Stirling Castle Palace Project - Stirling Castle Tartan

by Asako Maruoka /
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Aug 20, 2009 / 0 comments


Stirling Castle has launched its own exclusive tartan as part of its work towards the 2011 Stirling Castle Palace Project.  2011 will see the royal lodgings within Stirling Castle return to their Renaissance magnificence.  Visitors will be able to see how the king’s and queen’s halls and chambers may have looked in mid-16th century.

The tartan introduction extends the re-brand of Stirling Castle - further strengthening its unique identity and stature as one of Scotland’s most outstanding visitor attractions.  

Unveiled today, the tartan’s colours reflect the castle’s natural environment and rich heritage: green to represent the lush Stirling landscape which the castle overlooks, and gold to convey the ornate detailing and craftsmanship within the castle’s walls, as well as its importance both in Scotland’s history and as a royal residence favoured by our past kings and queens.


stirling castle tartan


Rebecca Hamilton, Historic Scotland Marketing and Media Manager said: “The creation of The Stirling Castle Tartan is an important part of our strategy to towards re-opening the Palace in 2011, and enhancing the Stirling Castle visitor experience as one of Scotland’s leading visitor attractions.”

“Earlier this year we launched the Stirling Castle brand, with its striking unicorn logo, which provides the castle with a memorable and inspirational visual image which embodies its importance and character. The new tartan – with tones of green and gold – complements this and supports the castle’s ‘must see’ status.”

“The property is a first-class attraction.  Our work on this project will see Stirling Castle, as the home of Scotland’s historical royalty and finest Renaissance Palace, provide a very special and wide range of visitor experiences.  Our branding and new tartan have been designed to help bring this to life.”

The distinctive tartan will be a prominent feature at the castle mainly in new uniforms which are being introduced for visitor services staff including stewards, tour guides and ticket office personnel.  It will also be seen across promotional materials, visitor information literature and retail merchandise.

Gillian MacDonald, Stirling Castle Head of Visitor Services and Business Development said:   “This is part of the £12 million project to conserve Stirling Castle’s Royal Palace and present it in its Renaissance glory. When the project is completed in 2011, the overall visitor experience at Stirling Castle will be increased and enhanced.”

In what is the final stage of many years of important conservation and restoration work at Stirling Castle, the Stirling Castle Palace Project involves the conservation and refurbishment of Scotland’s finest Renaissance Palace, and the presentation of the Royal Lodgings as they might have appeared in the heyday of Scotland’s Stewart court. An interpretive display on the court of James V will be created and a Renaissance Gallery will house the original Stirling Heads - a rare group of intricately carved oak ceiling medallions depicting kings, queens, courtiers and mythological creatures.  A cast of costumed interpreters will also bring the 16th century to life.

The Stirling Castle Brand

§     Stirling Castle’s unicorn logo and brand was introduced in February 2009. The castle has many associations with the enigmatic mythological beast.  Unicorns are to be found in and around the stronghold in its stunning ‘Hunt of the Unicorn’ series of hand-woven tapestries, its coat of arms, and on the roof of the Great Hall.   The symbol of the unicorn conveys Renaissance richness, pageantry, and links with royalty. It also represents the marriage of the highly decorative with a feeling of intimacy.

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

- 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.

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:

* 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.