Cities

One day in Stirling

The historic city of Stirling holds more than its fair share of Scottish history! It's one of the best places to learn about our most famous heroes, Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce.

Home to one of the most important Scottish Royal residences, Stirling Castle, it's also a modern and compact city that's pleasant to stroll around and enjoy some shopping, and delicious food and drink. Easily accessible from Scotland's other cities by train or bus, you can complete our one day itinerary with or without a car.

Transport

Bus Walk

Days

1

Miles

8

Route

Within and around Stirling

Highlights

Stirling Castle, Cambuskenneth Abbey, Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum, The National Wallace Monument, The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre

Areas Covered

Stirling

Day 1

overview

Explore historic Stirling

See the unmissable Stirling Castle, a central part of Scottish history. Then enjoy learning more about some of Scotland's most pivotal moments in history through fascinating and interactive exhibits at The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Cambuskenneth Abbey, The National Wallace Monument, and The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. You can also enjoy Stirling's fantastic food and drink, and some shopping!
  • Miles

    8

  • Km

    13

  • Stops

    5

  • Transport

    Bus Walk

STIRLING CASTLE

Stirling Castle dominates the city from its lofty perch at the north end. Records of a castle on the volcanic Castle Hill go back to the 1100s, however the earliest parts of the current castle structure date back to the 1300s. Stirling Castle was a favoured royal residence, centre of government, and the site of many a siege, royal murders, and battles!

Today you'll find the castle rooms restored to their original magnificence. Some of its most impressive spaces include the Great Hall, Chapel Royal and the Palace of James V. A visit to the castle to learn more about its incredible history is a must!

THE STIRLING SMITH ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM

A half-mile walk downhill from the castle, The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum boasts a fascinating collection dating back to the museum's establishment in 1874.

The main exhibition will tell you the story of Stirling, from pre-historic times all the way through to modern times. Learn about national hero William Wallace and Robert the Bruce from the days of the Wars of Independence. See fascinating ancient artefacts, and even dress up in traditional costume! The art collection gives vivid insights into Scotland's heritage - much of it bequeathed by Thomas Stuart Smith (1814-1869), an accomplished artist and avid art collector.

Also, be sure to meet Oswald and grab a selfie with him while you're there - he's the gallery's resident cat, and a social media star!

CAMBUSKENNETH ABBEY

This unusual bell tower structure was built in the 1100s by King David I, and was once the old parliament of Scotland, used for Robert the Bruce's parliaments in 1314 and 1326. It is also the resting place of King James III and his wife Queen Margaret. There are no parallels for this unique, three storey structure in Scotland. It's an excellent example of 1200s architecture, with lancet windows, ornamental arcades, and a fine collection of stone-carved medieval grave slabs.

The abbey is open seasonally, closed between October and March. If you're walking, it's 1.5 miles east of The Stirling Smith Gallery and Museum, which will take around 30 minutes.

THE NATIONAL WALLACE MONUMENT

Situated on the rock of Abbey Craig just north east of the city, the romantic and distinctive stone tower of the National Wallace Monument contains four storeys, with an elaborate crown structure at its top. Built in 1869 in honour of Scotland's best loved hero, it overlooks the scene of the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, where Sir William Wallace and his troops defeated King Edward's English army.

You'll be able to see Wallace's sword, which is on display in the first floor Hall of Arms, and learn about Sir William's rise from obscurity to military leader. The Hall of Heroes on the second floor tells the story of Scots who followed in Wallace's steps, making their mark on the country. In the Royal Chamber on the third floor, you can learn about the Battle of Stirling Bridge itself. You even go up to the crown structure on top of the building, where breath-taking views await!

There are regular First bus services to the monument, departing from Goosecroft Road (opposite Stirling Railway Station). Services 52 and UL (Unilink) stop outside the Monument.

THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN VISITOR CENTRE

Around 2 miles south of the city centre, the multi award-winning Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre tells the story of the famous battle. It was here that legendary King Robert the Bruce defeated English King Edward II in 1314 - a landmark moment in Scottish history. The victory involved the largest army ever to invade Scotland, but was won by a smaller Scottish army as they tried to take back Stirling Castle from English occupation.

Get into the heart of the action and take command with an immersive 3D experience where you can recreate the battle, explore the parkland, and see the monuments, including the beautiful bronze statue of King Robert the Bruce on his horse.

A number of First buses run regularly from the city centre to the nearby Milton Brae stop.

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