Last week the five of us headed a couple of hundred miles north for a week away. We had booked a beautiful property a few miles outside of Stirling in a place called Kippan. Whilst we were away we had a range of things we wanted to do, including visiting Stirling castle.
Whilst looking for something to do on our first full day, a Sunday, we happened across the small town of Doune where there was a castle located. We headed there on a glorious summer’s morning and parked in the centre of the town and had a stroll around. We headed up to the castle, which is a short walk away and decided to have a wander around.
The castle itself is easily accessed on foot but also has a generously sized car park if you wish to park closer. There are some toilets outside which we made us of before heading across and into the castle. The castle itself is well preserved and when we were there, there was some work being undertaken, hence the scaffolding that can be seen on some of my images.
You go across what would have been the drawbridge and to the right there is a small room which sells some small gifts and where you can purchase tickets. At the time of our visit (July 2018) adult tickets were £6 and children (5-16 years) are £3.60 Children under five years are free. The lady at the ticket desk was really helpful and told us about an explorer pass that would allow us to visit Historic Scotland properties on three out of five days. I think this ticket was £62 and it certainly worked out cheaper for us as we also visited Stirling Castle and Inchmahome Priory.
There is an option to take a free audio tour which we opted to do; I had planned to share my headset with Harry, but he had other ideas!
Despite the weather being fabulous, Doune Castle didn’t feel too busy. There were people milling around taking in the surroundings and listening to the audio guides. The castle is in wonderful condition despite its age and we all thoroughly enjoyed walking around and learning about the different parts of the castle. Daniel has an on and off fascination with castles and there are a few books he frequently flicks through so it was nice for him to be able to see some of the places he has read about.
We had a wander up the winding stairs and into what would have been the chambers for various people as well as the halls and taking note of the large fireplaces and the chapel. The audio guide is superb and is narrated by the actor Terry Jones and is really simple to use – both Emma and Daniel enjoyed spotting the points in the castle where there was something to listen to and Daniel certainly was taking it all in as he was able to tell me about the various things he was seeing. It is always breathtaking to gaze out of the windows of castles, wondering about the things that would have gone on below you in years gone by.
When we headed back down to the court year we encountered a lady who was in historical dress. She rather gallantly tried to engage Daniel and Emma but Daniel hates anything like that so promptly disappeared to sit away. Harry, however, joined in with the game of tug of war! She was fantastic at bringing the castle and the story of its inhabitants to life.
The castle is near to the River Teith and there is space to walk around the outskirts and along the path of the river if you so wish.
The walk back into Doune itself is pleasant and the town offers some cafes and places to grab a bite to eat if you so wish. It’s also really well located to head on to a second property on the explorer pass.