Also known as "The Gateway To The Highlands", Stirling used to be the only connection to the Highlands and has therefore a significant position in history. Major battles for Scottish independence took place in and around Stirling. Stirling Castle is one of the great royal residences of Scottish history.
Stirling is located on the main A9/M9 route from the central belt of Scotland to the Highlands, and is located approximately 28 miles (45 km) from Glasgow via the M80 motorway, 35 miles (56 km) from Edinburgh directly via the M9. Driving time is approximately 30 minutes if there are no traffic problems.
The nearest, and most convenient airport for Stirling by far is Edinburgh Airport (see the main Edinburgh article for full details). It is located 29 miles (47 km) from Stirling, and is easily reachable via the M9 motorway.
- Glasgow Airport has more transatlantic and long haul flights than Edinburgh, although harder to get to from Stirling due to the unpredictable nature of cross-Glasgow road journeys since it is on the "wrong" side of Glasgow, although things have now improved markedly following the completion of the M80 and M74 motorways in 2011.
- Prestwick Airport is approximately 60 miles (97 km) from Stirling. Again, inconvenient to get to by road as it involves going across Glasgow, but half price (or free, depending on origin) rail travel is available if you show your flight paperwork when buying your rail ticket at the airport. Involves changing trains in the centre of Glasgow (i.e. from Central to Queen Street stations), but well worth the effort in terms of the cost saving.
Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.
Stirling station is operated by First ScotRail , and the station is staffed throughout its opening hours. It is located on the Highland Main Line from Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness.
The local service pattern is as follows (all these services are run by ScotRail)
- From Glasgow - approximately on 20min to 30min intervals from Queen Street (High Level) station, all trains to Alloa, Dunblane, Inverness and Aberdeen call at Stirling.
- From Edinburgh- approximately half hourly from Waverley/Haymarket stations, all trains to Dunblane and Inverness call at Stirling
- From Inverness/Aberdeen/Dundee/Perth - hourly, note that in general, only trains to Glasgow Queen Street call at Stirling - most Edinburgh trains go via Fife and the Forth Bridge.
Stirling has two direct rail services from London per day, otherwise a change in either Glasgow or Edinburgh is required if you are travelling from south of the border.
- East Coast; the once daily Highland Chieftain service from London King's Cross to Inverness calls at Stirling via York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Approximate journey time 5hrs 30min. Fares start at around £14 for a one way "Advance", rising to approximately £115 for an off-peak return.
- Caledonian Sleeper; the overnight Highland sleeper train service from London Euston to Inverness calls at Stirling, leaving at 8pm the preceding evening. Note that this arrives in Stirling at around 5:30am (before any other public transport is running); it may therefore be more convenient to use the Lowland sleeper train to either Glasgow/Edinburgh, and change to one of the local services (above). Prices £130 return; one way "Bargain Berths" are available online only from £19, depending on how early you book.
Note that Stirling station is equipped with automatic ticket barriers, you need to remember to retain your ticket before leaving the train.
There are regular coach services to Stirling from all over Scotland run mainly by Scottish Citylink, with regular departures from Glasgow (Buchanan Bus Station) and Edinburgh (St Andrew's Bus Station) calling en route to either Inverness or Aberdeen. There are also numerous connections from destinations in the Highlands and the North. Fares from Glasgow/Edinburgh are around £4 one way.
- If travelling from Edinburgh, the CityLink 909 service runs Monday to Saturday. The bus leaves Edinburgh Bus Station at 10 minutes past the hour from 9:10 until 16:10 with two additional departures at 17:10 and 18:10 which extend to Dunblane (however these services are usually busy with commuters from Monday to Friday and these two services do not run on Saturdays). The journey time to Stirling Bus Station is 1 hour and 10 minutes. The bus returning to Edinburgh from Stirling departs the bus station at 40 minutes past the hour, last 909 service back to Edinburgh is the 17:50 service which begins its journey at Stirling University (this service does not run Saturdays so on a Saturday afternoon the last bus back to Edinburgh leaves at 16:40).
The budget operator Megabus calls at Stirling on its London-Aberdeen route (which confusingly is 'merged' with certain Citylink services from Glasgow), fares start at £1 plus a 50p booking fee, depending on how early you book.
