Historic Stirling - Scotland's newest city and its heritage capital - is the ideal base to explore the nearby Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and the scattered towns and villages that dot the peaceful slopes of the Campsies and the rolling farmlands of Strathallan. Stirling Castle, once the residence of Scottish kings, perches atop a long-extinct volcano, trailing behind it the exquisite architecture and cobbled streets of the citys Old Town. By contrast, modern Stirling bustles with activity and offers fine shopping and leisure facilities to complement its many historic attractions.
Bridge of Allan is an elegant former spa town nestling on the banks of the Allan Water, with broad, tree-lined streets featuring a wealth of hotels and specialised shops. Doune has an imposing 14th-century ducal castle, a favourite royal hunting retreat and tower house, as well as the Scottish Antiques and Crafts Centre. Doune Ponds is an excellent, award-winning nature reserve, with birdwatching hides from where you can observe the abundant wildlife. Nearby is the famous Blair Drummond Safari and Leisure Park, home to bigger and more exotic wildlife and a firm favourite with families.
Dunblane is an ancient community whose Cathedral Museum unfolds much of the rich and colourful history that surrounds the town. There are riverside walks along the banks of the Allan Water and the town centre still exudes an 'olde-worlde' charm where examples of 17th- and 18th century architecture blend with Victorian and more modern buildings, creating a distinctive setting for the various local shops and hostelries.
The Campsie Fells provide a scenic backdrop to the numerous colourful villages of the area. Attractive 18th- and 19th-century cottages provide a strong character in the historic village of Killearn, Nearby, Glengoyne Distillery, set beneath the distinctive volcanic plug of Dumgoyne Hill, welcomes visitors for guided tours. Fintry, tucked high among the hills, is noted for its regular awards in the 'Scotlands Best-Kept Village' competition.
The West Highland Way long-distance footpath passes through the broad valley of Strath Blane en route to Loch Lomond. Other excellent walks nearby, for example at the Queens View on Stockie Muir, Campsie Glen, by Clachan of Campsie and in Mugdock Country Park, just south of the villages of Blanefield and Strathblane.