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Things To Do In Stirling
Situated in central Scotland on River Forth, Stirling is a city that is truly a must-visit for all those who visit the Glasgow and Edinburgh region. This relatively small city with a population of just around 45000 inhabitants is a popular place to visit if you want to learn more about Scotland’s history and its fight for independence. Stirling is a city that bursts with cosmopolitan modernity that manages to retain its historic significance within its many ancient landmarks. Your time in Stirling will be packed with unique experiences and a memorable trip that will keep you coming back for more. Detailed below are some of our recommendations among the top things to do in Stirling.
Visit Stirling Castle
The Stirling Castle is usually every tourist’s first stop when visiting Stirling. The castle has been a strategically vital fortress for Scotland that played an important role in numerous battles in the country. Situated on top of a hill, the Stirling Castle is an imposing structure that was once the home of the Scottish royal family. Tours of the castle offer an insight into the opulence that was a part of the royal family’s daily life. The luxuriant apartments are sure to transport you back to an era of wealth and decadence. Among the main highlights of the castle are the Great Hall and the Royal Palace, which recently underwent restoration in the year 2011; the main aim of the refurbishment was to replicate the fortress’s 16th-century décor. The free guided tours of the castle are best enjoyed in the late afternoons when most of the tourists are done with their day trips and the castle grounds are relatively emptier.
Climb to the Top of Wallace Monument
The Wallace Monument was built to commemorate Scotland’s most beloved hero, Sir William Wallace. Situated over the top of Abbey Craig, the monument overlooks the entire town and offers amazing panoramic views of Stirling from the top. The Wallace Monument also serves as a museum of sorts; visitors will be able to observe numerous important Scottish artefacts that have been preserved here, including the Wallace Sword. The monument can be reached either on foot through the woods on the Craig or a shuttle bus that takes you directly to the foot of the building. While the entry fee might be a little steep and the huge amount of stairs required to get to the top can prove to be a task, the series of galleries inside the monument and the views of the green beauty of Forth Valley from the top make the trip totally worth it.
Tour of the Blair Drummond Safari Park
Animal lovers can rejoice in knowing that visiting the Blair Drummond Safari Park will definitely be one of the most exciting things they experience in Stirling. One of the most unique features of this park is that visitors can get a chance to get up-close with their favourite animals through activities like ‘Animal Encounter Experiences’. For those who are genuinely interested in spending more time with animals can also choose to become a zookeeper for a day. Both kids and adults can be a part of this experience, with certain age restrictions applied. The park also has other activities like boat safari, habitat drive-through, animal presentations, funfairs for children etc. There are also numerous spots in the park to enjoy picnics and barbecues with your family.
Tour of Doune Castle
This 14th-century medieval stronghold is known to be one of the best-preserved castles in Scotland today. Most visitors will recognize the castle as ‘Winterfell’ from the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’; the fortress has also featured in several other movies and series, which has propelled the region to even more fame. An audio tour of the castle will give you all details about its history; the tour also includes the spectacular scenery of the surrounding Loch Lomond.
Touring and Tasting at the Deanston Distillery
Visiting any city in Scotland is usually incomplete without touring a local distillery. The Deanston Distillery is housed in a building that is over 200 years old and once served as a cotton mill. Tours range from those lasting from 50 minutes to longer ones lasting around 90 minutes. There are varieties of tours available, like the Heritage Tour that includes some areas of the neighbouring village; then there is the delightful Whiskey and Chocolate Tour where the sampling forms the main highlight of the tour – subject to age restrictions of course.
Visit the Stirling Old Bridge
This 15th-century beautifully arched stone bridge is known to be one of the oldest of its kind in Scotland. It is mostly used by pedestrians and cyclists now, but the region holds significant historical importance for the locals. This was the location of the famous Battle of Stirling Bridge that was fought in 1297, in which William Wallace won against King Edward I of England and laid the foundation for the independence of Scotland. While the actual battle took place on a wooden bridge that was located a little distance upstream of the present-day stone bridge, the region is still visited by numerous tourists who want to experience being a part of this landmark location.
Hiking in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
This national park is centred around Loch Lomond and the hills and valleys of Trossachs. The park is a beautiful package of mountains, lakes and stunning scenery with abundant thriving wildlife. There are several tourist agencies that help travellers with organising hiking and walking trips through the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Travellers with all levels of fitness can enjoy the beauty of the park through walking routes that range from short and easy to long and difficult.