Written by linzeeloulabelle on 17 Nov, 2011
My best friend, Ryan, lives in Menstrie which is not that far from Stirling and every year, I go up to stay with him at least once. As Menstrie is a small village, we don't spend much time there and instead venture into Stirling to…Read More
My best friend, Ryan, lives in Menstrie which is not that far from Stirling and every year, I go up to stay with him at least once. As Menstrie is a small village, we don't spend much time there and instead venture into Stirling to do things. The first time I went up to see Ryan, I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I didn't really know what size the city was or what there would be to do there. Luckily, I was shown that there is a lot to do even though it isn't massive. The first thing most girls want to know about when visiting somewhere new is the shopping. Stirling has a pretty decent shopping centre which is situated less than 5 minutes away from the train station and access right next to the bus station. Thistles shopping centre has more than 90 shops and you can pretty much find everything you could possibly need there. Inside is a big Marks and Spenser which also has a supermarket so you can clothes and food shop at the same time. I was happy to see that there was a lot of clothes shops for girls as well as a pretty big branch of Waterstones. I couldn't have been happier shopping here. As soon as I arrive in Stirling, we always go out for some lunch considering I have usually been travelling for at least 5 hours and am starving by this time. Stirling has plenty of choice for everyone in regards to food and restaurants. Round the corner from the train station is a McDonalds if you want a cheap and easy option or if you need to rush before getting a bus somewhere. There are also plenty of pubs within walking distance from the train station so again, you can find somewhere pretty reliable for a cheap and easy meal. Ryan and I tend to stick to pubs because we know what we're getting and it is always easy to pick somewhere. However, there are also some really nice little cafes. A couple of years back we went to a cafe near Thistles and had sandwiches and jacket potatoes. The prices here were extremely reasonable and I would definitely have gone there again but we couldn't remember exactly where it is. We have also been to a few different fast food takeaways here after nights out but honestly, I was too drunk to remember where they were. I have always enjoyed the food though. Stirling is home to a pretty large university so is very much a student city in some ways. Because of this, there are plenty of bars and a couple of clubs in the city centre. I wasn't really expecting a good night out here for some reason but it turned out to be one of the best I had in a long time. People in Stirling seemed to be extremely friendly, unlike where I'm from, and even though they were really drunk, there was no trouble. Even just going outside for a cigarette meant talking to random people about random things and generally just getting to know people. I had never experienced something like this before on a night out and I was quite pleasantly surprised by it. I don't only like eating and shopping though in Stirling. There is plenty to do for tourists. First off is the Wallace Monument which commemorates Sir William Wallace. The walk up to the monument is a bit of a trek in itself before you even get to see anything as there are 246 steps on a spiral to walk up. Before I even got to the monument, I was bored of the walking and wanted to go back down but I persevered and carried on going. Although we didn't pay to go inside the attraction, it was quite impressive to see just from the outside and to take in a piece of history. A few years ago, there was also a statue at the monument which was carved to look like Mel Gibson in Braveheart but due to controversy and vandalism, it was removed. Next is Stirling Castle, one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland. On top of yet again, another hill, is a very impressive and large castle which took my breath away a little bit at first sight. The exterior and grounds of the castle are a sight to see in themselves without seeing anything inside. I would have been more than happy to have just walked around the grounds and to take in the beautiful architecture of the building. In order to make the most of this trip, we paid for the guided tour of the castle instead of being left to explore on our own and it really made a massive difference. The tour guides at the castle certainly know what they're talking about and really make the castle come to life, rather than looking around at things I didn't understand. Stirling is also quite famous because of it's supposed hauntings. Stirling Castle is said to be haunted by a servant of Mary Queen of Scots. A ghost walk is available during the months of July and August and around Halloween which starts from the Old Jail and they start at 8pm, costing £6 for adults. I loved doing this activity as ghosts etc are something that have always interested me and the walk was fantastic. The guide made it as creepy as possible, pointing out anywhere that there has been supposed sightings of ghosts and explaining what had been seen and when. For the price, even though the walk is only 40 minutes long, it is an amazing thing to go and do and is also very interesting. Even though I have been going to Stirling for a good few years now, there is still so much more for me to do and see there and I can't wait to go again! Close
