Alloa Tower teacher information

Alloa Tower was built around 1497 and retains rare and important medieval features, notably the timber roof structure and the stone vaulting.

Alloa Tower was built by Alexander, 3rd Lord Erskine. It was the ancestral home of the Earls of Mar and Kellie for four centuries. The tower has been modified over the years (with alterations to the first floor in the 18th century) but it retains rare and important medieval features, notably the timber roof structure and the stone vaulting. 

The tower has many other interesting features including a medieval pit dungeon, a minstrels’ gallery, a well at first floor level and a solar on the fourth floor. The rooms contain 17th- and 18th-century furniture and portraits of the Erskine family. Most visitors take a walk along the tower’s battlements which provide impressive views of the surrounding area including the River Forth (once a main route to Stirling and central Scotland). 

Mary, Queen of Scots and her baby son James visited Alloa Tower in 1566. It was reported that she had fled from Darnley and sought refuge with her friend and guardian, the Earl of Mar. 

The school programme offers opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence.

Teachers can request a guided tour that complements their pupils’ topic or study area, for all levels. 

Possible topics

  • Tower houses
  • Houses and homes
  • Mary, Queen of Scots at Alloa Tower
  • The Jacobites
  • The Earls of Mar & Kellie at Alloa Tower

Resources for schools

Children’s activity sheets - available on request

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact Alloa Tower to discuss your requirements.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Maximum class size 30, with a ratio of not less than 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils
  • Access: we regret that there is no access for those with mobility impairment to the upper floors. There is full access to the ground floor. There is a photo album available.
  • Please note: the upper floors are accessed via a narrow turret staircase. There are 3 upper floors plus the battlements.
  • Toilets: there are fully accessible toilets on the ground floor.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.


  • There is no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-members are welcome but there is an admission charge of £2 per pupil.
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free.
  • All class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: please report to reception (through the main tower doors). 
  • Trust staff will lead castle tours. 
  • Alloa Tower is open for educational visits in the morning or afternoon.
  • A tour takes approximately one hour. 
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • If visiting the battlements: there is a walkway and the battlement walls are quite high. However, teachers must maintain strict supervision. Pupils should visit in small groups.
  • We regret that you cannot take photographs inside the tower - but they may be taken on the battlements.
  • Coats and bags can be left within the tower.
  • Shop: There is a small shop area on the ground floor. Please allow time for your pupils to visit this, in small groups with teacher supervision. 


If you prefer to print this information you can use this download. Please note that some of the information may now be out of date.