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Not to Miss in Stirling, Scotland

Stirling, Scotland isn’t as well known as say Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Loch Ness.  But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have places of interest, especially if you are interested in William Wallace.  The most famous leader in the war for Scottish Independence, Wallace’s history ties closely with Stirling.  And even if you don’t know much about Wallace, this is the perfect place to start learning.  But don’t miss out on Stirling’s other historic sites as well.

As Stirling is less than an hour from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is perfect for a day trip.  Here are 3 places we think you should visit in Stirling.

jackdaws at stirling castle in scotland

jackdaws perch atop Stirling castle

 

  • Stirling Castle

gatehouse entry into stirling castle

enter the castle at the gatehouse, the only side not situated on a cliff

 

If you are visiting Scotland, then castles are surely on your to-do list.  The castle in Stirling should be no exception.  It is a beautiful castle sat strategically on a hill surrounded by 3 sides of sheer cliffs.  One of the largest in Scotland, it has plenty to see.  Walk the outer walls and take in the surrounding views…you are on a high hill after all and can see for miles.  Or head inside where Stirling Castle sets itself apart by having costumed performers telling you about life during it’s heyday.  Keep your eyes peeled for the green lady, a ghost of a servant that is said to roam the castle.

a chair and drapery inside the castle

inside Stirling castle, many of the rooms have antique items on display

 

  • Old Stirling Bridge

stirling bridge where william wallace fought and won

Stirling bridge, built in the 1500s and situated just down from the original bridge where Wallace made a stand

 

We actually found this bridge just by driving through Stirling after our castle visit,  not realizing the past that it holds.  Technically just down from the original which is no longer standing, this bridge, built in the 1500s, represents the “Battle of Stirling Bridge.”  Fought during the war for Scottish Independence, it was held by William Wallace against the English.  As the bridge is narrow, the English could only cross so many men at once and were defeated by the much smaller Scottish army on the other side with Wallace and Andrew de Moray at the lead.  And if what it represents isn’t enough, the actual standing bridge has it’s own history of hangings and war.

monument to wallace next to stirling bridge

a monument to Wallace sits next to the bridge

 

  • National Wallace Monument

wallace monument in stirling, scotland

the Wallace monument rises beyond the tree line in Stirling, Scotland

 

The Wallace Monument is probably the best place to stop if you are interested in William Wallace.  Built in the mid-1800s, it supposedly sits on the location where William Wallace surveyed and gathered his army before the Battle of Stirling Bridge.  It does rest on a hilltop and would offer a good vantage point to see the opposing army coming, so it is highly possible.  The monument houses Wallace’s sword and also contains a small hall of fame featuring famous Scots through history.  And if you are in good shape, climb the 246 steps up the tower for amazing views.

Unfortunately the inside closed before we could get there so we missed out.  But we would have loved to have seen his sword, said to be more than 5 ft long.

There you have it, 3 things to see during a day trip to Stirling.  If you can spend more than a day in town, consider checking out Dunblane Cathedral, the local distillery, and the scary ghost walk that will have you shaking in your bed that night.