A HISTORIC Scottish church has announced a new visitor charge in order to secure its financial future.

The Church of the Holy Rude, nestled in the shadow of Stirling Castle, is stepped in more than 900 years of history and is aiming to make itself a must-visit tourist attraction with a new exhibition.

It remains the only active church in Scotland to have witnessed a coronation with James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, being crowned there in 1576.

Ancients relics are also housed within the walls, including the bell that was rung to celebrate Scotland’s victory at Bannockburn.

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The bell was also used to mark Robert the Bruce’s (below) funeral mass as his coffin passed through Stirling on its way to Dunfermline Abbey.

Chair of Stirling District Tourism David Black said: “Our groundbreaking partnership with the Church of the Holy Rude promises to establish a lasting legacy of exceptional visitor experiences, while contributing to the Church’s long-term sustainability and preserving its identity as an iconic place of worship for generations to come.

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“The launch of our first exhibition, alongside a new website and online booking system, marks a significant milestone in this remarkable journey.

“Through interactive displays and captivating narratives, the showcase unveils the untold stories of the church and the historic medieval quarter that surrounds it.

“We hope it will act as a catalyst to attract visitors to the old town, where tales from the past await around every corner.”

Although the Holy Rude was built in the 15th century, the site’s religious significance stretches back to the time of King David I who erected Stirling’s earliest parish church almost 900 years ago.

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The Church of the Holy Rude’s minister reverend Alan Miller said: “The Kirk Session is delighted that we have been able to enter into a new partnership with Stirling District Tourism as a means to securing the future of this beautiful, historic building.

“It is our hope that it will raise the profile of the church, not only as an important visitor attraction, but also as a living place of worship to continue supporting the mission of the Kirk to Stirling and the wider world.”

Susan Ross, project lead for Stirling District Tourism said: "It has been a pleasure to work with the Reverend Alan Miller and members of the Kirk Session at the Church of the Holy Rude over the past year.

"Together, we’ve developed a shared understanding of how we could improve our offering to visitors, so that the Church of the Holy Rude becomes a must-see visitor attraction for locals and tourists alike.

“We’re looking forward to developing our events programme and to partnering with local and international tour operators to raise awareness about this amazing hidden gem.“

Tickets for the exhibition will be priced at £5 for adult and £4 for concessions while those under five will go free.

More information can be found on the website HERE.