Clackmannanshire, sometimes nicknamed ‘The Wee County’, may be one of the smallest historic counties in the United Kingdom, but it still boasts an array of historic sites and medieval attractions.
Visitors there can expect to find centuries-old castles and crumbling towers, some of which were visited by Scottish royalty, as they traverse its scenic landscape.
Here are 5 of the best sites to visit in Clackmannanshire.
1. Castle Campbell
This early 15th century structure is one of the best preserved tower house castles in all of Scotland. It was originally known as Castle Glume, but the name was changed after Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll acquired it through his marriage. The building has had many famous historical figures staying between its walls, ranging from Scottish royalty (Mary Queen of Scots) to figures of the English Civil Wart (Cromwell’s lieutenant General Monck).
From the mid 17th century onwards the castle was abandoned, though these days its is open to the public. Visitors can find the structure above the town of Dollar.
2. Menstrie Castle
Found in the village of Menstrie, the castle is an intriguing piece from the mid 16th century. It is best known for being the birthplace of Sir William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, who would establish the colony of Nova Scotia in modern day Canada.
The former noble home has been turned into an Airbnb style hotel.
3. Sauchie Tower
Sauchie Tower has been standing near the village of Fishcross, unchanged since the 15th century. The fortification was built by Sir James Schaw, who belonged to one of the most important families in medieval Scotland. The exterior of the tower may be plain, but the interiors are much more exciting, with elaborate decorations and ornate fireplaces.
Sauchie Tower is open to visitors, though one can enter the building only with a special guided tour during Scottish Archaeology Month and Doors Open Days each year in September.
4. Alloa Tower
Alloa Tower, dating back to the 14th century, is one of the largest of its type in Scotland. The interiors are richly decorated with paintings and antiques acquired by the Erskine family, Earls of Mar. A splendid Italianate staircase was installed in the 18th century.
The site has been open to visitors since 1997.
5. Clackmannan Tower
The last tower on our list was built by a descendant of Robert the Bruce in the 14th century. From 1791 onwards the structure stood abandoned, following the death of the widow of Henry Bruce. Since the 1950s the structure has been managed by Historic Scotland, who have undertaken major restoration works on the tower.
Visitors can explore Clackmannan Tower only by special arrangement and occasionally during Scottish Archaeology Month and Doors Open Days in September.