Fancy fighting in a battle, planning a battle strategy and meeting medieval spies, knights and bowmen? Head up to the new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre in the Scottish city of Stirling (an hour's train journey from Edinburgh) and do just that – in a ground-breaking, immersive 3D experience. What was the Battle of Bannockburn? The Battle of Bannockburn, which marks its 700th anniversary this year, was the most famous Scots victory against the English and a pivotal moment in Scottish history. The new visitor centre aims to bring this right back to life. Located a short walk from the actual battlefield where Scotland’s army, led by King Robert the Bruce, triumphed against Edward II’s English army, the experience starts with popping on 3D glasses and watching a film (re-enacted by puppets) of the events that led up to the battle. And if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be right in the middle of a medieval battle, the centre’s ‘Prepare for Battle’ room gives you some insight (thankfully, its less bloody). Using motion capture technology featuring live, authentic fight choreography which, enhanced by the 3D glasses, means you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a real medieval battle. The good news is you won’t get hit by the flying arrows… Meet characters who were really there You'll pick up a few battle techniques and background stories as you move on to the ‘Character Stations’, which depict ten characters from both the Scottish and English armies. Make use of the gesture recognition technology to interact with the characters and, from them, learn more about the weaponry and tactics involved in the battle, as well as the people taking part, their skills, motivations, allegiances and personal stories. Don’t be surprised to find a Scotsman and a Welshman on the English side, as well as a fearsome local alewife and an alluring female spy – the centre wants visitors to understand the diversity of the people who played a part in the legendary two-day battle in 1314. Enter the battle yourself! Watch how the cavalry, infantry and bowmen fight, because it will help when you move into the Battle Room. A Battle Master leads the way and guides you and your fellow visitors as you divide into the English and Scots armies and plot your moves against each other. And it’s anyone’s game; you could feel like you’re rewriting the course of history if your team’s moves mean the English army win! It’s a fascinating couple of hours learning about the intricacies of medieval battle, and just how important it was for the Scots to win this battle. Don’t forget to finish up your visit with a walk up to the Robert the Bruce monument (spruced up in time for the centre’s opening) and take a moment to look around at the fields around you – the fields where this historic battle took place 700 years ago. Bannockburn Live And if you want to experience it for ‘real’? Head back between 28 – 29 June when Bannockburn Live 2014 takes place, the biggest re-enactment to date to take place on the Bannockburn battlefield. Interactive medieval encampments, cultural entertainment including Scottish folk and contemporary music acts, a clan and family village where visitors have the opportunity to trace their Scottish roots, as well as a children’s programme will keep you occupied over the weekend. Tickets for the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre are now available to purchase online up until the end of June; tickets for after this date will be released in April. Click here to read more about Bannockburn Live
Swords at the ready for the Battle of Bannockburn!
Wednesday 18 November 2015