The good thing about traveling alone is that you have a lot of time to read and, since I love history, I got to soak some up on my way to Edinburgh, especially stories about the battles of William Wallace (widely considered as a national hero ), the never-ending rivalry between Scotland and England, and the experiences of Queen Mary Stuart. And, in this sense, Stirling Castle is the perfect place to delve into Scottish history. I highly encourage you to visit. The views are beautiful thanks to its location on the top of a hill. The visit to the castle lacks no detail, and they show you exactly how they lived in this fortress (I especially loved the Royal Kitchens, and the feeling of being among all the preparations for a royal banquet). If you end up going, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ;)
If you travel to Scotland, Loch Ness is definitely a place to visit. We stayed in Edinburgh and wanted to go for four days, but they explained that the distance to the lake was about 700 kilometers and that the Lake Loch Lomond was not only much bigger, but also more beautiful, closer, and less crowded. We decided to go to Loch Lomond thanks to the unique and wonderful guide Miguel of Scotland and I recommend it too. It really did not disappoint us.
Stirling is where the major battles took place between the English and Scots to obtain independence and was led by national hero William Wallace. The monument was built in the 19th century based on the designs of John Thomas in Victorian Gothic style. The tower is 70 meters and 246 tall. Inside you will find some small rooms, and you can see some of the weapons used by William Wallace, like his sword. If you go to the top, you can enjoy a fantastic view of Stirling and the Forth River valley.
Undoubtedly one of the most charismatic bridges of Scotland, Stirling old bridge was built around the year 1500. The reconstruction a few yards behind the original is often confused with the original bridge, which had a role in the famous battle of 'Stirling Bridge' (1297) where the famous William Wallace (Braveheart) defeated the English troops with the invaluable help of the bridge. Today its original role is celebrated and its foundations were found a few meters away some years ago (see the History Channel "The Scotland of Braveheart" where Dr. Richard Oram gives explanations, a wonderful person having worked with him personally. This pedestrian bridge is charming and visitors can enjoy wonderful views of the river Forth, city, castle and tower - Wallace Monument ... Charming especially at sunset in Autumn. Some more photographs of this historic bridge in summer. Undoubtedly one of the most emblematic buildings on the ability of Stirling, and the Scottish nation.
There are two recurring and historical figures found throughout Scotland, embodied in statues, monuments, facades, writings and other works of art. One is William Wallace, made famous by the movie "Braveheart", and the other is King Robert I or Robert the Bruce, the first king of the Scottish nation, for many the true hero of the country. He appears in the famous movie, which is a complete mistake. He could not have betrayed William Wallace, and we don't even know if they knew each other or if they were around at the same time. Although the greater glory seems to be given to Wallace, in Scotland, Robert The Bruce is more important for its role in the country's unification and for defeating the English at Bannockburn, thereby achieving the Pope's, Rome's, and the European states' recognition as an independent country. In Stirling his statue stands at the entrance of the castle, on the square of access. What better place to pay tribute to one of the greatest, if not the largest, heroes of the country?
Founded in S. XII it is the second oldest building in Scotland, the oldest would be Stilirling Castle. Strangely enough, this church has been a place where kings have been crowned, competing for the the privilege to Westminster Abbey in London. The church is very close to the castle, between a hill, some monuments and the old cemetery. It is located in the heart of the city and is a relic of the days when Scotland was forged as a nation. Incidentally, in the original name, not to be confused with the meaning of rude or abrupt or degradable, is the Medieval Scottish equivalent of the word ROOD which meant cross. This is another one of the places you must visit. If there is time and you´d like, I recommend going by the cementary until the castle. Beautiful views.
