Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland and indeed Western Europe. The Castle sits atop the Castle Hill, a volcanic crag, and is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, making it easily defensible. This fact, and its strategic position, have made it an important fortification from the earliest times. The Castle is a national monument, and is managed by Historic Scotland (entrance charge).
Most of the principal buildings of the Castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A few structures of the fourteenth century remain, while the outer defences fronting the town date from the early eighteenth century.