an interpretation of historic weaving with looms, yarn, baskets, and people

Discover the Rich Textile Heritage of Stirling

Stirling, a city steeped in history and culture, is not only known for its iconic castle and pivotal role in Scotland’s past but also for its rich textile heritage. The weaving traditions of Stirling and the nearby town of Bannockburn have been preserved and celebrated through the efforts of local artisans and organisations such as Radical Weavers. Join us as we explore the fascinating history of weaving in this region and discover how you can immerse yourself in this enduring craft through local attractions and weaving workshops.

A Historical Overview of Weaving in Stirling and Bannockburn

The weaving industry in Stirling and Bannockburn dates back several centuries. During the Industrial Revolution, these areas became significant centres for textile production, with numerous mills and workshops dotting the landscape. The local weavers were renowned for their skill and craftsmanship, producing high-quality textiles that were sought after both locally and internationally.

In Bannockburn, the weaving industry played a crucial role in the town's development. The Bannockburn Weaving Company, established in the 18th century, was one of the many enterprises that contributed to the region's prosperity. The company specialised in producing tartan fabrics, which remain a symbol of Scottish heritage to this day.

Radical Weavers: Keeping Traditions Alive

Radical Weavers, located in Stirling, is a contemporary weaving studio dedicated to preserving and promoting the traditional weaving techniques of the region. The studio offers a range of weaving workshops that cater to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced weavers. These workshops provide a hands-on opportunity to learn about the intricacies of weaving, using both traditional and modern techniques.

Weaving Workshops at Radical Weavers:

  • Design & Weave Your Own Tartan Workshop: Immerse yourself in a creative journey to design and weave your own tartan. This afternoon workshop allows you to translate personal stories and cherished memories into a fabric of your own design. From selecting colours that reflect your identity to wrapping yarn and weaving your tartan, you'll have a hands-on experience with guidance from our skilled tutors.

  • Weave Traditional Tartan Coasters Workshop: Discover the timeless craft of tartan weaving in this engaging two-hour session. Perfect for beginners, you'll learn the basics of weaving on a 4-shaft table loom to create a set of 4 to 6 coasters using fine Shetland wool. Choose from a range of registered tartans and connect with your Scottish roots. All materials are prepared in advance, ensuring a smooth start to your weaving journey.

  • Weave A Tartan Scarf In A Day Workshop: Spend a full day creating your own tartan scarf. This workshop guides you through warping a rigid heddle loom and weaving with three shades of wool you choose. With comprehensive instruction and all materials provided, you'll finish the day with a stylish scarf to take home.

By participating in these workshops, visitors not only gain practical skills but also an appreciation for the craftsmanship and effort that goes into creating each piece of textile art.

Stirling Castle: A Tapestry of History

Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s grandest castles, is not only a symbol of the nation’s history but also a treasure trove of textile heritage. The castle's interiors are adorned with magnificent tapestries that tell the stories of Scotland's past. These tapestries are replicas of the original 16th-century pieces, painstakingly recreated by skilled weavers using traditional techniques.

Highlights of Stirling Castle’s Textile Displays:

  • The Stirling Heads Gallery: This gallery features the recreated Stirling Heads, intricate wooden medallions that once adorned the ceilings of the castle’s royal apartments. The attention to detail in these carvings is mirrored in the tapestries displayed alongside them.
  • The Great Hall: The tapestries in the Great Hall depict scenes from the Hunt of the Unicorn, a series of medieval tapestries that are among the finest examples of their kind. Visitors can learn about the painstaking process of recreating these tapestries and the historical significance they hold.

Exploring Stirling Castle provides a deeper understanding of how textiles were used not only for practical purposes but also as symbols of power and status in Scotland's royal court.

Local Crafts and Artisans

Stirling and Bannockburn are home to numerous artisans who continue to uphold the region's textile traditions. From handwoven scarves and blankets to intricately designed tartans, local craftspeople offer a wide range of beautiful and unique items.

Where to Find Local Crafts:

  • Stirling Farmers Market: Held on the second Saturday of every month, the market features stalls from local artisans, including weavers who showcase their handmade textiles.
  • Made in Stirling: This community arts hub and shop features works by local artists and crafters, providing an excellent opportunity to purchase unique, handcrafted items.


Stirling’s rich textile heritage is a testament to the skill and creativity of its weavers, both past and present. By exploring local attractions such as Radical Weavers and Stirling Castle, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for the craft and history of weaving in this region. Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill through weaving workshops or simply wish to admire the artistry of local crafts, Stirling offers a wealth of experiences for anyone interested in the enduring legacy of textile art.

Discover the vibrant weaving culture of Stirling and Bannockburn and immerse yourself in the traditions that have shaped this historic region.

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