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Stirling Chameleon like historic Royal
Burgh with changing roles through the ages - Once, Scotland's Strategic
stronghold, then Royal court with renaissance architecture, Military
garrison and more recently market town turned regional shopping centre.
Now a University town with innovation park and tourist mecca which
ensures a vibrant and colourful cafe and pub scene. Join the open top
Heritage Bus Tour, 01786 475019 for your first glimpse of the town. Take
a sweater if you want to enjoy the upper deck to the full.
Pass over the drawbridge and through the guardhouse of
Stirling Castle and prepare yourself for stories of intrigue, gory
murders, sieges, Stewart patronage and Jacobite
risings. Marvel at the restoration of the Great Hall, visit the Argyll
and Sutherland Highlanders Museum, and make sure you spend time in
the Royal Palace and Chapel Royal - living history at its spectacular
best. If you want an absolute real treat, persuade someone to invite you
to a private wedding or function. Imagine yourself as monarch gazing
over all you possess - so much history in one view from the Trossachs in
the west to the Hillfoots in the east. Cafe and shops keep the whole
family involved for hours 01786 450000.
in the esplanade has
an excellent audio visual presentation of Royal Stirling. Plenty of
souvenirs. Admire the view from the esplanade. 01786 479901.
the pink building on the left at the edge of the
esplanade - walk into the courtyard, admire the cone shaped towers and
explore one of Scotland's finest surviving renaissance buildings. Follow
the story of the 9th Earl of Argyll. Impressive restored furnishings
recreate renaissance feel. Cosy study used by his wife on first floor.
Well worth a visit.
of the Holy Rude
Proud and imposing, this parish church has been
part of Scottish history for over 500 years. Associations with the
Stewarts, John Knox and the protestant reformers. As you marvel at the
stained glass windows, look up at the medieval open timber roof. If you
are lucky you may happen upon an organ recital. The Guidhall, now
a local venue for entertainment, formerly Cowane's Hospital, was
bequeathed by one of Stirling's wealthy merchants sits in the grounds.
Thistle Marches Shopping, Goosecroft Rd.
Bright and cheery shopping mall with all the usual suspects. Marks, Debs,
etc as well as Virgin, Oasis, etc for the younger set 01786 470055 - if
you are looking for something different for the bathroom try Soaps.
Are the kids bored after all that shopping - plenty to do close by - Rainbow
Slides - Leisure centre and pool 01786 462521. Ten Pin Bowling just
over the bridge and Spencers Leisure in Kerse Road is great for
snooker - you will also be able to admire Stephen Hendry's trophys maybe
his luck will rub off when you are playing 01786 474558.
Crawford Arcade and Barnton Street
Victorian Arcade recently refurbished and the home of some individual
shops. Barnton Bar and Bistro 01786 461698 oposite Stirling's
premier fun pub Fubar and near O'neils Irish pub. Visit
Scott's Deli - superb selection of real ales and whiskies. Das Indian
for authentic Punjabi cuisine 01786 472137. Smiling Jacks cosy tex
mex with good food, natchos etc.
Bannockburn Heritage Centre
A mile or
so out of town towards the motorway, Statue of Bruce, triumphantly sitting
on his war horse guarding open air Borestone Rotunda. Follow the battle on
overhead boards. Excellent audio-visual presentation recreates the wars of
independence 01786 812664. Nearby North Third Trout Fishery has
bank and boat fly fishing for rainbows, 01786 471967, Brucefields
Family Golf Centre pay and play 9 hole and par 3 golf for all with
floodlit driving range. Stunning views over the Ochils and Stirling
Castle. Healthy choice menu at the cafe. Curlers and skaters look out for Stirling
Ice Rink wedged between cricket and rugby clubs at Williamfield on the
road to Torbrex 01786 450389.
Scotland 1 (captained by Wallace) England 0 (captained by Edward). Every
Scot knows the story although the rematches in the 1700's with the
Jacobites didn't go so well. Fine stone bridge built near the wooden
structure of Wallace's battle. Stand on the bridge, admire the views of
the hills and the pencil shape of the national memorial. Further towards
the monument stop at Corrieris at the roundabout for delicious ice cream.
Big decisions - Fresh pizzas to sit in or a fish supper to take away.
Leonardo & Company
Bistro with impressive meeting/conference facilities just off the M9
motorway at junction 10. Unusual shaped restaurant on loch side under the
castle rock. Stylish modern decor, good ambiance, friendly staff and fresh
food. Even the BBQ on the patio at weekends has crisp linen napkins and
real steak knives, 01786 465577. Alternatively, stop off at the
traditional Riverways Restuarant at Kildean livestock market. Friendly and
relaxed, Sunday Scottish high teas are an institution here, 01786 475734.
rock doubling as the original grandstand view for royal tournaments in
Kings Park. Worth a walk through the cemetery where the gravestones
intermingle with the castle rocks to find the best free views of
Stirling and surrounding countryside.
