What this small central Scotland market town lacks in size it makes up for in a rich, varied and sizable heritage. For history-buffs there’s Stirling Castle, which was once favoured by Stewart royalty, and Doune Castle, which not only has one of the best examples of a great hall but was also the film location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Though for a fully immersive experience try The Battle of Bannockburn whose 3D technology allows you to feel like you’re in the midst of medieval combat. Then, step outside and see where Robert the Bruce raised his royal standard, today marked by a memorial park and bronze statue.
Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum offers a wealth of cultural history with more than 40,00 artworks to discover as well as an exhibit dedicated to the Stirling Story – boasting everything from prehistoric whale bones to the world’s oldest football. With free entry and its proximity to a two-acre biodiversity garden that’s perfect for picnics, this is a Stirling choice for all the family.
There are plenty of traditional inns and cosy cafes to whet your whistle, but foodies should pay homage to Stirling Farmers’ Market on the second Saturday of each month where they can sample delicacies such as dry-aged Highland beef. The same crowd will likely enjoy Deanston Distillery and Visitor Centre, a cotton mill turned whisky distillery offering the full traditional experience.
Nearby, Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park is a family favourite. As well as a safari drive through herds of zebra and prides of lions, there’s a troop of free-roaming lemurs, a boat ride past Chimp Island, sea lion shows and bird of prey flying demonstrations.
Don’t miss the Stirling Highland Games! The city’s signature event happens each August and combines running, jumping and Highland dancing in a setting with views of Stirling’s castle and the National Wallace Monument, which memorialises the victory of a Scottish patriot.
You won’t have to prove a champion – Highland style or otherwise – to bag a stay in Stirling. Let us take the strain of the caber and find a bonnie Stirling holiday cottage for you.