Falkirk is a town in Stirlingshire in the central belt of Scotland, with a population of 35,000 in 2010. Its name comes from "faw-kirk" which means "multi-coloured church" but that medieval building has been lost. It stands midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh on the canal between those cities, and the main reason to visit is the Falkirk Wheel, the ingenious device that lifts boats between two canals.
Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is 19 miles east. Take the tram to Haymarket then train towards Glasgow Queen Street for Falkirk.
Glasgow Airport (GLA) is 34 miles west, far side of that city. Take the airport bus to Buchanan station then the train from Queen Street towards Edinburgh for Falkirk.
- Falkirk High Station on the main Glasgow to Edinburgh line, also stop at Linlithgow. 10 minutes walk from the town centre.
- Falkirk Grahamston Station which is on the Falkirk, Carronshore loop. This line also branches to Dunblane and Stirling. Less frequent trains also run to Edinburgh and Glasgow. 5 minutes from the city centre.
- Camelon Station is a minor station which lies on the same line as Falkirk Grahamston. Unlike the other Falkirk stations, trains don't stop as often here as they do at the other two stations. Trains go to Stirling and Edinburgh.
There are regular bus services to Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh, all provided by First.
The Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal pass through Falkirk and are open to small boat traffic. It is possible to cross Scotland from the River Forth (on the North Sea) to the River Clyde (opening into the Irish Sea) via these canals. Canal boats can travel from one side of Scotland to the other via the Falkirk Wheel. This is a lift which transfers boats between the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal.
Nearby Grangemouth Docks are busy with small freight and tanker vessels but have no passenger sailings.
Falkirk town centre is fairly small so most of the main shops are within walking distance of the High Street. The bus service covers most of Falkirk. Most buses leave from Newmarket Street or the main bus station in Meadow Street. There are many taxi firms in Falkirk? The main taxi rank is in Lower Newmarket Street.
- 1 Falkirk Wheel (Half hourly buses from Falkirk town centre, or a good walk from the Falkirk "Camelon" railway station. You can also cycle along the Union Canal from Edinburgh - the route (about 50 km) is part of the National Cycle Network Route 754). Built in 2001 to reconnect the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, it is the world's only rotating boat lift. Boat trips up on the Wheel take about an hour. Boat trips cost £8.95 adults, £4.95 children, £7.95 concessions. Free entry to the visitor centre / cafe / gift shop.
- 2 The Kelpies (From the Falkirk Wheel walk eastwards along the Forth and Clyde Canal for about 7 km. If you are driving on the M9 close to Grangemouth and Falkirk, you can see the wheel from the motorway). Two huge horse-head structures (about 30 m high) made from steel and designed by Andy Scott in 2013.
- 3 Antonine Wall. Constructed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius (138 AD - 161 AD) the wall runs across Scotland at its narrowest point between the Firth of Forth in the east and the River Clyde in the west. Although built to rival Hadrian's Wall, the Emperor Antonius Pius succeeded, the wall was far less elaborate. Unlike its more solid southern counterpart, the Antonine Wall was built of turf fronted by a ditch 12 feet deep. The wall was 10 feet high and 14 feet wide and dotted with 29 small military forts linked by a road.As a defensive barrier the Antonine Wall did not fulfill its role for long. In 181 the northern tribes poured over the wall and pushed the Romans back to Hadrian's Wall. The Romans finally abandoned any hope of regaining the territory between the two walls in 196 AD. Antonine Wall is 37 miles (59 km) long, and was built 140-142 AD. You can see the site of the wall in the Kemper Avenue car park at the foot of the High St, just next to the Aldi supermarket and Callender park. The wall runs right through the middle of the town centre or more accurately underneath the town centre and several Roman forts are dotted about the outskirts of the town.
- 4 The Battle of Falkirk. Due to its location on one of the main routes north into the Highlands, Falkirk and Stirlingshire have been the site of many battles between the Scots and the English. Perhaps the most famous battle after Culloden and Bannockburn (just to the north of Falkirk) is the (first) Battle of Falkirk, 1298, where an English army commanded by Edward I defeated the Scots under William Wallace.
- The Shortest street in the UK. Tolbooth Street (spelled with one 'l'), is just off the High St just behind the Steeple. See Wick for an alternative claim.
- 5 The Steeple. The Steeple is a clock tower the forms the center piece of the High St and is said to be the site of public hangings and floggings, although these take place somewhat infrequently these days.
- 6 Rough Castle Fort. Earthwork remains of a Roman fort on the Antonine Wall.
- 7 Callendar House, Callendar Rd, Falkirk FK1 1YR. daily 10:00 - 17:00. Museum in a house dating from the 14th century, extended in the 19th century.
- The Pineapple is an 18th C glasshouse for growing pineapples and other tropical fruit, and shaped like one. You can't go inside, but admire the odd sight and the grounds free. It's at Airth, 3 miles north of Falkirk, open daily.
- Watch football ie soccer at 1 Falkirk FC, 4 Stadium Way, Falkirk, FK2 9EE (A mile east of centre near jcn of M9 and A904). They were relegated in 2019 and now play in League One, the third tier of Scottish football.
- Airth Highland Games are held in late July at The Wilderness, Airth FK8 2LN. The 2020 event was cancelled so the next is probably Sat 24 July 2021, tbc.
The main shopping area is around the High St. Three mini-malls or shopping centres are available as are most of the major UK stores. The most popular being the Howgate Shopping Centre with shops such as Internacionale, HMV, New Look and GAME.
For food shopping or groceries, there are two Tescos, one Asda and a Morissons near the town centre.
Falkirk has several hotels that do typical restaurant fare; there are many other restaurants and pubs that serve excellent grub, in and around the town centre.
- Benny T's, Mary St, Laurieston FK2 9PS (a mile east of Falkirk centre). M-F 11:30-14:00 & 16:00-22:00, Sa 11:30-22:00, Su 16:00-21:00. Excellent fish and chips to eat in or takeaway.
- Sanam Tandoori, 5 Callendar Road FK1 1XS (foot of High Street). M-Sa 12:00-14:00 & 17:00-23:00, Su 17:00-23:00. Decent Indian fare, good value for money.
- 1 Hotel Cladhan, Kemper Ave FK1 1UF, ☏ . Unpromising 1970s exterior, but inside is spacious, clean & comfy. B&B double £85.
There are a few rundown areas in Falkirk that one should be aware of before visiting. Although Falkirk is generally safe there are a few places that can be unsafe, especially at night.
- Linlithgow - attractive town and castle on the way to Edinburgh, the train station, reached from either High Station or Grahamston is at the east end of the town.
- Bo'ness - Small town in the district, home to the Scottish Railway Preservation society, and the Bo'ness and Kinneil Steam Railway.
- Edinburgh - the capital city of Scotland, about 15 to 20 minutes away from Falkirk by train or by car.
- Stirling - a small city to the north of Falkirk. Has a large castle in its centre.
|Routes through Falkirk|
|Perth ← Stirling ←||NW SE||→ Linlithgow → Edinburgh|
|Glasgow ← merges with ←||W E||→ → Dunfermline (via )|