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The Ochils from the Wallace Monument, Stirling

Destinations and maps

Day Trips and Day Tours from Stirling

With its magnificent castle and historic old town, Stirling is one of Scotland's most beautiful and fascinating places. It's no wonder that the city and its surrounding landscape has been used as a backdrop on numerous films and TV shows from Outlander to Monty Python. Add in the epic Wallace Monument, ancient churches, museums and art galleries, and you have the perfect holiday destination for history buffs. Highlights include the Church of the Holy Rude, The Smith Art Gallery, Cambuskenneth Abbey and the Macroberts Arts Centre at the University of Stirling. What a line-up!

Stirling's relatively small size means that you can explore the city in a day or two, so you may be wondering what else you can do in the local area. Here are some ideas on how to have a great day out from Stirling.

Stirling has a reliable bus service which will take you around the Stirling area, as well as further afield to Scotland's other incredible cities. You won't have to travel too far to find things to see and do, including some fantastic hidden gems. Why not take the short bus ride south to Falkirk and see an engineering marvel? The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. Built with over 1,200 tonnes of steel, the wheel is a great day out for the family and great to combine with the magnificent Kelpies by Andy Scott, which are five miles (8 km) away. 

Hop on a bus in the opposite direction to visit the pretty town of Callander, on the edge of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. This journey will take you around 40 minutes and once there you'll find yourself in the heart of Rob Roy country. A haven for walking, fishing and cycling, it's also a great place to simply stop for a picnic and take in the amazing views.

The village of Dollar is another charming place to explore on a day out from Stirling. Around forty minutes west of the city by bus, the village is probably best known for Dollar Academy, one of Scotland's top independent schools. Take an hour or two to explore Dollar Museum which has exhibitions illustrating the history of the village, ranging from prehistoric times to the present day.

Fans of Outlander will find brilliant tours around Stirling, as there are many locations that were used in filming the show. Join an Outlander bus tour and see Doune Castle, Culross, Aberdour Castle and Linlithgow Palace. All of these locations are within 30 miles (50km) of the city. If you are looking for more information on Outlander hotspots, check out our 12 Day Outlander Itinerary.

Stirling's setting in the heart of Scotland's central belt means that many trains pass through the station on their way across the country. You'll find that trips to other cities in the central belt are short and convenient, whilst longer trips to the Highlands are also achievable.

Take the 30-minute train ride to Perth and you are in for a treat. Known as the Fair City, Perth is surrounded by scenic countryside and its compact cobbled streets are great for exploring. Make sure to visit Perth Museum & Art Gallery, the main exhibition space in the city - here you'll find a range of inspiring collections as well as touring exhibitions, talks and events. Perth Theatre is the place to go for evening entertainment, steeped in history, it is one of Scotland's oldest and best-loved theatres.

Perhaps you fancy a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland's historic capital. Whichever time of year you travel there is something going on in this diverse city. From summer festivals to winter markets, you'll find something to keep you entertained. The train journey takes approximately 40 minutes from Stirling and highlights include Edinburgh Castle, The National Museum of Scotland and Arthur's Seat.

Glasgow is also within easy reach of Stirling, and the perfect place to soak up some modern Scottish culture. A vibrant city with a celebrated music scene, Glasgow hosts an average 130 music events each week, more than any other Scottish city. It's no wonder the city was named a UNESCO city of music in 2008. Have fun at a local gig!

It's not only city day trips that you might want to do by train. What about visiting one of the finest resort destinations in Scotland: Gleneagles. Only half an hour away from Stirling on the train, Gleneagles is famous for championship golf courses and a world class luxury hotel. Stop for lunch at one of the hotel's restaurants - or even a spot of afternoon tea.

There's nothing like a wee road trip to spice up your holiday. Whether you have rented a car or you are a UK resident driving your own, there are some wonderful trips to be taken from Stirling. Once again, the cities of the central belt are within reachable distance, but there are plenty of other, smaller places which are worth visiting too.

You won't spend long in the car if you choose to visit Bridge of Allan. Just a 10-minute drive from the centre of Stirling, this former spa town sits at the foot of the Ochil Hills. Enjoy the views and go for a walk in gentle wooded countryside, stopping for a bite to eat in a local pub. Just a few minutes up the road you could also visit Dunblane, hometown of tennis superstar Sir Andy Murray.

If you're in the mood for adventure, start the car and head for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. You'll be able to reach this vast open space in under an hour, so it's perfect for a daytrip from Stirling. Activities and things to do here are endless - from a voyage on the Loch Katrine steamship to a day of thrills at Go Country, on the shores of Loch Ard.

If you are travelling with children, then consider a trip to Blair Drummond Safari & Adventure Park. One of Scotland's most exciting visitor attractions, this 120-acre estate is home to many rare animals that you can see up close. Camels, rhinos, zebras and even lions are on show - and after you have seen the animals there is a huge adventure park with a fort, pirate ship and flying fox. Sounds fun right?

There's a lot of good advice out there on how to enjoy Stirling and the surrounding area by bike. Take a look at the Stirling Active Travel Hub which has all kinds of routes for beginners, experts and families. You can drop into the hub Mondays through Saturdays (next door to the train station) and pick up a bike to use if you are unable to bring your own.

Other ideas include a cycle to Deanston Distillery, which is located 8 miles from Stirling on the banks of the River Teith. Expect quiet roads and scenic cycle paths on the way to Deanston, a former cotton mill that was transformed into a distillery in the 1960's. Experience the sights and sounds of a working distillery before taking a bite to eat in the café.

Another fun cycle to an equally fun destination is the route from Stirling to Argaty Red Kites. Around a 20-mile (30 km) round trip from the centre of Stirling, this is a fair cycle, but definitely worth it. Scotland's only red kite feeding station, the farm lies on the Braes of Doune where the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage have reintroduced the red kite. Visitors will get a chance to watch these spectacular birds in flight - not to be missed!

If you have a taste for eccentric architecture, then you will enjoy the trip Dunmore House and Estate. This is the home of the famous Dunmore Pineapple, a magnificent pineapple shaped building created for the 4th Earl of Dunmore back in the late 18th Century. Once you have a few snaps for your Instagram, you can enjoy a peaceful walk or a picnic before cycling back to Stirling.

Finally, prepare for battle! The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre is approximately 2 miles (3 km) south of Stirling - the perfect distance for a leisurely cycle. This fascinating and immersive heritage centre will take you through what it was like to be part of a medieval battle. Highlights include a 3D battle experience and displays of replica medieval armour, weaponry and clothing. Remember to pre-book your slot online before you go.

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