Cambuskenneth Abbey, also called Stirling Abbey, was founded by the Augustinian order after receiving permission from the Scottish King David I in the 12th century. Its architectural structure is very similar to the abbey situated next to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. Its busiest period was back in the 13th and 14th centuries when Stirling's central government depended heavily on its activities. Today the ruins remain, but unfortunately they are not very well-preserved (which is a shame in a city with as much historical legacy as Stirling). You can also see one of the towers. Admission is free and it does not take long to see everything. Due to its slightly off-track location, it is not popular with visitors, so you can probably enjoy some peace and quiet if you choose to go there.
The Royal Street or King Street ended the way referred to as the King's Road, which was once what the king used to arrive to Stirling to reach the castle of the city, one of the most important ones in Medieval Scotland. This street, in the heart of the city, took on a commercial scale by the end of the XIX Century, when it was reconstructed to adapt it to modern times. It is now full of stores and has one of the entrances to the commercial center l 'The Arcade', famous in Victorian times. At the end of the street, on top of it, you can find another building known as, ¨El Ateneo ", reading and library center, famous for a sculpture of William Wallace (if you remember the movie Braveheart) at the top of the entrance.
As in many other enclaves of Scotland, Mercat Cross marks the medieval mall. The top of the monument, showing the figure of a unicorn (known locally as "The Puggy"), is a recurring symbol of Scotland against the famous English Lion, which represents freedom and, at the same time, danger (this is considered a mythological animal). In this square, village festivals and rallies were held, including riots and demonstrations. The most famous was in December of 1706 where there was a popular revolt against the Act of Union (formation of what we now know as the UK or Britain).
'The back walk' is a small route in Stirling that follows the old city walls (completed in the sixteenth century), at the back, over the castle. Totally it's fit even for wheelchairs, this hybrid ride-park-gazebo starts from the statue of Rob Roy and leads to almost around the castle by its lower part, in the heart of the city in the garden area called Old Town (Old Town gardens). It overlooks Dumbarton Road, the theater (Albert Hall) along with several churches, mountains (direction of Trossarchs or Loch Lomond) and views over the royal park (King's garden). It's one of the most quiet and for anyone looking for a bit of relaxation in Stirling, this is definitely the place.
Stirling University includes several historic buildings that were built many centuries before the actual construction of the university. Undoubtedly, the oldest and most important one is the castle of Aithrey. The name suggests a battle between the Scots and Picts during the 9th century, but the castle as it's known today would not be built until the mid-18th century. It was built based on Italian designs and allegedly inspired by the landscape around the castle. This construction or rebuilding of a similar building in the same place was done by James Graham (Graham Clan), first Marquis of Montrose. The building was donated by the family to the college for conservation, as well as charitable and social purposes. It currently houses a language and sports department, among others. There is also a language summer course for non-English speakers which the students find more than attractive. This is undoubtedly one of the architectural jewels of the magnificently-conserved institute.
Near the theater at the end of the street, there are several statues that commemorate different historical people of Scotland. In this case, the statue is dedicated to Rob Roy (Robert MacGregor), leader of the Clan McGregor and example of honor for all Scots. He's a well-known character, popular outside of Scotland due to the film starring Liam Neeson. He's related to the noble houses of Argyll (Stirling) and Montrose, and represent for the Scottish what Robin Hood does for the English. His grave is near Stirling, in Balquhidder (I uploaded it to minube a few months ago), which was generally his area of operation in Scotland. He's a Scottish Hero of the 17th and 18th century and is somewhat less-known that William Wallace, but perhaps a bit more charming and modest in his achievements.
Stirling University, founded in 1967, is one of the most attractive universities in the UK, it was built surrounding a lake (Airthrey) that already existed with some modifications, at the foot of the famous monument to William Wallace and almost goes up to the Trossarchs (Scotland mountain range low). So even a walk through the campus leaves you with your mouth open, actually it's been nominated several times as one of the most attractive campuses. Inside is a palace-castle of the XVIII century, where among other activities English courses are taught in summer. One of the main reasons for its creation, along with a few others in the country, was to the foster the college and compete with the rest of Britain. Notable departments are English (linguistics), Scottish history (very famous and familiar on the History Channel when it comes to the history of Scotland) and humanities. This young university was named in 2009 as the best university in Scotland on a survey carried out by the Sunday Times. Of the many universities, no doubt this is one of the most beautiful, for work and to visit.
