Situated at the very heart of Scotland is the vintage capital of Scotland known as Stirling, the county town of Stirlingshire. The name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic term “Sruighlea”. Stirling is very historical in its setting.
It is here that the patriot, Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce who led the legendary Battle of Bannockburn were commemorated. Stirling is also Scotland’s youngest city approaching the status of city in the summer of 2002. Before that, it was only recognized as a Royal Burgh.
Stirling is a beautiful place where tourist’s can explore and experience hundreds of years of rich Scottish history. Stirling is also now the modern tourism, administrative and manufacturing centre. Stirling had been a witness to gory murders, very long sieges and bloody battles and Scotland’s long conflict with England, taking place at the Stirling Bridge and at the nearby village of Bannockburn. But now it is a silent and lovely location that attracts thousands of visitors.
The first castle was built on top of the 250 ft. crag in the 11th century by Alexander I. William Wallace led his distinguished, triumph in the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the victorious Battle of Bannockburn was commanded by King Robert the Bruce in 1314.
Stirling castle witnessed the crowning of Mary, the Queen of the Scots in 1543. For most of the 18th century Stirling was a fairly small market town with a population of around 4,000 and it was still a minor inland port. The University of Stirling that was opened in the year 1967 is at the Greenfield site just outside Stirling which has now developed into a major research centre, quartering students from nearly 80 nations. Stirling was given the status of a city in 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee to the throne.
Climate and Weather
Stirling has a comfortable atmosphere. Like most cities in Scotland, you cannot anticipate the correct weather of Stirling for all times. Chances are that the rain is streaming down and a few minutes thereafter the sun is shining away. April to September is the better time to visit Stirling, and if you are coming here over the winter, you are alerted to pack your luggage with clothes that keep you hot. Stirling is established among the firths of Clyde and Forth.
To the north of Stirling are the Trossachs and the starting of the Scottish Highlands and to the south are the central Lowlands and the Forth estuary. To the west the maritime influence of the Atlantic Ocean and to the east the continental influence of Europe. Stirling has a population of just 46,000. Ethnic minorities make up less than 1% of the population and are mainly from Pakistan and China.
The foremost way to visit Stirling is by train from Glasgow’s Queen St. or a bus from Buchanan Bus Station. The Train Station of Stirling is set right in the central of Stirling, where all the major sights are only a few minutes away. Trains departs more frequent but takes longer then a bus due to the coverage of many locations. Stirling is also easily reachable by car from either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
From Edinburgh you can visit Stirling by bus, which runs every hour, going from the bus station at St Andrew Square. From Waverley Station in Edinburgh a train also departs for Stirling every 30 minutes. From Glasgow, buses also depart hourly and take about 45 minutes to reach Stirling.
Bannockburn Heritage Centre
The Bannockburn Heritage Centre in Stirling features an exhibition of the period from the Battle of Bannockburn, and the audio-visual presentation. It offers a great insight into the history of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.
The Callendar House of Stirling introduces you to 600 years of Scotland’s chronology from medieval times to the twentieth century. Features the awesome painted ceiling of the Cromwell Stair, the astonishing Morning Room and Drawing Room. This is a must-see spot for everyone.
Regimental Museum, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
The Regimental Museum in Stirling exhibits military artefacts from all the major episodes in the Regiment’s history of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. It additionally displays a magnificent collection of silver medals and paintings. There are many grand historical collections.
Kilmahog Woolen Mill
The Kilmahog Woolen Mill in Stirling is a 250 year old mill from Scotland’s textile and industrial heritage complete with original water wheel.
National Wallace Monument
The National Wallace Monument features a recreation of Wallace’s trial in Westminster Hall.
The Castle of Stirling
The Stirling Castle hallmarks the Great Hall and the Gatehouse of James IV, the exceptional Palace of James V, the Chapel Royal of James VI and the artillery fortifications of the 16th to 18th centuries; it is one of the finest of all Scottish castles and an important one too.
Smith Art Gallery and Museum
The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is the focus for Scottish history accumulations, fine art and archaeology.
SS Sir Walter Scott
The SS Sir Walter Scott is a passenger service on the sheltered waters of Loch Katrine and is the last screw-driven steamship in service on Scotland’s inland waters.
The Deer Park of Glengoulandie
It is another most interesting location in Stirling. The Glengoulandie Deer Park has a fine herd of deers, features highland cattle, geese both wild and tame, mallard and Muscovy ducks, rare breeds of sheep and goats.
Church of the Holy Rude
The original parish Kirk of Stirling, used for the coronation in 1567 of James VI, it features the largest pipe organ in Scotland, built by Rushworth & Dreaper in 1940.