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Stirling Tourism And Travel Guide
3.3° C / 37.9° F
May to September
2 to 3 Days
Edinburgh Airport (47 kms)
Stirling Railway Station
Stirling, located in central Scotland along the River Forth, only earned its city rights in the year 2002 at Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee. However, Stirling has remained a historically significant region for centuries and is, even today, considered strategically important for being a ‘Gateway to the Scottish Highlands’. Landmark spots like the Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument and the Stirling Bridge are all testament to Stirling’s role in the colourful Scottish history, which makes them some of the most popular tourist spots in the city. Stirling is a historical treasure that travellers can spend days in trying to learn all about its rich medieval past. The wonderful countryside of Stirling and its many family-friendly locales also contribute largely to tourism in the region. Start planning your trip to Stirling soon with the help of this travel guide.
How to Reach
The nearest airport from Stirling is Edinburgh Airport, located about 47 km away. Glasgow International Airport operates more international and long haul flights but is located further away; same for Glasgow Prestwick Airport as well. Buses and trams are available from Edinburgh Airport to Haymarket Terrace, from where travellers can catch a direct train or bus to Stirling. Alternatively, you can also choose to book a direct cab from the airport to Stirling. If travelling from Glasgow Airport, catch a bus to Buchanan Street Bus Station and then a direct service to Stirling. From Prestwick Airport, travellers can catch a train directly to Stirling after reaching Glasgow Central Station or Queen Street Railway Station from the airport.
If you plan to get to Stirling via train, keep in mind the town is closest to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Direct trains to Stirling can be taken from Queen Street Railway Station in Glasgow, and Haymarket and Waverly stations from Edinburgh; trains are available every thirty minutes from all three stations. If coming in from Manchester or Birmingham, travellers are required to change trains at Glasgow; if coming in from London, Newcastle or York, train change is required at Edinburgh. Inverness, Aberdeen, Perth and Dundee also have regular trains to Stirling.
Stirling is connected to different regions in Scotland like Edinburgh, Perth and Inverness through the M9/A9 motorways. Glasgow connects to Stirling via the M80. Bus services, mainly the Scottish CityLink, has regular departures from Edinburgh and Glasgow with en-route calling at Inverness and Aberdeen. The Megabus service connects Stirling to London. Those who prefer to travel by car can simply get onto the M80 if coming in from Glasgow and the M9 if travelling from Edinburgh. If coming in from London and the Midlands, follow the M6, M74, M73 and get onto M80.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – August):
Summer months in Stirling experience the finest weather conditions, which makes this the busiest time of the year. The average temperature ranges between 15⁰C to 17⁰C, and the overall weather remains sunny and warm all through the summer months. The sun sets pretty late and there is plenty of daylight hours for tourists to enjoy all the attractions of Stirling. The only downside to visiting in this season is the huge crowds and the hiked up rates of hotels and other accommodations.
Autumn (September – November):
Autumn is also a good time to visit Stirling as the weather remains quite good during the early part of the season and most of the tourist crowds have left the city by then. The temperature ranges between 14⁰C to 8⁰C towards the latter half of the season. The biggest highlight of visiting in autumn is getting to experience the exquisite fall colours that transition from bright green to reds, oranges and yellows, creating beautiful camera-worthy moments all over the city.
Winter (December – February):
If you don’t mind cooler weather and would like to make the most out of getting a good deal from hotels and other accommodation options, winter may be a good time for you to visit Stirling. Stirling gets considerably less snowfall and is not as cold as other parts of Scotland during winters. The average temperature ranges around 6-7⁰C and the entire city remains mostly uncrowded during these months, which may be a great time for those who dislike large tourist crowds.
Spring (March – May):
One of the best times of the year to visit Stirling, springtime is characterised by mild and pleasant weather that starts off cool and damp and gets gradually warmer and more enjoyable as the season progresses.
Things to Do
Tour the Castles:
The Stirling Castle is the main highlight of Stirling and the most visited spot by tourists. The castle has remained a vital building throughout Scotland’s history and stands as an imposing structure even today. Visitors can tour the castle and its luxurious halls to catch a glimpse into the opulent lives of Scottish royals who once lived here. The Doune Castle is another fascinating fortress worth paying a visit in Stirling. Even though it is mostly known for featuring in TV series like Game of Thrones and many other movies, the magnificence alone of Doune Castle makes it a great place to explore.
Visit the Wallace Monument:
The Wallace Monument was constructed in memory of Scotland’s beloved hero, Sir William Wallace, who made significant contributions towards the independence of the country. While the climb to the top of the monument is steep, visitors will be blessed with stunning views of Forth Valley and vast expanses of the town.
Tour the Blair Drummond Safari Park:
If you love animals, you will love spending hours in this park. There are numerous activities here for kids and adults like boat safaris, habitat drive-through, animal presentations and funfairs etc. In ‘Animal Encounter Experiences’, visitors get the chance to get up close with their favourite animals, whereas others can also choose to be a zookeeper for a day.
Where to Eat
Believed by most to be the best place to eat in Stirling, the Scottish-Austrian restaurant Hermann’s is a must-visit. The popular eatery serves Scottish favourites like Cullen skink (smoked haddock fish soup) and Austrian delicacies like schnitzel and spätzle noodles. There are also several vegetarian options available here. Pubs like Birds & Bees and Portcullis offer hearty meals in an informal setting that is great for hanging out with friends. Try Bréa for authentic Scottish fares and Mamma Mia if you crave some Italian while in Stirling.
Where to Shop
If you are looking for some retail therapy to conclude your Stirling vacation, there are several boutiques and stores to choose from. ‘Thistles’ is the most popular shopping centre in the city for high-end fashion shopping, which includes most brand names you’ll want to purchase. Don’t forget to make a stop at Stirling Arcade, a Victorian shopping mall where you’ll find independent retailers and businesses. For gifts and souvenirs, House of Henderson on Friar Street, Contempo on King Street and Made in Stirling on 44 King Street are the best places to be. Your shopping experience in Stirling will not be complete without a visit to the city’s Farmer’s Market as well; this is where you will find amazing local produce and lovely hand-crafted Scottish goods.