This modern bridge was inaugurated in May 2009, after several years of delays and controversy. The bridge links the Riverside area (along the river Forth) to the center, but its most important function was to avoid passing through the railway, with consequent dangers this business. The bridge represents the connection between Riverside and the city, but especially with respect to the central bus station of the city. Given that in Riverside are several car parks and is in the process the new recreational area of the city, where it is already the cinema and restaurants, the opening of the bridge has been more than appropriate. Not to mention the beautiful views of the city offering.
One of the main streets in the historical center of Stirling, currently it meets Station Street taking you directly to the train station. This street, the most commercial, is home to one of the entrances of the famous Arcade, 2 of the most modern shopping centers and the largest "The Thistle" (a symbolic name for the Scots). Similarly it meets another quintessential historic street, King Street. For all visitors to this city it's almost mandatory to go to Murray Place, whether for leisure, shopping or fun. It's simply a place that leads to many others, not forgetting that it's one of the oldest streets in the city.
The modern history of the film is interesting. The location of this cinema was previously in the center of town, in the same building as the casino, but after repeated complaints about gambling, it moved to old industrial site that were intended for an entertainment area and erected a complex with a cinema and some restaurants. Parking is free. The rooms are great, not too big but very well equipped. You can choose a VIP seat (leather, motion or vibration and wider on all sides), normal seats (like in theaters) or a sofa (two for couples or four for a family). But modern is not always good: there is no box office. A machine sold us the tickets and, annoyingly, you can only buy with a credit card which obviously not everyone can have or wants to have, including youngsters. Like everything in life, it has good and bad points.
This shopping centre is the oldest in the city and was once the largest in the country. Built in the Victorian age (approx. 1881-1882) the shopping centre has changed its name several times and maintains the splendour that it had, and the truth is that quite a contrast with newer designs that can be found in the same city of Stirling. Its corridors link two of the busiest streets of the city: Murray Place and King Street. Even for a snack, is, at least different and I think that is one of the musts in Stirling, even if you don´t buy anything, just to admire its construction and how it perfectly reflects the spirit of another era. They are usually visited from Monday to Saturday, between 8.30 and 17.30. It is evident that there isn´t much variety, but it has its charm.
The noble house of the Argyll family "Argyll's Lodging" is now a residence museum depicting a high class home of the seventeenth century, specifically the home of the Earls of Argyll, one of the most representative families in Scottish history (you can see an example of this in the film Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson). Its exterior and interior, conservation and representation of elements of the time are great, from the entrance courtyard, past the kitchen or any interior room. It's very near the castle, almost between the city center and the castle, so you can schedule a visit to both on the same day - undoubtedly the most representative monuments of Stirling.
The town of Stirling in central Scotland, in the UK, is known internationally for its beautiful attractions. You will soon find that there are tons of things to do in Stirling. Probably the most interesting of the attractions in Sterling is its castle, built on top of "Castle Hill" and surrounded on three sides by jagged cliffs. This castle is listed as a national monument and is one of the most important attractions in Stirling to visit. Other important buildings and things to see in Stirling are the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling Bridge, and the William Wallace National Monument, which is located outside the village. This monument is one of the most impressive of all Stirling attractions. It's a tower on the summit of Mount Craig Abbey, commemorating the figure of William Wallace.
There's lots of mysterious stuff to do in Stirling, but the most mysterious, especially if you believe in the paranormal world, is investigating its famous ghostly myths, such as the Lady Rose of the Castle and the Settle Inn, which is one of the famous ghostly places to visit in Stirling.
Besides seeing monuments and strolling through its streets, there are many more Stirling activities. Just look on Minube to find what to do in Stirling.