New Bannockburn Heritage Centre for 2014

The new-look Bannockburn Centre

The new-look Bannockburn Centre

This is an artists impression of what the site will look like when the centre is opened for the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn in 2014. The Heritage Centre is currently a rather dreary building sat directly on the main road. Later this year it will close for the last time, and then be demolished. It’s an exciting and adventurous venture bringing the interpretation of one of Scotland’s most important battles into the 21st Century. The new centre will offer a truly interactive experience, where cutting-edge technology will bring the battle to life before your eyes. The National Trust website says they are working to create the most remarkable interactive presentation seen in this country.

Property Manager Scott McMaster said:
“The centre has been at the heart of Bannockburn for a long time and has served it well. Our last year here will be a big success. There are series of living history events from ‘strictly swashbuckling’ to academic talks. I urge everyone to see Bannockburn as it is now for the last time. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from near and far and sharing our knowledge of this important place with them.

“We’ll also be looking ahead to the amazing new facilities we’ll have onsite from 2014 – it’s going to be a whole new era for Bannockburn and visitors will be blown away.”

The Heritage Centre now

The project – a partnership between heritage agency Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland – was announced in October 2010 by the then Minister for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

In addition to the £5m initially awarded to the project by the Scottish Government, another £3.94m Heritage Lottery grant has been received for additional interpretation and landscaping works.

Speaking during a visit to Stirling Castle on Friday 3 February, the First Minister Alex Salmond announced the project would commence building and landscaping work in early summer, with work to conserve the historic monuments on site also scheduled to start later this year, subject to local planning consents.
He said:
“The eyes of the world will be on Scotland during 2014, with international events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup being held on our shores.

“2014 also marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, and I am delighted to announce today a significant milestone in the commemoration of this fascinating period of Scottish history in what will be the most ambitious partnership between the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.

“It is exciting to confirm that landscaping and building work on the state-of-the-art visitor centre will commence in the summer, with work to conserve the historic monuments also due to begin in the coming months.

“The backing in place from Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund will ensure that the ambitious Bannockburn Project comes to fruition, paving the way for an unrivalled experience for those who are lucky enough to travel to this historic site in the future. We intend to use the cutting edge of Scottish technology to bring the battle to life and showcase our history in a dramatic way.”

Designed by Reiach and Hall the new centre will be part of an overall project to establish the site’s position as one of the most historically and culturally important places in Scotland, during the commemoration of the Battle’s 700 year anniversary in 2014.

Historic Scotland Chief Executive Ruth Parsons said: “In looking at all we want to achieve with world-class, cutting edge technology to immerse the visitor in the experience of battle, we quickly realised that the existing centre would not be able to accommodate everything we wanted.

“I am very excited to be able to unveil the new designs created exclusively for this project by Reiach and Hall. They bring with them a great empathy for what we want to achieve and I think they have created a design that will be the perfect canvas to the exceptional interpretation we are planning to introduce.”

National Trust for Scotland Chief Executive Kate Mavor said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to look at how we present and interpret one of the most defining moments in our history and this new centre is the first step in achieving that.

“Another key element in the design is the landscaping which will open up the views of the memorial and give them back to the people of Bannockburn as the current building prevents you from looking straight through to the iconic statue of Robert the Bruce that is recognised around the world.”

Reiach and Hall design was unveiled just a week after their leading architect Neil Gillespie was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to architecture. Gillespie was also made an Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy.

Neil Gillespie OBE said: ”Along with Landscape Architects, Ian White Associates, and Interpretation Designers, Brightwhite, we are extremely privileged to be working with The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland at The Battle of Bannockburn, a defining moment in Scottish History and a wonderful site.

“Although modest in scale our project attempts to give some gravitas back to the site, concentrating attention on the story of the battle, the rotunda, the statue of Bruce and the great prospect to the north of Stirling Castle and the Ochils.”

The new design - very modern and simple

Here you can see the landscaping around the Heritage Centre

Plans for Bannockburn Heritage Centre

For more information go to the National Trust website at:

So what do you think of the new design? Have you visited the Bannockburn Heritage Centre before – if so what are your memories of it?


About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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