Now 21st century Hollywood technology has been combined with medieval combat techniques to turn the Battle of Bannockburn into Scotland’s newest visitor attraction.
From dramatic cavalry charges to sudden archery attacks, the sights and sounds of the battlefield come out of the walls of the futuristic complex, which has replaced an outdated visitor centre built in the 1960s.
After an animated 3D introduction setting the scene for what proved to be one of the most famous battles fought on British soil, visitors are surrounded by “dream-like” sequences depicting everything from soldiers relaxing and training, to falling in agony to their death.
Centre managers say they have not flinched from depicting the brutality of the two days of warfare which unfolded in June 1314.
The £9.1 million complex, finished ahead of the 700th anniversary of the battle, has been created under the first major joint project between the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.
Motion-capture technology, similar to the technique deployed to create the character “Gollum” in The Lord of the Rings saga, has been used for the Bannockburn centre, with the help of local battle re-enactment experts who have advised film-makers on blockbusters like Gladiator and Robin Hood.
Accounts from historians, the familiar voices of leading Scottish actors James Cosmo and David Hayman, replica weapons and even the genuine skull of Robert the Bruce have all been used to help create what is said to be a unique visitor experience in the world for the quality of the effects used to recreate the bloody battle sequences.