The Wallace Monument
The National Wallace Monument was completed in 1869 after a nationwide design competition. The monument commemorates Sir William Wallace, the Scottish hero who led the Scots in a struggle for independence and led his army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
The monument itself comprises of the main tower and the keeper’s lodge, as it’s at the top of the hill you can get a complimentary minibus to the top (or walk). The lodge now houses a small area with colouring for children and a drinks machine. The ground floor of the tower hosts the gift shop, both the Keeper’s Lodge and gift shop are free to enter.
The Wallace monument tower has three floors with exhibition spaces and then the crown at the very top. To get to the floors you will need to climb up a total of 246 steps, mostly of a narrow spiral staircase. There is just enough room to squeeze over and let other visitors go past in the other direction. Both our boys, aged 3 and 5 managed to walk to the top and back down again all by themselves. Well, we walked with them, I’m not suggesting to send them up all alone!
Hall of Arms
The first floor, The Hall of Arms, tells you some of the history of Scotland that led up to William Wallace’s fame as a Scottish hero. There are maps of the Battle of Stirling Bridge and replica armour. There are a few interactive areas that the boys loved.
Hall of Heroes
On the next floor is the Hall of Heroes. Here there are 14 marble busts and one bronze bust of famous Scottish heroes. These include King Robert The Bruce, Robert Burns, David Livingstone and James Watt. There is also the the feature piece of this room, The Wallace Sword. It’s 1.67 metres tall and must have been hard to wield!
The Royal Chamber
The final exhibition space is The Royal Chamber, which contains many facts and figures about the monument itself. In this space there is also a giant jigsaw and a miniature version of the tower for children to build. This is possibly my eldest’s favourite floor simply for building the tower!
One more set of steps takes you into the open Crown. The architecture up there is amazing and the view in every direction is just stunning! It really is the jewel in the crown… ha!
You can spot the original position of Stirling Bridge and the battleground from the top. Along with other iconic Stirling landmarks such as Stirling Castle.
Votes For Scotland’s Heroines
As mentioned above the Hall of Heroes has a total of 15 busts, all of them male. There has been a vote to find out who should be the first heroine in the hall. The first female bust should be placed in the hall later this year and information about the other heroines will also be available.
There is potential to rearrange the hall in the future to add in further heroines and new heroes too. It’s nice to see some women getting recognition too!
Tales From The Battlefield
Whilst at the monument we were also treated to one of the fantastic performances that are regularly held there. One of the actors was a soldier from the Scottish side and explaining to us Scottish history prior to the battle. Then, whilst talking to us an English soldier appeared, lost and confused to which way he should head. The two soldiers exchanged words and a few insults! It was great to watch and even the children found bits that were funny, although most of it went over their heads I think.
At the end we were all given a chance to hold a replica of the Wallace sword, which is massive. I love this picture of our eldest and his dad with one of the performers and the sword.
If you’re looking for somewhere both informative and fun to visit in the next few months I highly recommend checking out The National Wallace Monument. The Tales From The Battlefield performance will continue to take place throughout certain weekends in April, July, August and September. There are other events throughout the year and on most weekends, so check the website for more details.
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* I received tickets to visit the monument for the purpose of this post, however all opinions are my own