Stirling is a wonderful small city in Scotland that boasts both a rich and varied history as well as a thriving modern existence. Its roots can be traced back to the Stone Age, and it was also a critical and vital strategic location during Britain's long occupation by the Romans. In modern times it is a wonderful city with much to see and do in and around its location.
One of the common nicknames for Stirling is "Gateway to the Highlands", due primarily to Stirling's location at the point where the Scottish lowlands first encounter the Highland slopes. These rugged hills of the Highland Boundary Fault give Stirling a striking position that allows visitors to soak up some of the most fabulous scenery in all of Scotland. What's more, from this location it is extraordinarily easy for holiday travellers to strike out into any direction to explore other parts of Scotland as well.
Perhaps the most famous of all sights in Stirling is the magnificent Stirling Castle located prominently on a volcanic crag now known as Castle Hill. The castle itself is noteworthy for its size, its architecture, and it important historical significance to the local area and to Scotland in general. It was the location of numerous battles over the ages, with a number of sieges of Stirling Castle being recorded throughout history. Stirling Castle was also the location where several kings and queens of Scotland were crowned, such as Mary, Queen of Scots in 1543. The castle is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is one of the most popular (and memorable) destinations for holiday travellers to explore when in Stirling.
Stirling is also home to one of the most important historic churches in all of the United Kingdom. The Church of the Holy Rude is important to Stirling both because of its long history (dating back to 1129) as well as its modern significance as the only church other than Westminster Abbey to have been a coronation site for the monarchy during its existence. The church is open to the public, and is absolutely one of the most popular sites for visitors to explore.
Another stunning structure located near Stirling is the National Wallace Monument. This beautiful structure is not as old as other important structures such as Stirling Castle or the Church of the Holy Rude, but to the Scottish it is a significant source of pride because it commemorates the 13th
century hero of Scotland, William Wallace. The monument, which is open for the public to explore, features a long, spiral staircase to the very top viewing gallery; although it is a real challenge to get to the top, the view is well worth it. Once you have been to the top of the tower, be sure to spend some time looking at the Wallace artefacts displayed within the monument itself; one of these includes the Wallace Sword, made famous as William Wallace's personal sword.
When you're ready to return to the modern world, head for the centre of Stirling. There you will find a wonderful market area with a mixture of small, locally owned shops and larger, national chain retail stores. Or, you can lose yourself in Top of the Town, an area of Stirling's Old Town section that's rich with things to see and do. Take a walk along Broad Street, Ballengeich Pass, St. Mary's Walk, or Castle Wynd and you'll find many interesting sights. The old town jail, Argyll's Lodgings, the Ballengeich Graveyard, and a large number of craft shops, pubs, and cafés are all there, providing visitors with plenty of choices and opportunities for fun.
Getting to and from Stirling is relatively easy via direct roadways such as the M80 motorway or the M9 motorway. There is also a good assortment of rail lines connecting Stirling with other cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow. Once you're in Stirling itself, the public transport bus system offers excellent connections throughout the city; it's easy to explore all of Stirling via bus, saving you the hassle of having to hire a car while you're there.