Written by Green Dragon on 13 Nov, 2008
My last day in Scotland, sigh. In all honesty, I was tired of living out of my suitcase. I was tired of traveling with my family. However, I could have easily set up house somewhere and settled right in. My first…Read More
My last day in Scotland, sigh. In all honesty, I was tired of living out of my suitcase. I was tired of traveling with my family. However, I could have easily set up house somewhere and settled right in. My first guess would have been either Portree or Grantown-on-Spey, as there seemed to be plenty going on in either place to keep me happy, and plenty within easy visiting reach for many years to come. I love them to death, but I would have had to send my family back first. I could bring the friends back, but the family had to go. OK, you get the point.We had several options for our last day. Should we go on a cruise on Loch Katrine or Loch Lomond? How about Loch Etive? Perhaps back to Stirling to do the Hop-on/Hop-off tour? Well, we figured it looked like rain again, big surprise, so we decided Stirling would offer drier options throughout the day. On the way we took a detour to find Balquhidder Chapel, where Rob Roy MacGregor was buried. I’m glad I did, though it was a very tiny, windy road. Like I wasn’t used to these already? The Chapel itself was sweet, tucked away in a tiny village on the edge of said tiny windy road. I’m glad we found it, and the road continued on through a very dark and gloomy forest. I expected a Black Rider, a Nazgul, to come down that path towards us any minute. The first stop in Stirling was the Wallace Monument. It was not too hard to find with the GPS on our side, but it wasn’t on the GBHC. The guy still gave us 10% off, but M and D decided to wait for us in the car. J and I took the shuttle up the hill, boy were we glad we did. Even with our newly created stamina, this climb would have about killed us. The bus almost did kill several of the pedestrians trying to make their way up this twisted road around the hill. There isn’t much room for the bus, much less the people walking next to it, as the road wound around the hill several times to get to the top. However, we made it up, and listened to a fascinating re-enactor tell the story of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. He was good enough to recount some of the real history behind the battle and the politics, as opposed to that in the movie Braveheart. We decided against the heart-stopping climb up the 248 steps into the monument itself, and satisfied ourselves with photographs of the building. I was in the gift shop and got stuck behind a couple French school children buying gifts. That would have been fine, except their friends kept coming up and giving them more things to buy, so that we almost missed our bus back down. Back down in the car, we thought we could catch the hop-on/hop-off bus nearby, and we could. However, waiting for the bus the rain picked up and felt like we were back in the islands, so we skittered off to the car for warmth and dry safety. We thought about lunching in Callander, especially as we found the one Italian restaurant in the area, Ciro’s, but we couldn’t find parking ANYWHERE. We went in and out of streets, got lost in residential areas with cul-de-sacs, and finally escaped back to the main road in defeat. Instead, we pushed on to the Falls of Dochart Inn again.Lunch this time wasn’t as good as before. Part of it was that the dining room was full, so we had to eat at the microscopic bar tables, and thus split up into two tables. Part was the smoky fire right next to us. Part of it was that my venison burger was overdone and resembled the feared hockey puck of legend. The Cullen skink I ordered, in contrast to the last time, was thin and runny, and I couldn’t find any bits of fish in it at all. Sigh. I don’t think the fact that this is my last day in Scotland colored my judgment, but everything seemed off today.I was rather low and depressed because here I was, my last afternoon in Scotland, and I was sitting in the B&B, watching TV. It was raining again outside, we had already explored north, south, east and west of the area, and tomorrow we would be leaving at the break of dawn. Sigh, again. So, I watched a Frank Sinatra movie called Joey with Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth. Then Kindergarten Cop was the only non-Wimbledon, non-Big Brother option offered. Wimbledon was on two of the four stations, come on now, folks. Another program later was ‘How