Castle recaptured

28th October 2011 at 01:00
pound;12m revamp of palace at Stirling Castle makes a day out for schools that is fit for a king

Thousands of children have been experiencing the richness of 16th- century royal life at the newly revamped Renaissance palace in Stirling Castle.

More than 50,000 people visited the castle in the month following the opening of the pound;12 million project, which allows visitors to step back in time to the "sumptuous" world of James V's palace.

Costumed performers playing everyone from ladies in waiting to Mary of Guise, the king's wife, re-enact daily life at the palace, which was the childhood home of Mary of Guise's daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.

The building is regarded as one of the finest and best-preserved examples of Renaissance architecture in the UK.

Interactive activities cater for younger children while the newly refurbished royal apartments have proved particularly fascinating to people of all ages.

A spokesman for Historic Scotland, which manages the heritage attraction, said: "The decoration of the palace's six main rooms is overwhelmingly colourful, rich and elaborate. James and his French wife Mary of Guise aimed to present themselves as wealthy, learned and sophisticated.

"The decorative style belongs to the Renaissance - a great flowering in arts, literature and philosophy that revolutionised Europe in the 1400s and 1500s. Bright colours, expensive fabrics and ornate patterns were essential elements.

"But this was not flamboyance for its own sake. The decorative scheme was filled with messages about power, prosperity and plenty."

The renovation of the palace is the result of years of research by a team of archaeologists, historians, other scholars and skilled craftsmen to ensure that every detail is authentic.

There were 50,196 visitors in June this year after the palace opened, an increase of 15 per cent on the previous June.

July also showed a rise in footfall with 72,573 visitors, up 13 per cent on the year before when there were 64,371 visitors.

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