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places to visit in stirling

Once the capital of Scotland, the city of Stirling has a population of 45,750 which makes it the smallest city in Scotland; indeed it is smaller than many of Scotland's larger towns, although the city is reputed to be the third fastest growing area of Scotland in terms of population. This historic city is located right in the heart of central Scotland and is known as the 'Gateway to the Highlands'. Once you have explored the local areas, Stirling is an ideal base for travelling to Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.

Main areas of interest in and around Stirling to visit are:

Stirling Castle (containing the Great Hall (restored 1999) and the Renaissance Palace (restoration completed 2011) which rivalled any building in Europe when it was constructed between 1490 and 1600. Castle Hill, on which Stirling Castle is built, forms part of The Stirling Sill, a formation of volcanic rock around 350 million years old.

In more modern times the castle esplanade, has been used as an open-air concert venue for several noted acts, some of whom have used Stirling Castle and the surrounding scenery to film "in concert" DVDs. These acts include, amongst others, REM, Bob Dylan, and Wet Wet Wet. The esplanade also hosts the city's Hogmanay celebrations. The Regimental Museum and Home Headquarters of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders are located in the King's Old Building.

Mar’s Wark
The shell of a splendid renaissance style townhouse is all that remains of a once grand building at the head of the Old Town. Commissioned around 1569 by the powerful Earl of Mar, the hereditary Keeper of Stirling Castle and one time Regent of Scotland during the minority of James VI.

Wallace Monument
A tower monument located on Abbey Craig, dedicated to the Scottish hero and ‘Guardian of Scotland', Sir William Wallace.

Argyll's Lodgings
Scotland's finest surviving renaissance mansion. A 17th Century town residence built circa 1630 by Sir William Alexander, founder of Nova Scotia and Viscount Canada. He became Secretary of State for Scotland and was appointed the first Earl of Stirling.

Bannockburn Heritage Centre
Today, in the Heritage Centre close to the Borestone (Bruce's command post for the battle), you can experience the epic encounter in an audio-visual show and exhibition, and there are exciting plans for improvements on site for 2014. Relive the action of Scotland’s most famous battle – Bannockburn.

Stirling Bridge
The site of William Wallace’s greatest victory on 11 September 1297

Church of the Holy Rude
In her early years, Mary, Queen of Scots worshipped here and her infant son James VI was crowned here in 1567

Smith Museum & Art Gallery
The Stirling Smith has served Stirling for over 130 years. Take a visual tour of the building, including the galleries, the visitor service areas and Ailie's Garden – a popular and acclaimed attraction in its own right. See the world’s oldest football and curling stone. The paintings of the museum’s founder, Thomas Smith, form the core of the gallery collection.

The Tolbooth
Located in the heart of Stirling City’s historic old town, this is a former jail where visitors can experience an authentic live prison tour.

Today, the Tolbooth is the base for Stirling Council's Heritage & Cultural Services and a centre for music and the arts.

Blair Drummond Safari Park
Drive-thru safari park, a great day out, plenty of places to sit and relax.

Cambuskenneth Abbey
Houses to the tomb of James III and his wife Queen Margaret of Denmark from the 1480‘s. A fine display of medieval grave slabs and architectural fragments.

Macrobert Arts Centre
Located in the beautiful grounds of Stirling University, the Macrobert Arts Centre is a place where people of all ages can enjoy live events, theatre, film, dance, music, comedy and art.

Go-Ape Adventure Centre
Go Ape at Aberfoyle! One lush green forest and a healthy dollop of breathtaking scenery; a smattering of tree-top high wires, tricky crossings and wind-in-your-face zip wires. Take to the trees and speed down Britain's two longest zip slides.

Go on and Visit Stirling!