A Visit To Alloa Tower

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

On a recent wet day we decided that we needed to get out the house and visit somewhere.  After consulting our National Trust for Scotland booklet I chose Alloa Tower for a little exploration.

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

Alloa Tower dates back to the 1300’s, although there were many alterations and additions in later years.  A mansion house was added to the tower in the late 17th century, but unfortunately burned down in the 1800’s, leaving just the solid construction of the tower standing.  The building has been renovated to as it would have been around 1712.

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

The tower was the home of the Erskine family, who were at one time the custodians of Mary, Queen of Scots as a young child.  They also took part in the Jacobite uprising, with various evidence throughout the house, including paintings lent to the tower by the present Earl.

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

As with most National Trust for Scotland buildings there is no photography allowed inside, which I didn’t realise until I was asked not to take a photo of the boys on the sweeping staircase in the tower.  Lesson learnt and I know not to take photos inside now!

On the ground floor you will also find a small circular hole (covered with glass) which is a pit dungeon, as in there is no other entrance aside the top hole!  Apparently the dungeon may pre-date the building, although I’m pretty sure the skeleton is fake…  From here you can follow the sweeping staircase up to the next floor where there are several portraits of interest.  Above the staircase there is a well located in the wall of the tower, which was probably bricked up during later renovations of the tower.

At the back of the first floor you can find a narrow spiral staircase which takes you up to another room where you can find many items from the Erskine family’s daily lives including silverware, a square piano and bedwarmers.

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

Back up the spiral stairs again and you will find the solar room, which has a spectacular vaulted roof and large bay windows with great views out over the town and nearby countryside.  Here there is a small model of what the 6th Earl of Mar intended to add to the building, including (rather bizarrely) a roof top fish tank, which he decided against.  One of the reasons he wanted to incorporate the fish tank was for the large supply of water to be available if there was a fire, which ironically there was!  At the top of the building you can walk around the tower admiring the view and spotting nearby landmarks including other similar medieval towers.

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

Outside the tower you can race around the grass and have a picnic, a lovely little area to let the kids let off some steam after being so careful in the tower itself!

Alloa Tower National Trust for Scotland

Do you enjoy visiting old towers and castles?

J x


  1. September 10, 2016 / 9:16 am

    Oh this looks fab! It’s a shame you weren’t allowed to take photos inside but I always think the outside of a tower is the impressive bit anyway.

  2. September 14, 2016 / 7:05 am

    This looks great! It seems the kids enjoyed it too which is a bonus! #Whatevertheweatherkids

  3. September 14, 2016 / 9:04 am

    Castles are great fun for the kids. Looks like they had a good time! I’m looking forward to when my Little Bear is big enough to start appreciating these places

  4. September 14, 2016 / 9:13 am

    I love the plan for a rooftop fishtank – how random! But how awful that there actually was a fire! I’ve found the no photography rule more and more inside National Trust places – and then I get out and see all over Instagram everyone’s photos of the inside, so it’s obviously not as strictly enforced in England! #WhatevertheWeather

  5. September 14, 2016 / 11:57 am

    What a fabulous place to explore, our family love old castles so I’m sure my kids would love this one. #whatevertheweather

  6. September 14, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    Love a good Castle visit and this tower is so impressive, looks like you had a great time! Xx

  7. September 14, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    Oooh I never knew you weren’t allowed to take photos inside NT places either. You learn something new every day! Over the summer, we took our 5yo to a castle for the first time and she absolutely loved it! She thought it was so exciting being in a real life castle. But she also kept asking when she could meet the princess who lived there! LOL. #whatevertheweather

  8. September 14, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    Wonderful place to explore. Castles are so interesting. Looks like you all had a good time. #Whatevertheweather

  9. September 14, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    I didn’t realise that you couldn’t take photos inside national trust buildings. I am getting married in one next year so I do hope we can take photos then. I love exploring old buildings. We are lucky to live in castle country (Wales) We are trying to visit them all here!
    Also your son has the best curly hair!

  10. September 14, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    This place looks beautiful, I love visiting castles and towers and ruins. I had no idea about the no photos thing, will have to bear that in mind for the future.

  11. September 15, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Sounds like a great place to visit with little ones. Looks like just the right size – not too big and not too small!

  12. September 15, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    We certainly do and did so while in France. Thanks for sharing and hosting. #Whatevertheweather

  13. September 15, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Hmmm, a fish tank on the rooftop? My boys would be all over that idea, though I would think snow would be an issue! It looks like a lovely visit.

  14. September 16, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    Every place in Scotland is just so magical! We stopped at so many National Trust locations on our trip and each one was amazing. It looks like your littles had a great time! #WhateverTheWeather

  15. September 16, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    We love a good romp around old buildings like this, the kids’ favourite activity is always to climb to the highest point and pretend to be fierce warriors on the battlements 🙂 A rooftop fish tank – what else would you plan for a castle’s finishing touch?! #whatevertheweather

  16. September 18, 2016 / 8:46 pm

    I love a good historical building-there’s always so many stories to discover. Castles and towers are always fascinating, and great fun for kids to explore. #whatevertheweather

  17. September 21, 2016 / 4:54 pm

    I am very proud to manage this stunning property.
    Please see below regarding photography.
    Thank you

    The Trust welcomes photography for personal purposes in the grounds of all its properties, but for reasons of lender restrictions and security, we regret that, at present, we cannot allow photography or filming inside our historic buildings. For images of our properties, please contact the Trust’s Photo Library.
    For a small number of properties, where there are no current loaned item restrictions, we are currently trialling a revised photography policy. At the property manager’s discretion, photography may be permitted in the interiors of these properties. These properties include:

    The Bachelors’ Club, Gladstone’s Land, The Georgian House, Greenbank, Hill of Tarvit, Robert Smail’s, Moirlanich Longhouse, Souter Johnnie’s, The Tenement House, Threave, and Weaver’s Cottage.

    Picture researchers and buyers can purchase a particular image or range of images from the online Image Database.

    • September 21, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      Thank you very much for clarifying why photography is restricted in most properties. I will hopefully to get to some of those you listed as well, great to know I can take photos in those. I’m especially looking forward to going to Robert Smail’s. Thank you! 🙂

      • September 21, 2016 / 9:55 pm

        You are welcome Jenny 🙂

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