in mind, the "Scottish Independence Tour" which goes to the sights I listed in my OP but I was wondering about the amount of overlap (if any) beyond Stirling Castle itself.

Posted by
5678 posts

I haven't done that tour, so I can't speak to the extras. But they list going to Stirling and that really is the biggest site on your list. The Wallace Monument is a tall tower that you can go up and has great views, but you do see very close to that view from Stirling Castle. There is a small museum which is mostly about the battle of Stirling Bridge.

Linlithgow, is a royal palace and is good palace, but is a ruin. It's got a lovely fountain. The view here makes it look more together than it is. :) It's very easy to get to Linlithgow by train if you decide that you really want to see it.

Bannockburn Battlefield might be visited on the tour. If you don't hear from someone who has taken the tour, I would ask the Rick Steves Tour Department. I found that they are very helpful about this type of question. When I went decades ago the site was pretty much just a statue of Bruce overlooking the battlefield, but they since then they have built a good visitor's centre.

I've not been to the Falkirk Battlefield so I can't comment on it.

I did visit Dunfermline Abbey. The same day I went there I visited Culross which I thought was much more impressive. Maybe I had been to one too many castles by that time. :)

Pam

Posted by
1068 posts

Many thanks. Appreciate the information.

Posted by
610 posts

We did not stop at any other place on your list on the Scotland tour in 2014.

Posted by
1068 posts

Thanks. I think the Scottish Independence Tour is sounding pretty good now.

Posted by
117 posts

Of all the places we visited in the UK, on two, month-long trips in 2013 & 2014, Stirling Castle is the one place we left before looking at everything. Way too "Disneyfied" for our tastes. It just wasn't our cup of tea.

On the other hand, we LOVED Linlithgow Palace!

Visiting the grave of Rob Roy MacGregor, in the cemetery of Balquhidder's Parish Church, was quite lovely. Nobody else was there, just the sound of birds and the feel of being in a special place used for thousands of years..

Posted by
5678 posts

Wow, Leslie, that's a pity. There was tremendous research done to restore the Renaissance Palace, the Great Hall and the Chapel. I first saw the Chapel in the 70's and was bowled over by it. I saw the Great Hall much later on and wandered through the Palace while it was in the process of being restored. I think you're a bit harsh condemnation. Disneyfication implies some thing that is not authentic. I think that they have done all that they can to ensure that Stirling Castle is authentic.

Posted by
1068 posts

Well, I'm pretty sure I will get to make up my own mind about Stirling! And thanks for the additional information.

Posted by
117 posts

Just our personal opinions! I didn't tell the OP not to visit. I just said we were not impressed.

Stirling was the ONLY place we didn't like in 2 months of travel in England, Scotland & Wales. I think that is pretty amazing!

OP, have a wonderful time on your trip!

Posted by
1068 posts

Thanks, I think it will be great. In my one "free" day in Scotland, I decided on the "Scottish Independence Tour." As I will have seen Stirling Castle on the RS tour, I sure hope I like it! As a history buff I have enjoyed being awed by empty fields where battles have been fought so Bannockburn and Falkirk will no doubt have the same affect. The other sights on the independence tour will be gravy. It was great to get the information.

Posted by
1657 posts

Leslie, out of interest, what was it about Stirling you thought was Disneyfied? Taste is personal so this is not a criticism. As Pamela says Historic Scotland have poured a lot of money and effort to restore Stirling Castle to what it was, or as close as possible to what it was, during the reigns of James IV and James V.

Posted by
9 posts

Nobody has mentioned the Falkirk Wheel...our B & B host told us to go, we didn't ride the canal boat, just watched the wheel lifting one up...it was great! (also loved Stirling Castle and the cemetery behind it) Not Disney at all! There's also Doune Castle, very close, Monte Python filmed Holy Grail there, but even if you don't care about that, it was very nice and gave a real homey feel in a castle!

Posted by
9 posts

Nobody has mentioned the Falkirk Wheel...our B & B host told us to go, we didn't ride the canal boat, just watched the wheel lifting one up...it was great! (also loved Stirling Castle and the cemetery behind it not Disney at all! ) There's also Doune Castle, very close, Monte Python filmed Holy Grail there, but even if you don't care about that, it was very nice and gave a real homey feel in a castle!

Posted by
1068 posts

As I prefer not do drive overseas (had a few adventures with that!) I will be limited to where they go on the Scottish Independence Tour. I only have the one free day and that will show me a lot of areas I know about and want to see (Bannockburn) and some sights I didn't really consider. As a history buff I'm pretty sure it will be a cool day for me. Everyone's help was much appreciated.