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National Wallace Monument, Stirling


William Wallace

When you think of medieval, sword-wielding Scottish heroes, it's most likely to be William Wallace that you're envisioning in your head. (And if you've seen the 1995 film Braveheart, there's a good chance you are picturing a him as a face-painted Mel Gibson - yes?!)

William Wallace illustration

Born in Elderslie near Paisley in 1270, William Wallace is hailed by many as the greatest of Scots. He was to become the leader of the Scots' resistance against the English occupation at the beginning of the Scottish Wars of Independence. Most famously, he defeated the army of the 'Auld Enemy' at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, but was eventually betrayed and executed in London.

Across Scotland, you'll find many memorials and statues made in his image, as well as monuments erected to commemorate the battles of the Wars of Independence.

Freedom is best, I tell thee true,
of all things to be won.

William Wallace

William Wallace attractions

Scale the 246 steps of the National Wallace Monument to be rewarded with some spectacular views across Stirling and the Trossachs. Built in Victorian times, it's one of Scotland's most iconic landmarks. See the mighty Wallace Sword and learn about how the Battle of Stirling Bridge, 1297, was fought and won.

Explore Roslin Glen Country Park in Midlothian and find Wallace's Cave. The glen is the site of the Battle of Rosslyn 1303. Wallace and the brave Scots defeated a superior English force.

Legend has it that Wallace married his wife Marion Braidfute in St Kentigern's Church in Lanark. The town is also said to have other connections to Wallace, which you can discover at Lanark Museum

Visit St Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen, a place associated with the hero's gruesome end. In London in 1305 he was tried and sentenced to a traitor's death. Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered, and pieces of his body were sent to different parts of the country. His arm is said to be buried within the walls of the church.

Head to Robroyston in Glasgow to Wallace's Well, which is said to be where Wallace enjoyed his last drink as a free man before he was betrayed and captured by English soldiers at a nearby farmhouse in 1305. The Wallace Monument, a 20ft high granite Celtic Cross near Robroyston Road, was built in 1900 at the said nearby farmhouse to honour and commemorate Wallace for his bravery and dedication.

In the city centre, near the Necropolis, the Bell o'the Brae in the High Street recognises the Battle of the Bell o'the Brae when, in 1297, Wallace rode from Ayr to Glasgow with 300 horsemen to bravely defend the city against its English invaders.

In 2016, a new William Wallace monument which commemorates the battle was erected near the Necropolis, as it is close to the spot where Wallace took over Glasgow Castle after defeating an English garrison of 1,000 men.