Climb the cobbled hill
winding to the castle and picture yourself bartering at the Mercat
Follow the footsteps of the kings. queens and consorts who have passed
here. You can really imagine life as it was in this medieval burgh - read
the plaques as you wander round and enjoy your day. The ruinous facade of Mars Wark mirrors the fate of the noble family who as keepers
of the castle commissioned this superb renaissance building only for the
6th Earl to be ousted as a Jacobite sympathiser during the risings. Coffee
shops and restaurants abound. The Portcullis at the top - a traditional
pub serving home made bar food gives you a real sense of history 01786
472290. Look out for the witchery tours that start from here - scary but
good fun. Hermans - an award winning restaurant with fine food
specialising in Scottish produce is worth a visit. Best to book 01786
450632. Old Town Coffee House for home baking and speciality teas 01786 446469.
Whistlebinkies in St
Maryís Wynd towards Stirling Bridge is a traditional pub with good
food and good Scottish atmosphere 01786 451256. Old High School
turned Stirling Highland Hotel has two restaurants 01786 272727.
Old Town Jail
Line up against
the back wall as you watch the other wretched prisoners get their dues.
Will you be transported to the colonies, or nailed up by the ear to the
post. Shudder as you feel the noose. Listen to the cries of the convicted
felons two dozen or more to a small room as they are liberated from the
towns old jail at the Tolbooth to the comparative comfort of the
facilities of the Old Town Jail. Absolutely superlative presentation of barbaric acts, short lived penal
reforms, turnscrews and modern day prison life. Wonderful views of
Stirling from the tower and exercise yard on the roof (of course, you may
have to bribe a warder with your weekly rations to let you out!!!).
Definitely worth a visit, leave the kids and pick them up in 6 months - if
they survive!! 01786 450050. As you head down St John Street pass the site
of the original Erskine Kirk now a youth hostel (although the last time I
passed I was stopped by two not very youthful senior citizens in leathers
riding Harley Davidsons looking for this establishment).
administrative building with jail notable for the worst conditions in
Scotland, now having intensive reconstruction as a contemporary arts
centre with the help of the lottery fund - buy a ticket and help - you
might even win the jackpot. Early European Union link with Dutch style
roof on the clock tower. Watch out for Darnleys coffee house excellent
home baking, snacks and huge choice of toasties. Plaque outside proclaims
historical connection to Mary Queen of Scots husband, Lord Darnley 01786
Friar Street and Baker Street
for Italian 01786 451552, Qismet for tandoori 01786 463075. Pass Hendersons, quality outfitters and kiltmakers. Climb the pedestrian
precinct leading to Pub place, Restaurant row and Cafe corner. No matter
your taste there is something here for you. Better still try them all.
Longhorns American steakhouse, Hogshead great traditional pub with real
cask ales 01786 448722, Sportsters sports bar with big screen live action, pool and
playstations 01786 409000, Oliviaís Restaurant fine Scottish
produce with a continental flair 01786 446277, Drouthy Neebors next
door informal friendly pub 01786 450858, Nicky Tams Bar warm
atmosphere with live nights 01786 472194. Ginger former bank on
corner of King Street now creditable bar cafe. Italia Nostra for
italian specialities and Victorias Coffee shop 01786 479867.
Albert Hall, Dumbarton Road
to the lower Back Walk and flanked by statues of Bruce and Rob Roy, this
theatre cum venue with Bistro cafe has been the centre of civic functions
for as long as I can remember. Information office nearby with friendly and
incredibly knowledgeable staff. Pacos Restaurant along the road serves good range of food - great atmosphere.
Before you go clubbing, go across the road to the Yard famous for
cocktails and summertime beer garden. Modern chain Cafe Uno on the corner
and Ciscos coffee bar along the road towards the Cinema - good
cappuccinos! Cross the road to Upper Craigs, picture Gallery with fine
paintings as well as All That Jazz, interesting pub 01786 451130 and
Bar None - modern trendy pub serving coffees and snacks.
The Stirling Smith
Gallery and Museum near Kings Park, only a canon balls distance
from the castle ramparts. Definite institutional feel as you enter
but wonderful collection of paintings. Absorbing exhibition of
furniture, costumes and gruesome artifacts each with their own
storyboards. Best free parking in Stirling to visit the Old town. Follow the Back Walk running alongside the medieval
Town Wall defenses
up towards the Guildhall and the Castle. Adjacent, imagine Kings Knot a
large formal garden which overlooked Kings Park, the hunting ground for
the royal court.
the play area of Stewart Kings now you can walk the dog, admire the views,
go putting and play tennis but the best fun is at the purpose built
skateboard paradise. Stirling Golf Course at the corner under castle rock
National Wallace Monument
steps, incredible views, Wallaceís famous double handed sword and
a battle tent all within this most famous of landmarks. Catapult
yourself back 700 years and imagine yourself as one of the freedom
fighters. Join in the struggles and the jubilation. Well worth a
visit. If you canít manage the climb stop off at the Sword Hotel
and gaze up to the monument 01786 473338 or stop off at the William Wallace for a pint 01786 472740. Check out what is on at
the MacRoberts Arts Centre, within the grounds of the university. Great
cosy semi-circular auditorium with studenty feel, always reminds me of
the sixties 01786 461081.
all your favourite Scottish characters, Bruce who had a parliament here,
James III who is buried here and of course, Abbey itself, would still be
here, if the stone hadnít been removed to help build Mars Wark. Bell
tower is all that remains. Footpath from town centre or detour via
Causwayhead in the car.
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