Things to do in stirling




Stepping into Stirling, you’ll find yourself surrounded by rich history and stunning architecture, as this charming Scottish city opens its arms to welcome you. As you wander through its picturesque streets, you’ll undoubtedly be captivated by the vast array of activities and attractions that Stirling has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a memorable experience, this city is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart.

Begin your Stirling adventure with a visit to the iconic Stirling Castle, a stronghold boasting a turbulent past and home to many kings and queens throughout history. Delving deeper into the city’s historical treasures, embark on an array of interesting full-day and historical tours that will allow you to explore monuments, statues, and various landmarks, all while enriching your understanding of Stirling’s vibrant past.

As you continue your journey, don’t miss the chance to take part in cultural and movie tours that showcase the city’s unique charm and captivating stories. With churches, cathedrals, and countless other points of interest at your fingertips, you are certain to create unforgettable memories during your time in Stirling.

Historic Sites

Stirling Castle

When you visit Stirling, you’ll want to explore the stunning Stirling Castle, a historically significant landmark in Scotland. This impressive fortress served as the royal palace for King James and Mary Queen of Scots, providing you with beautiful views of Old Town Jail and the River Forth. You can take guided or unguided tours, admiring the Royal Palace’s grand staircase and stately rooms.

The National Wallace Monument

Another magnificent sight is the National Wallace Monument, a towering tribute to the Scottish hero, William Wallace. You can delve into the monument’s intriguing exhibition depicting Wallace’s life and the historic Battle of Stirling Bridge. For breathtaking views, climb the monument’s 246-step spiral staircase.

Doune Castle

Discover Doune Castle, a well-preserved medieval fortress that has served as a filming location for popular TV shows and movies. Take an audio-guided tour, provided by handsets, to learn about the castle’s history, architecture, and cultural significance.

The Abbey Craig

Embark on a leisurely walk up to the Abbey Craig, a volcanic hill where the National Wallace Monument stands. As you ascend, keep an eye out for the unique flora and endangered red squirrels that inhabit the area.

Church of the Holy Rude

Pay a visit to the Church of the Holy Rude, a medieval church with a rich history dating back to the 12th century. As one of Scotland’s oldest churches, the intricate details of its architecture and interior will surely impress.

Battle of Bannockburn

Experience the site where the legendary Battle of Bannockburn took place in 1314. Interact with the state-of-the-art visitor centre, where you can engage in exciting activities and witness a 3D depiction of the battle. Access to the landscaped park and monuments is free, but admission fees apply for the visitor centre.

Battle of Stirling Bridge

Lastly, take time to appreciate the historic site where the Battle of Stirling Bridge occurred in 1297. Although the original wooden bridge no longer exists, a stone bridge nearby serves as a testament to this significant event in Scottish history.

Recreational Activities

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, head to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. With its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, this park offers a wide range of activities for you and your family to enjoy. Take a leisurely stroll along the trails, or challenge yourself with a more demanding hike through the park. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for local wildlife, like the majestic red kite soaring above.

In addition to exploring the park’s vast landscapes on foot, you can also hop aboard one of the tour boats for a scenic cruise. Allow the knowledgeable captain, affectionately nicknamed Red Beard, to regale you with fascinating tales of the park’s history. This activity is particularly popular amongst school kids, so it’s a fantastic option for families with children.

Blair Drummond Safari Park

For a wild experience, visit Blair Drummond Safari Park. A haven for conservation projects, this park is home to a variety of animals, including red kites. Here, you can take a guided tour through the different animal enclosures and learn about their hide and conservation efforts. Make sure to take advantage of the interactive exhibits available at the park, including the chance to hand-feed some of the animals.

  • Family Activities: Blair Drummond Safari Park offers a host of family-friendly activities, such as a petting zoo, a giant adventure playground, and daily shows that showcase the park’s inhabitants.

Escape Rooms

For a thrilling and thought-provoking experience, try your hand at an escape room in Stirling. Work together with your friends and family to decipher clues, solve puzzles, and ultimately unlock your freedom. An escape room is an excellent way to spend a rainy afternoon or to challenge your mental skills in a fun and exciting environment.

While enjoying your stay in Stirling, don’t forget to take in some local history and culture. Visit historic sites such as Cambuskenneth Abbey, or play a round of golf at one of the many local courses. And, of course, don’t leave without sampling some delicious local produce from the region.

Culture and Local Experiences

Art Galleries and Museums

Stirling boasts a rich history and vibrant culture that you can delve into by visiting the museums and art galleries. Step back in time at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, where you can learn about the city’s past, view medieval artefacts, and appreciate a distinctive collection of artwork. Don’t miss the Church of the Holy Rude, which has been a significant historical site since the coronation of King James the Sixth. Here, you can also explore the ancient graveyard, a final resting place for many notable figures in Scottish history.

Another interesting museum is the Stirling Old Town Jail. This well-preserved historic site offers captivating stories about past inmates and gives you a unique look at the penal system of 19th-century Scotland. Just a short walk from the jail, you’ll find the dining room of the infamous Braw Tim where some famous visitors have dined.

Gin Distillery Tours

Are you a gin enthusiast? A visit to Stirling would not be complete without embarking on a gin distillery tour. Book a tour with a reliable provider like Viator to explore the distillation process and learn about the eco-friendly methods used in producing top-quality gin. Visit the palaces-turned-distilleries where they transform locally sourced barley into your favourite tipple.

Be sure to stop by the Stirling Gin Distillery, where you may sample their unique gin blends. Here, you can also take a more in-depth look at the production process and appreciate the magnificent medieval castle that houses the distillery.

During your visit, don’t forget to treat yourself to a bottle of their premium gin or perhaps a glass of their delightful red wine. A tour of the gin distilleries is an engaging way to learn about Stirling’s thriving gin industry while enjoying some of the finest spirits produced in Scotland.

Shopping and Dining

Stirling Old Town Shops

When you’re visiting Stirling, make sure to explore the charming Old Town area, where you’ll come across delightful shops with unique offerings. Don’t miss out on souvenir hunting, where you can find beautiful Scottish gifts and trinkets. Get a taste of local craftsmanship in pottery, textiles, and jewellery stores. Spend some time browsing through the diverse range of shops or take a quick shuttle to shopping centres for additional options.

Local Restaurants

While exploring Stirling, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Fortunately, there are plenty of great local restaurants and eateries for you to try. For a truly Scottish experience, opt for traditional dishes like steak pie or haggis-stuffed chicken at the Portcullis Hotel, which is located near Stirling Castle. You can enjoy your meal in their cosy indoor setting or dine alfresco in the beer garden, all while admiring the Royal Palace and its stunning surroundings.

For lighter options, seek out cafes and bistros offering delicious paninis, wraps, and salads that cater to various dietary preferences. Relish the relaxed atmosphere and refuel with a delightful meal before venturing out to climb the iconic Wallace Monument Steps or exploring the historic Stirling Castle Kitchen. Your gastronomic journey in Stirling is sure to be a memorable one, leaving you eager to discover more of Scotland’s culinary delights.

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