Stirling Journals

Stirling: Scotland's Heritage City

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A September 2005 trip to Stirling by moatway

Bannockburn National Heritage Centre Photo, Stirling, Scotland More Photos
Quote: Stirling can be a hub for travel through this part of Scotland, but it is a wonderful destination itself.

Stirling: Scotland's Heritage City

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Overview

Stirling Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
Stirling is rich in almost anything that one could want. It is a fairly compact city within driving distance to a number of other destinations. It has shopping, a variety of restaurants, and a number of historic attractions. The visitor should see the castle, the Wallace Monument, and the Old Town Jail at the very least, and should spend some time walking the streets of Stirling’s Old Town, the area just below the castle with cobbled streets, much of which retains its original character, even as it is turned over to restaurants and shops. The shopper will find that Port Street has been turned into a pedestrian area between Dumbarton Road and King Street, and exploring up either of the latter provides ...Read More

Ashgrove House

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Hotel

Ashgrove House Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
Welcome to the gracious John Allan-designed house of Dorothy and Hamish Mailer. A Scottish historically listed building built around 1870, it retains all its original grandeur. It is one of the Scottish Tourist Board’s five-star bed-and-breakfasts (Scotland’s Best B and B’s), and it’s virtually impossible to find fault. The Mailers keep three rooms for guests during the tourist season. We stayed in the Victorian Room, £130 for 2 nights. It is a large front room with magnificent moldings, a marble fireplace, loveseat, and four-poster bed. There are all the other niceties: hair dryer, remote-control TV, CD player/alarm, and tea and coffeemaking faci...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 29, 2005

Ashgrove House
2 Park Ave.
Stirling, Scotland FK8 2LX
44 (0) 1786 472640

Alexander the Great

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Restaurant

Quote:
The restaurant, a pleasant room in yellow with well-set tables and an attractive bar at the back, boasts "authentic Greek cuisine." Who am I to argue, as this turned into an enjoyable evening with good food and quick, if not brusque, service. Two kinds of olives immediately appear on the table as you contemplate the menu, which consists of hot and cold starters, a list of meat dishes, and a list of house specialties. We chose from the specialty list: kleftaki (slow-cooked lamb with herbs) and meat moussaka. Both choices more than lived up to our expectations and were served with a lightly oiled salad, rice, and potatoes. The beer list had two Greek beers and Stell,a and t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 29, 2005

Alexander the Great
5 Baker Street
Stirling, Scotland FK8 1BJ
01786 446 277

Italia Nostra

Restaurant

Quote:
Italia Nostra is a pleasantly decorated room with an open kitchen. It features a beamed ceiling, attractive coloration, oil paintings, a few prints, and nice lighting. The tables are well covered and well lit.

The menu is huge, with a range of antipastos, minestre, fish, pizza, carne, pasta, and sweets. The wine list tends to be expensive.

We found the room busy, the service attentive, and the patrons happy. We chose pizza margherita to start, and both of us ordered spaghetti carbonara. It was all excellent. The house red was an inexpensive Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, not the best, but passable at £11.

All said, it was a great evening. I would do it again in a second.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 29, 2005

Italia Nostra
25 Baker St.
Stirling, Scotland FK8 1BJ
01786 433 208

Bannockburn National Heritage Centre

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Attraction

Bannockburn National Heritage Centre Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
Access to the visitor centre on the outskirts of Stirling is 5 pounds. It provides, essentially, a lesson in Scottish history beginning with the decision of Edward I to proclaim himself overlord of Scotland, the Scottish king having unexpectedly passed away. Scots, led by William Wallace, defied that decision at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Wallace would be executed in 1305 and the next year, Robert Bruce decided to overcome factional disputes by killing John Comyn, his rival for Scottish leadership. After a number of initial reverses, Bruce would use hit-and-run tactics to defeat the English and exercise control over much of Scotland. His brother was laying siege to Stirling Castle an...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 29, 2005

Bannockburn National Heritage Centre
Route A9
Stirling, Scotland

Old Town Jail

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Attraction | "The Old Jail"

Old Town Jail Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
Built to address the evils of the jail that had preceded it, and which stood directly across the way, the Old Jail appears to be a small fortress, its blackened stone and high walls staring out ominously at the street. It was built at a time of reform when government studies began to question the wisdom of housing as many as 25 men, women and children in the same small cell. Also coming to the fore was an interest in the causes of crime and whether or not the criminal could be brought back into the general population as a useful citizen. The 2005 price was 5.75 pounds for an adult admission and the tours are timed. Your tour group will be met at the door by an early 19th century hangman, and a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 29, 2005

Old Town Jail
St. John Street
Stirling, Scotland FK8 1EA
01786 450050

National Wallace Monument

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Attraction | "The Wallace Monument"

National Wallace Monument Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
The Wallace Monument looms over the town of Bridge of Allan and is visible from many points in the Stirling area. The admission price is 6 pounds (Adult, 2005) which includes an audio guide. Wallace was, of course, one of Scotland’s greatest heroes and was immortalized in the movie "Braveheart". (In Scottish hearts, he did not need to be further immortalized… Robert Burns had already written "Scots wha hae wi Wallace bled, Scots wham Bruce has aften led, Welcome to your gory bed, Or to victorie."). Wallace was, of course, victorious at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, the beginning of the Scottish independence movement against Edward I. Leaving the reception centre, you will proceed up a rather st...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 29, 2005

National Wallace Monument
Summit of Abbey Craig
Stirling, Scotland FK9 5LF
+44 (1786) 472140

Stirling Castle

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Story/Tip

Stirling Castle Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
Stirling Castle is a must-see. But on the other hand, at the risk of a pun, I found Stirling sterile; as you can see, I have really mixed feelings about it. The castle rock is a magnificent site, looming over the town, and it’s probably been fortified a number of times before the 12th century, when actual castle building seems to have started here. It has been a royal castle since that time, although much of what you’ll see is 15th century and later. As castles go, it’s an impressive fortification and has seen its share of war – the initial phases of the wars for independence in the 13th century and Bruce’s campaign in the early 14th century. Robert Bruce saw Stirling and other castles as symbol...Read More

Daytripping Dunblane to Aberfoyle

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Story/Tip

Dunblane Cathedral Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
Stirling is an admirable location for daytrips. It’s about 30 miles from Perth and Glasgow and even closer to the National Park at Loch Lomond. We chose to set out on a little loop that would feature some interesting historical sites, a bit of Scottish life and some beautiful scenery. Dunblane is only about 4 miles away and the town features a magnificent early 14th century cathedral. You will see a building that I considered truly wonderful and in a fine state of repair. It has had its ups-and-downs through the years; for example, the nave had no roof for 300 years although the chancel continued to be used for services. Nevertheless, the stonework is largely original and the 129 foot-lon...Read More