Visit Stirling and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Stirling, Stirling, for centuries a principal centre of the Forth-Clyde Valley, a royal burgh and busy county town, now has its own university. Set in grounds of glorious wooden parkland, the Airthrey estate, Scotland's first completely new university for almost 400 years (Edinburgh, the youngest of the four older universities was founded in 1583) has expanded rapidly since its foundation in 1967.
Not much is recorded of the town's history before the 12th century, although there are indications that the site was developed and occupied a good deal earlier. Alexander I, for instance, died in the Castle in 1124; and in charters of only a few years later David I refers to his “burgh of Stirling”, which seems to confirm it as a place of some consequence.
Two great Scottish battles were fought in the neighbourhood of Stirling, and are always associated with the town. The first of these — both were part of the struggle for national independence — was the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, at which Sir William Wallace trapped and routed an English army under the Earl of Surrey. The site of this encounter is thought to have been at Kildean, a little more than half a mile North West of the Castle. Some years later, in 1314, it was an English attempt to relieve their beleaguered Governor in the castle that led to Bruce's victory over Edward II at Bannockburn. The Bruce statue on the Castle esplanade commands a view of both these fields of battle.
After a changeful existence throughout the early wars, relative stability came to Stirling with the reign of James I of Scotland, in the early 15th century. From then the town grew in size and in repute, and the Castle became a regular residence of the Stuart kings. James II was born in the Castle; James III was one of its architectural improvers; Mary Queen of Scots was brought here as an infant to be crowned after the death of her father, James V, at Falkland. James V was himself responsible for erecting the palace buildings, and James VI, who was both christened and crowned here, rebuilt the Chapel Royal for the christening of his own son, Prince Henry.
The Castle is the regimental headquarters of the Argyll and Sutherland Highanders, who in 1970 chose reduction to battalion strength rather than disbandment. Their splendid museum in the Castle is open to visitors daily. “Queen Victoria's Lookout” at the North West corner of the ramparts covers superb views of the Campsie Fells to the West, and of Ben Lomond, Ben Venue, Ben Ledi, and Ben Vorlich to the North. Below lies the “King's Knot”, one of the earliest ornamental gardens in Scotland.
The town of Stirling, like Edinburgh, can be recognizably divided into old and new. At the top of the town, on the steep approaches to the Castle in Baker Street, Spittal Street, Broad Street, St John Street, and St Mary's Wynd, can be seen survivals of the good domestic building of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The Guildhall, Argyll's Lodging, Mar's Wark, and the restorations and new building carried out by the Town Council are all worthy of notice. Modern Stirling dates largely from the 19th century, when the town grew in importance with the arrival of the railways, and developed into a thriving commercial centre, its shops and banks and law firms serving a large and prosperous agricultural hinterland. The architecture of the town centre and of the surrounding residential districts still reflects this period of late-Victorian affluence.
Today the town continues essentially as a focal point in central Scotland. It is the hub from which thousands of tourists and holiday-makers disperse annually in all directions to visit the Trossachs. Loch Lomond, Glencoe, and the West Highlands, or Perthshire and the North East. It has, of course, its own quota of standard local attractions, ranging from golf and tennis to hill-walking and angling.
Nearby towns: Alloa, Alva, Bonnybridge, Cumbernauld, Dollar, Dunblane, Falkirk, Grangemouth
Nearby villages: Airth, Ashfield, Bainsford, Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan, Cambuskenneth, Carron, Carronshore, Clackmannan, Cowie, Denny, Doune, Dunipace, Dunmore, Fallin, Fishcross, Gargunnock, Gartocharn, Glenochil, Kinbuck, Larbert, Letham, Menstrie, Plean, Raploch, Sauchie, Skinflats, St Ninians, Stenhousemuir, Throsk, Tillicoultry, Torbrex, Tullibody, Woodlands
Have you decided to visit Stirling or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Stirling bed and breakfast (a Stirling B&B or Stirling b and b)
- a Stirling guesthouse
- a Stirling hotel (or motel)
- a Stirling self-catering establishment, or
- other Stirling accommodation