Television Changed Britain’, on game shows, and their decline in intellectualism, which was actually fairly interesting.We had dinner at a small café down the road called Shutters, while D watched the season finale of Doctor Who, which didn’t air in the US for several months. I tried the lasagna, fully expecting to be horrified. J had the chicken Kiev. Mine was weird, but tasty. There was more cheese than pasta in it, and very little red sauce, but it wasn’t bad. J pierced the thick coating on his chicken Kiev, and poured out the garlic butter over the veggies. It worked!The dessert was a last sticky toffee pudding and a last strawberries and cream, and we went home. I repacked everything, putting all my gifts in my carryon and all my clothing in the checked baggage. We had to wake at around 4am to make our 9:30am flight out of Glasgow, so I went to bed around 9pm, despite the last afternoon light streaming in the lightly shaded window. Close
Written by moatway on 29 Sep, 2005
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…Read More
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-long nave now features a handsome barrel-vaulted ceiling with armorial bosses. In fact, the Victorians did a lot of renovation during the 1890’s, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
As cathedrals go, it is interesting in that it has no transepts. Apparently the footings were placed for them, but the initial construction ended during a period of plague, so the transepts may simply have been put on hold (forever). In the choir, you will see 19th century stalls and a new organ with a majestic case. The effect is excellent. There is a poignant touch in the brasses in the floor of the chancel. They mark the resting place of Margaret, Euphemia and Sybilla, the daughters of John 1st, Lord Drummond. The three were poisoned by members of the nobility to prevent the marriage of Margaret to James IV. The nobles wanted their king to marry Princess Margaret of England. The setting in which they rest is beautiful… in the apse there is one large Gothic window, gifted to the cathedral in 1915 and along one wall of the chancel there are 6 more relatively new stained glass windows. The grave site of the three sisters is not the most touching point in the building. In the nave, a simple engraved stone commemorates the deaths of 16 Dunblane five and six-year-old schoolchildren and their teacher at the hands of a gunman in 1996. It is hard to believe that such a horrible thing could have happened in such a peaceful town.
Down the road, in Doune, you will find Doune Castle, which was built around the same time as the cathedral. Built by Robert Stewart, Lord Albany (the second son of Robert II), it has none of the beauty and little of the interest of the building just visited. A Historic Scotland property (admission, 2005 was 3.50 pounds), it is a shell with some of the rooms intact and bare. You can see the great hall, the kitchen and some private rooms, but only the inner hall, with its late medieval style paneling and two fireplaces is recognizable as a room that would still have some use today.
More interesting than the castle is the Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre, just on the other side of Doune. I quite enjoyed our exploration in the two halls in which a great number of dealers have set up displays of their wares. There is furniture, coins, china, militaria, crystal and commemorative items (the full gamut). There is also a restaurant on the property. A little further down the road is the town of Callendar, the doorway to the Trossachs and Loch Lomond Park. We passed by the Rob Roy exhibit at the information centre in the middle of the town, opting to visit instead one of the two woolen shops on the edge of the town, The Trossachs Mill Store. Unfortunately, their weaving exhibition was closed and apart from a shop that carried most of the same items that one sees in such stores all over this part of Scotland, the only interesting sight was that of Hamish, the Highland bull, weighing in at over one ton with a horn spread of over 36 inches. Hamish is accustomed to visitors and doesn’t mind having his picture taken.
From Callendar to Aberfoyle, the road runs through the park. The scenery is just incredible with lochs and mountains. At Aberfoyle, it seems that everyone visits the Scottish Wool Centre. Part of it is the same shirts, sweaters and jackets that you’ve seen everywhere else at the same prices, but it does have its attractions. The gift shop also includes a selection of whiskeys, Scottish beers and foods as well. There is also a large cafeteria, but most of all, it’s about the Border Collie. On Fridays, you can watch border collie trials and during the rest of the week there is a half-hour show in the theatre featuring a number of the dogs. The routine is both fun and funny and children and adults alike will enjoy it… a chance to get up close and friendly with a number of the working dogs. The cost of the show is 2.50 pounds; we thought it was worth it.
