The Wallace Monument is a 220 ft (67 metre) sandstone tower standing on a volcanic crag above Cambuskenneth Abbey – on the so-called Abbey Craig.
The Monument is visible from far afield and is not difficult to find, two miles to north of Stirling. Architect John Thomas Rochead was responsible for the design of the Monument, adhering to the Victorian Gothic style. Its final cost was £18,000, with construction being finished in 1869.
The Wallace Monument is iconic in the resurgence of a Scottish national identity, constructed following a fundraising campaign in the 19th century.
Legend has it that the Monument stands atop the famous hill where Sir William Wallace – the 13th century war leader – watched the army of King Edward I of England approach across Stirling Bridge before leading the Scots into battle in 1297. The Scots were victorious in the famous Battle of Stirling Bridge – so it is very fitting for the Monument to carry the name of Wallace as a Scots national hero.
It was not only public subscription that raised funds for the construction of the Monument, for private contributions were also received, including a number of foreign donations such as one from Italian leader Giuseppe Garibaldi.
The Wallace Monument is open for those who are interested in climbing the 246 steps of its spiral staircase. There are four levels inside the Monument, with an amazing viewing gallery inside the Monument’s crown. Perfect for photographs, video or just enjoying with your eyes the great views of the Forth Valley and the Ochil Hills, you will find this a great spot. And of course you will also be able to see the city of Stirling, dominated by the beautiful Stirling Castle. On one of the levels inside the Monument there is also a Diorama – an illustration of the geographical layout around the monument marked with important local landmarks and historical battlefields.
On your way up to the Crown you can also find a number of ancient artefacts believed to have belonged to Sir William Wallace, including the famous Wallace Sword. There is huge Hall of Heroes inside of Monument, replete with marble statues of notable Scotsmen – the Hall itself is the result of worldwide financial appeals by custodians in 1885. It is essentially a little national half of fame. There is a 3D simulation in which Wallace appears at his trial at Westminster Hall, telling his own story – the ‘William Wallace Talking Head’.
You have to leave your car beside the foot of the hill and reach the Monument on foot. There is also a minibus service available from the Pavilion Visitor Centre next to the car park.
There is also a wee gift shop and Victorian Tearoom at the Monument.