Monday, July 25, 2011

Stirling Castle - The Refurbished Royal Apartments

my little prince

Sunday is brunch day - a leisurely waking up and wifi morning of coffee, pastries and comics. We prepared ourselves to face the day from a very comfortable booth at the Burgh Coffee Shop at the bottom of King Street in Stirling. Although it seemed a shame to sit inside on such a golden morning, there was enough of a breeze to make life a little nippy. A better selection of pastries or morning goods would have worked too btw but the teas, coffee, wifi were gorgeous.

studious visitor

Once fully woken we strolled up to Stirling Castle to visit the newly refurbished royal apartments and view the Stirling Heads in situ. We were not disappointed - at all.

Last time Wee Guy and I visited the castle, the royal apartments were strewn with rubble, grey, dusty and dank. Now they have been restored to full (imagined) splendour and furnished according to the period (mid 1500's since you ask). After a lifetime of (enforced) surveying of grey ancient ruins, the colourful spectacle of this renaissance home decor is a welcome sight. No more dreary grey stonework! Welcome simple whitewashed plaster covered with birght friezes and intricate tapestries. The re-created "Hunt of the Unicorn" wall hangings have left their temporary home in the chapel and now line the walls of the queen's chambers. The King's chambers are similarly renovated but instead are now home to modern re-workings of the famous Stirling Heads, a series of carved wooden ceiling bosses which now glow from on high in bright and vibrant period colours. The original bosses, now almost 500 years old, are on display in one of the castle galleries where visitors can take a closer look at the detail in each carving.

Stirling Heads

But it's not all just for boring adults - Wee Guy enjoyed the kids' zone in the vaults beneath the royal apartments where he could play period instruments (all strangely sticky ...) and learn about being a jester. He also joined in on a knight's training session and learned how to defeat a dragon while Aunty B and I could only marvel at the prominence of the codpieces on show :)

knihgts in training

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