Due to the unpredictability of journeys in the Glasgow/Edinburgh area during rush hour, it is advisable not to rely on coaches being on time - particularly if you intend to connect with other means of transportation. Leave plenty of slack in your itinerary as a precaution, or use the train instead.
There are several buses leaving to towns close by, but for Dunblane the train is a better bet. In summer there is a sightseeing bus which is a cheap way to get to the sights, as you can "hop on and off" at any time.
Suburbs and surrounding towns and villages
There are a few suburbs in the Stirling City area;
- Bannockburn - One of the southernmost suburbs of Stirling, Bannockburn is the site of the Battle of Bannockburn, and the heritage centre for the Battle of Bannockburn, currently being refurbished by the Scottish Government. There are Bed & Breakfast areas in Bannockburn.
- Bridge of Allan - The northernmost suburb of Stirling, Bridge of Allan is probably the wealthiest area of the city. It is the location of the University of Stirling and the Scottish Institute of Sport. It also holds the Wallace Monument (a landmark in memory of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace). There are many Bed & Breakfasts and a couple of hotels in this area. Mine Wood and the University of Stirling premises are beautiful places to visit.
- Cambusbarron - In the westernmost suburb of Stirling, you would find the remote Cambusbarron. Cambusbarron is situated next to the M9 motorway and there are no accommodation sites in this area.
- Causewayhead - Causewayhead is almost like an entrance to Bridge of Allan. Here, along Airthrey Road, you would find many Bed & Breakfasts. It contains Wallace High School and a few parks and woodland areas. It is a worthwhile visit.
- Cowie - Southeast of Bannockburn, you would find Cowie. There is no accommodation areas in Cowie, and there are no landmarks apart from the Norbord factory.
- Gargunnock - To the west of Stirling you will find the village of Gargunnock. There is the Gargunnock Inn, a family run lounge bar and restaurant. There are no landmarks, but you could climb the Gargunnock Hills.
- Stirling Castle. open daily (closed Christmas and Boxing Days), 1 April-30 September 9.30AM-6PM, 1 October - 31 March 9.30AM-5PM, last admission 45 mins before closing. At the head of Stirling's Old Town - one of the best preserved castles in Scotland, it features the Great Hall, the Palace and the Royal Chapel. In summertime, the castle is crowded with tourists and therefore lacks the medieval flair. Parking is available in front of the castle. admission adults £13.00, child £6.50, concession £10.00, entrance and parking free for Friends of Historic Scotland.
- Wallace Monument, Abbey Craig (1 mile North East of Stirling in Bridge of Allan), ☎ . Opened all year until at least 4PM.. Rising on a hill above Stirling, this monument honours William Wallace who led the Scottish to victory over the English. Inside you can find various displays about the Battle of Stirling Bridge and about important Scottish persons. You have a great view over Stirling and its surroundings from the top. £8.50/£5.30 (Adult/Child), Friends of Historic Scotland qualify for a 10% discount..
- Cambuskenneth Abbey. Ruin of an abbey with only the bell tower remaining. You can see the grave of Margaret of Denmark and James III on this site. The site can be entered at all times.
- Stirling Old Bridge. The site of one of the major battles where Scotland (under the lead of William Wallace) defeated the English in the struggle for Scottish independence. Although this is not the original bridge, which was made of wood, it gives a good impression of where the battle may have been.
- Church of the Holy Rude (at the head of St John Street). Beautiful church with impressive stained glass. No admission fee, but donations welcome..
- Bannockburn, Glasgow Road, Stirling, ☎ . The battlefield is the site of another major victory for the Scots over the English in 1314. The Bannockburn Heritage Centre has closed and a new centre will open in 2014. In 2013 there is a temporary exhibition, but there is also building and restoration work on the site. A path leads to a statue of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, who led the Scottish forces. From the statue you have a great overview of the landscape
- Argyll's Lodging, Castle Wynd (on the right as you approach the castle). The well preserved 17th century town house, erected by the 1st Earl of Stirling, is a fine example of renaissance architecture. Admission fee included in the Stirling Castle ticket..
- Stirling Old Town Jail, St John Street (next to Stirling Youth Hostel and opposite of the Tolbooth). Open all year, Apr-Sep 9.30AM - 6PM, Oct & Mar 9.30AM - 5PM, Nov - Feb 10.30AM - 4.30PM.. - This building used to be the jail during Victorian times. A guide will show you through the building taking on different roles. £5.95/3.80/4.50 (Adult/ Child/Student).
- Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Dumbarton Road, FK8 2RQ. Tuesday-Saturday 10.30AM - 5PM, Sunday 2 - 5PM. Small art gallery, local museum and popular cafe - Stirling Story Exhibition gives a good intro to the history of the area and local industry, would fill a couple of hours on a wet day. Admission Free..
- Hillwalking -- behind the university (near Bridge of Allan) is a path up to a hill called Dumyat with a summit cross.
- Maize Maze Scotland's finest maize maze is at Briarlands Farm , on the A84 4 miles west of Stirling, right next to the Safari Park .
- Safari Park  Scotland's only genuine African Safari Park can be found just a couple of miles to the west of Stirling on the A84 at Blairdrummond Blair Drummond, FK9 4UR (Tel: 01786 841 456) next to the Maize Maze. You are able to go on safari through the game reserve, on the boat to chimp island, and stop off at the sea lion show or even have a free bar-b-que (you supply the food) next to the enormous children's play area. The park is open daily 10:00AM – 5:30PM. Last admission 4:30. The park is closed in winter, reopening in March.
- Stirling - The Home of World Football. The oldest known football was discovered at Stirling Castle, and is on display in the Smith Museum.
- Thistle Centre. Large city centre shopping complex featuring the usual range of British high street stores. Open late Thursday nights.
- Europa Music. An excellent Independent music store specialising in everything they can.
Port Street is dominated by the usual range of high-street shops and banks. Stirling has a limited range of independent shops which tend to be located on side streets or north of the train station.
- Supermarkets Include Tesco, located 5 minutes from the train station, which has a good, if limited, range and is cramped inside, Sainsbury's 5 minutes further from Tesco which has a marginally better selection and higher quality products and Morrison's which is 20 minutes walk from the city centre.
All these supermarkets remain open until at least 9PM Monday-Saturday. Sainsbury's is open until 10pm 7 days a week.
- The Bank Restaurant, 78 Upper Craigs, FK8 2DT, ☎ . all day dining. An exciting menu of contemporary Scottish and international cuisine, using locally sourced produce.
- The Pearl of Hong Kong Menu and prices , 162 Arbroath Road, tel 01382 455883, mailto:email@example.com - a Chinese takeaway Home Delivery 6 Days (closed Tuesday) Order Online to save ,(2 meals 2 starters £11.50).
- Jimmy Chung's, 14 Friars Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A Chinese restaurant which offers buffets at variable prices (e.g. all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet) 7 days a week.
- Hot & Spicy, Baker Street - tasty food to go.
- Willawan, Baker Street - a Thai restaurant.
- Longhorns, Friars St - American style restaurant known for its steak.
- Lee's, Bridge of Allan - an inexpensive Chinese takeaway, but surprisingly good.
- Port Street Grocer's, Port Street - superb gourmet sandwich lunch menu and amazing cakes.
- Greggs various locations, including opposite of Post Office and one if you follow the pedestrian area to the west. They sell great valued sandwiches and bakery.
- Mary's Kitchen Fresh Strawberry Tarts at Briarlands Farm Also home made cakes, soups and wonderful sandwiches. 4 miles out of town in Blairdrummond.
- Hermann's, Mar Place House 58 Broad Street, Stirling FK8 1EF, ☎ . 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-9:30pm. Austrian/Scottish fusion restaurant. Offers delicious local produce with an original twist.
Stirling has three night-clubs - two in the city center and one out near Bridge of Allan - all of which require you to be at least 18 and to have proper ID with you. Usually, the bouncers won't let you in with sneakers, but you can try.
- Fubar. £8 entry at weekends. 2 floors, upstairs you'll find the 70's dancers BOOGIE EXPRESS on a Saturday night!
- Dusk, Baker Street, ☎ . New card system in place for Fridays and Saturdays, allow free entry before 12 and cheaper drinks. Mondays and Thursdays entry from £3 with drinks from £1.
- The Meadowpark and The Beat. The Beat is the club near Bridge of Allan, it's near the main entry for the University, and tends to be popular on Tuesday and Wednesday when the town centre clubs are closed.
