Old Town Jail

Top choice in Stirling

This impressive Victorian prison building lay derelict from the 1960s until 2015, when it was reopened as a visitor attraction. Costumed guides lead tours around the former prison cells and up to the top of the observation tower, recounting gruesome tales of prisoners, punishments and executions along with fascinating facts about Stirling's history. Tours depart every 30 minutes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Stirling attractions

1. Cowane's Hospital

0.05 MILES

Cowane’s Hospital was built as an almshouse in 1637 by the merchant John Cowane. It has been closed since 2015, but there are plans to restore the…

2. Church of the Holy Rude

0.06 MILES

The Church of the Holy Rude has been the town’s parish church for 600 years; the infant James VI was crowned here in 1567, making it the only British…

3. Tolbooth

0.08 MILES

The Tolbooth, built in 1705 as the town's administrative centre, is now an arts venue.

4. Mercat Cross

0.09 MILES

The Mercat Cross is topped with a unicorn (known as the 'Puggie'), and was once the focus of a bustling market.

5. Mar's Wark


Mar's Wark (wark is an old Scots word for 'building') is the ornate facade of a Renaissance town house commissioned in 1569 by the wealthy earl of Mar,…

6. Smith Art Gallery & Museum

0.11 MILES

Oswald the museum cat greets visitors to this treasure trove of local history, which tells the story of Stirling from prehistoric to modern times. The…

7. Argyll's Lodging

0.15 MILES

This elegant building is Scotland's most impressive 17th-century town house, built for a wealthy local merchant and later acquired by the Earl of Argyll…

8. Stirling Castle


Hold Stirling and you control Scotland. This maxim has ensured that a fortress of some kind has existed here since prehistoric times. You cannot help…