This trip took us between five and six hours, and if we’d stopped at the Rob Roy centre in Callendar, it would have put us closer to seven, but as my wife said, "You don’t get a sense of what Scotland is really like in the cities. This was a really good day."
Written by miss_vixen on 18 Apr, 2004
Pubs, clubs, bars and other stuff:
My favourite pub in Stirling is O'Neills, an Irish pub in the city centre. It provides Guinness and Magner's cider as well as all the usual drinks. On Thursday and Sunday evenings they host live traditional Irish and…Read More
Pubs, clubs, bars and other stuff:
My favourite pub in Stirling is O'Neills, an Irish pub in the city centre. It provides Guinness and Magner's cider as well as all the usual drinks. On Thursday and Sunday evenings they host live traditional Irish and Scottish music, and the place has a great atmosphere. The food is quite good, very filling and good value for money. Another friendly pub is Droothy Neebours, which means thirsty friends and takes its name from the poem 'Tam o'Shanter' by Rabbie Burns. The ceiling is decorated with a scene from the poem, and the pub is decorated to look like a traditional bothy.
If you prefer bars to pubs then Obo Eru is the place to go, tucked in the basement under Planet India restaurant. It serves a range of cocktails and beers from around the world, and usually has a DJ playing some funky tunes. In the city centre Cambio and Pivo are good places to start, before going on round the corner to the Yard for some dancing.
Stirling isn't really the place to go for a night of wild clubbing, there are only two in the city. The FUBAR is the larger of the two, and the more popular, but Enigma often has the better atmosphere. They cost around the same to get in, but sometimes tickets can be bought cheaper in the street from students hosting the events.
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…Read More
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 symbols of English oppression and razed Stirling after the battle at Bannockburn. When the English invaded some years later, they would start rebuilding the site, and from that time on, construction would continue through the 14th and 15th centuries. The castle would again see siege in 1651 by the Parliamentary army, when it was taken, and again in 1746, during the Jacobite rebellion, when the castle resisted the Stewart forces.
Entry to the castle is £8 (2005, adult), plus there’s a required £2 for parking. Guided tours leave regularly from just inside the second gate, through which you will pass. In the outer close, you will be made familiar with the construction of the castle, some of its history, and, if it’s not foggy and raining, as it was when we visited, you will be able to enjoy the views over the countryside.
Passing into the inner close, you are surrounded by the castle’s principle buildings. The Great Hall, the pale yellow building that seems to shine in the sunlight, has just passed through a 35-year renovation. For many years, it served as an army barracks and additional floors were built into its interior, but now it is restored. Originally built around 1500, it is a huge rectangular space with five massive fireplaces, a totally restored roof, and windows high in the walls hung with draperies. At one end, there is a dais with a long refectory table, but otherwise, the room is quite unornamented.
Next to the Great Hall is the Chapel Royal, which was built on the site in 1594. It features rounded windows and doors reminiscent of Renaissance Italy and is a large space, but again, there is little to see here. The new timber ceiling with its modern lighting has a more modern Scandinavian feel to it than anything else. Next to it, in the King’s Old Building, which was late 15th century and badly damaged by fire in 1855, you will find the museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. As regimental museums go, this is a good one.
Finally, in the Inner Close, there is the Palace, built by James V in the 16th century. It is in the process of a full archeological restoration and has been stripped to bare stone. When its reconstruction is done, it will be redone to the time of its original construction and be furnished.
There is more to see… the kitchens have been redone well and there are gun batteries and some displays, but as I said, the major parts of the castle are a bit sterile, rather bare.
Your ticket to the castle includes admission to Argyll’s Lodgings, just down the street. I recommend you go. It is the 17th-century home of Archibald, the ninth Earl of Argyll. You will see a number of furnished rooms, and it’s worth the small amount of time that it will take.