Stirling is a city located in central Scotland and is a 35 minutes drive North of Glasgow and a 55 minute drive North of Edinburgh.
Throughout the years I have visited Stirling a number of times, here is my list of the top things to see in Stirling
Stirling Castle- One of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. It is believed the castle has stood since before the fourteenth century with buildings still standing from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Before the union with England, Stirling Castle was also one of the most used of the many Scottish royal residences, very much a palace as well as a fortress. Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542, and others were born or died there. There has been a number of sieges at the castle including the Wars of Scottish Independence.
If driving to the castle it is £4 to park, and then £15 entry fee, optional headset guides are £3 each.
You can also join 'Historic Scotland' for a 12 month membership to visit numerous castles and ruins throughout Scotland for just £75 (also look out for deals which give an extra 6 months membership for free). Thus making entry and headset guide free and parking half price.
Inside the castle gates there is a place to grab a coffee, cake or one of their tasty stuffed rolls for around £7.50. On a nice day sit upstairs of the 'Unicorn Cafe' and enjoy spectacular landscapes around Stirling,
We joined a free guided tour around the castle which leaves from the second arch, on the hour and half past the hour and lasts for 45 minutes. We then took a wander around the various abbeys, palaces and enjoyed the gorgeous weather we were experiencing and the manicured gardens.
Wallace Monument-The National Wallace Monument (generally known as the Wallace Monument) is a nineteenth century tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop overlooking Stirling. It commemorates the legendary freedom fighter Sir William Wallace (of Braveheart fame), the 13th-century Scottish hero, the monument is a 67-metre (220 ft) sandstone tower, built in the Victorian Gothic style.
The monument overlooks the site of the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge, where William Wallace defeated the English.
On a dreary winters day we climbed the 246 steps of the spiral staircase to the viewing gallery which provided up with ample views of the surrounding landscapes, on a clear day you can see the expansive views of the Ochil Hills and the Forth Valley. A number of artifacts belonging to William Wallace are on display inside the monument, including the Wallace Sword, a 1.63-metre (5 ft, 4 in) long sword weighing almost three kilograms. Their is a free shuttle bus to and from the car park and entry to the monument is £10.
The Wallace Monument
Battle of Bannockburn- Nearby is Banockburn, the scene of Robert the Bruce's pivotal triumph over the English in 1314, outside you can appreciate the battleground and restored commemorative monuments; including an iconic statue of Robert the Bruce cast in shimmering bronze and inside is a fantastic interactive 3D displays where you are put in the heart of the action, you are standing on the battlefield, face to face with fearless medieval warriors. The 3D experience is £11.
Also near Stirling is Blair Drummond Safari Park where you can get up close to wild animals as they roam the park, best seen from the comfort of your car as you drive along side them in the reserves. There is also an adventure park catered for primarily for children. Entry is £15.50.
If you aren't driving to Stirling, once there you can use the Hop on hop off city bus- with First busses. Hop between stirlings top attractions for just £4.50 per day with buses running up to 7 times a day.
Along with the Historic Scotland membership there is also the Stirling City Pass- A two day pass (available throughout July- September) gains access to the top sights in Stirling for just £25.
The Old Town is picturesque and worth a walk, below is the shopping areas of modern Stirling which is lovely, but doesn't have the same appeal, best to stick to higher ground.
Have you visited Stirling? If so what is your top things to see?