Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley has some of the most geographically diverse areas in Scotland, which provide breathtaking natural sights and beautiful local wildlife. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is a particular haven for animal-lovers, with everything from black grouse and red squirrels to roe deer living within its beguiling boundaries. The Trossachs Bird of Prey Trail gives you the chance to spot red kites, peregrine falcons and even sparrowhawks as it winds through the likes of Callander and Cambusmore.
The region is also famous for its iconic lochs, and few natural spots have the power to inspire like the legendary Loch Lomond. At 39 km long, the freshwater loch has the largest surface area of any lake in Britain. Unsurprisingly, it is one of Scotland’s most popular watersports venues, open to canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, jet-skiing and speedboating. Further east, the Trossachs is home to the equally enchanting Loch Katrine, made famous by being the titular lake of Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake.
Stirling has some of the strongest royal connections in Scotland. The city of Stirling’s iconic castle sits atop a striking crag and is one of Scotland's most popular tourist attractions. The castle also holds a rich royal significance, with the likes of Mary Queen of Scots being crowned there. Just outside the city, the Wallace Monument is perched on the summit of Abbey Craig and proudly commemorates legendary Scottish knight William Wallace. To the southeast, the majestic Blackness Castle on the Firth of Forth’s south shore is another popular visitor destination.
The delightful village of Aberfoyle, which provides an alternative route to the Trossachs with the Duke’s Road, has a storied past with Scottish myth. The village’s most famous resident, Reverend Robert Kirk, believed Aberfoyle’s Doon Hill marked the pathway to the land of the Fairies. Today, visitors often run around the pine tree at the hill’s summit while taking in the Doon Hill Fairy Trail in the hopes these mythical beings will appear. Travel south to Killin and you’ll stumble upon another legend at the picturesque Falls of Dochart, where the last member of the fighting McNab clan is said to haunt a nearby burial ground.
If you’re more interested in enchanted forests than fairytales, then the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park to the northwest of Stirling provides some of the most stunning surrounds in the region. Aside from a range of beautiful mountains and moorlands, the park also hosts the award-winning Go Ape! high wire forest adventure at David Marshall Lodge Visitor Centre. For those seeking adventure, its range of treetop ladders, bridges and zip wires make it the perfect day out.
Stirling also marks the site of some of the most important battles in Scotland’s history. The Battle of Bannockburn waged in 1314 was perhaps the pivotal encounter during the Wars of Independence. Stirling Bridge also played a crucial role during the conflict with England, with the battle fought around it in 1297 proving to be William Wallace’s most famous victory.
Stretching between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde, the Antonine Wall is a sweeping, Roman-built fortification and UNESCO World Heritage Site that opens a window into ancient Scotland. You can find out more about the wall (which dates back to the 2nd century) at an exhibition in Callendar House. The vast, stately manor was built during the 14th century and today its period-dressed staff are only too happy to fill visitors in on Scotland’s fascinating, ancient past.
Whether it’s incomparable lochs or a remarkable range of castles, Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley span a magical slice of Scotland similar to that seen in Disney•Pixar’s Brave.