- Nicky-Tams, 29 Bakers Street Stirling's Most Haunted Bars - a bar with a friendly atmosphere, mostly visited by students of the university. Monday night is WII Night upstairs on the big screens,Wednesdays 9PM is jam night, Saturday & Sunday 4PM til 6PM local musicians are featured.Sun night is ever popular Quiz/DJ Night, great prizes and bubbly on offer!! Fresh Food is served from 12PM-9PM daily, and all food is sourced locally from Farm Assured Farms for the best tastes.Beer from £2.50a pint. Cocktails from £2.Shots from £1. Student prices Sun, Mon & Thur night. One of Stirling's best bars!
- The Corn Exchange, Corn Exchange Road - Used to be Pivo, recently taken over. Decent food and good meal deals.
- Cape, Corn Exchange Road - Formerly Varsity. A bar with a great atmosphere, good selection of cocktails. Free live music on Sunday evenings.
- Stirling Youth Hostel, St John Street (Turn 2nd left after Highland Hotel), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Built behind the façade of an old church, it offers 2 to 6-bedded rooms, good self-catering kitchen, internet, friendly staff and TV-room. Book ahead during summer. £11.50-13.50/5.00-11.50 (Adult/Child). Open all year.
- Willy Wallace Backpackers Hostel, 77 Murray Place, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Located in the centre of the old town, mixed dorms, lounge. £12.00-15.00.
- Adamo Hotel, 78 Upper Craigs, FK1 2DT, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A full service four star hotel, located close to the centre of the old town, walking distance from the Castle and city centre, free parking for guests and free WiFi throughout the hotel. An ideal location to tour the local area
- Kilronan Guest House. Kilronan House Elegant Victorian House built in 1853 and steeped in history. Spacious ensuite rooms, Free Wi-Fi access. Conveniently located for Stirling University in a quiet tree-lined street in Bridge of Allan, about 3 miles from Stirling. Tel : 01786 831054. Good restaurants nearby and frequent trains to Edinburgh and Glasgow from Bridge of Allan Station.
- Hillview Cottage (Situated in Blair Drummond, about 5 miles from Stirling.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Interesting slightly eccentric Stirling Guest House with great woodland and hill views. This is a large comfortable Scottish B&B with en suite bedrooms and a wireless network. Rooms start at £29.00 per person per night and include a full cooked breakfast. Open all year, with Christmas and New Year specials.
- Holiday Inn Express Stirling Holiday Inn Express Stirling  Springkerse Business Park, Stirling, FK7 7XH. From the M9/M80 Junction 9, take the A91 toward Stirling/St Andrews for 6 km. You will find the hotel on the A91 at Springkerse. Phone + 44 1786 449922. Has 80 air conditioned guest rooms, meeting facilities, a licensed bar, coffee lounge and free parking. Is located about 20 mins walk from centre of town but is adjacent to retail park. The Stirling Park and Ride Bus runs from the nearby Morrison's Supermarket to the city bus station every 12 minutes during the day Mon-Sat. Includes complimentary continental breakfast with every room rate!
- Lake of Menteith Lakeside Hotel.  Easily accessible lakeside hotel, 14 miles from Stirling, you drive through remarkable Scottish scenery and upon reaching Port of Menteith, the Lake unfolds before you with the hotel nestling lakeside. 01877 385258
- Stirling Central Library, Corn Exchange Road - several computer with free internet access available, though you may need to join a queue. Open Mo-Sa until at least 5PM.
- Tourist Information Centre, 41 Dumbarton Rd, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- Post Office, Located within WH Smith, opposite Marks & Spencer, Thistle Shopping Centre
- Bridge of Allan. A town north-west of Stirling which is nice to walk around.
- Lecropt, country area adjacent to Bridge of Allan with its kirk.
- Dollar (10 miles east of Stirling on the A91) to visit Castle Campbell and walk through Dollar Glen.
- Doune Castle , Doune (10 miles northwest of Stirling off the A84), 01786 841742. 14th century castle with a great view over the landscape. Take a walk along a river right behind the castle. The castle was used during the filming of Monty Python and the Holy Grail to portray most of the castles in the film.
- Dunblane Cathedral, Dunblane. An impressive cathedral with an early Pictish stone found on the site.