U.K. Holiday: April 2017

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Tuesday, April 18 - Doune Castle, and around Stirling

This was a big day. No, really, this is big. Today, we went to Doune and saw Doune Castle. What's the big deal, you ask?? Well, several scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail were filmed at this very castle. This was a sort of pilgrimage for us. Due to the bus schedule, we were able to get up a little later, almost 8:00. Breakfast not rushed, and we were out toward bus stop by 9:30. We had planned to buy tickets at the bus station (it opened at 9, 3 min after desired bus departure) with credit card, but they didn't sell bus tickets at the bus station (!) so we had to buy them with cash anyway on the bus from the driver.

Photos of the bus ride to Doune (11 images)

The ride to Doune was 30 minutes including some stops. We got off and headed toward the castle, and 2 young ladies who had ridden the bus with us asked if we knew the way to the castle - turns out they were from France and we talked with them on the way, Ginger some in French. The castle is not very big, but there is enough to say about the location that an audio guide is included with your entrance ticket. And what's more, the guide is narrated by Terry Jones! Each room had a number and you entered the number to hear information via the audio headset. It specifically had several Monty Python bits that you had to press another button to hear, and it was fascinating to think of the movie scene and know that you're looking at the set, right there, right in front of you! The castle itself was great except for one disappointing thing: construction. The entire wall on one side was covered with scaffolding, as repairs were underway; and the courtyard was blocked off because they said it'd been raining and the grass what waterlogged (?!). Oh well!. So full-view photos were not so pretty, and that section of the tour was closed. But all in all it was great.

Photos of Doune and Doune Castle (45 images)

After castle, we wanted to get a sandwich at a cafe, but the line was long and slow, and we were trying to find the bus stop (we assumed it would go the opposite direction than when we arrived, but it turns out it was the same stop going the same direction). On the way back into Stirling, we got off a few stops before the bus station so we could go to the Holyrude Church. But, it turns out that it was closed - the "normal" hours were only at certain times of the year, not when we were there.

For late lunch, we decided to get sandwiches (and espresso & hot chocolate) from Our Place Cafe in the arcade ("arcade" here is not a place with video games, but rather a hallway with shops on all sides). Then we stopped by the train station to get the next day's ticket to Inverness. Our late lunch fueled us up for an extra bonus: we had done everything we planned, but it was early enough for a trek down the river to Old Stirling Bridge where William Wallace battled the English in 1297. We were able to get some good pictures of the bridge, as well as Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument from a distance.

Photos of walking around Stirling (35 images)

It had been a big day, so we went back to our hotel to relax a bit for an hour or two with a cup of tea, then it was off to dinner at a place called The Fountain, where Ginger got a kebab and Neil got a pizza. Dessert was some chocolate cookies from the regional chain market called Sainsbury's Local.