(Stirling, The Trossachs, Clackmannanshire, and Falkirk)
This area of Scotland is a mix of agriculture, industry, lowlands and mountains. The town of Stirling is the capital of the region. Its importance in the past as a strategic military position and its key role in Scottish history is brought to attention by its 14th-16th century castle sited on a high rocky point overlooking the town. It was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. Thereís much to see in the castle with its restored great hall, kitchens, gatehouse of James IV, palace of James V, chapel royal, and artillery fortifications. An AV presentation gives all the details. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum is at the castle.
Down the hill from the castle is Argyllís lodgings once the residence of the Earls of Argyll. Itís Scotlandís most complete example of a 17th century town home. Now restored and furnished, thereís a hall, dining room, drawing room, and a bedroom with hangings.
The 500-year-old timber-roofed church of the Holy Rude was built in stages from the early 15th century. Its massive exterior has buttresses between the great windows. James VI was crowned here in 1567, and John Knox preached the sermon in the church. Other places of interest in Stirling include the town wall built in the mid 16th century, a 1705 tollbooth which also served as a town jail, courthouse, town hall, and music and arts venue. If you are interested in more of the townís history, visit the Smith Art Gallery and Museum.
Walk a mile on Riverside Drive eastward from the town center to find the remains of 12th century Cambuskenneth Abbey, used as a meeting place by the Scottish Parliament. James III and Queen Margaret of Denmark are buried in the Augustinian abbey with its 13th century belfry.
The 19th century Wallace Monument to the north of the town commemorates one of Scotlandís heroes in its long war for independence against the English. He was involved in many skirmishes against Edward Iís troops before being betrayed, tried and hung as a traitor. In 1297 he rallied Scottish forces to battle, was proclaimed Guardian of Scotland in 1298, and was knighted by Robert the Bruce. Itís a long climbó242 stepsóto the top of the tower monument but along the way there are displays on Scottish heroes and videos to entertain and inform the visitor. From the top thereís a panoramic view of the countryside, scene of many battles.
South of Stirling lies Bannockburn where the Scottish forces, led by Robert the Bruce, defeated Edward II in 1314 and won freedom for the Scots from English domination. A visitor centre tells the story with an AV presentation of the battle and exhibitions on the Kingdom of the Scots, Robert the Bruce, and Scotlandís struggle for independence. Besides a statue of Robert the Bruce there is not much to see on the battlefield itself.
East from Stirling is Alloa Tower, the restoration of the 1497 (modified in 18th century) ancestral home of the Earls of Mar and Kellie. Itís one of Scotlandís largest surviving medieval tower houses. Original oak beams, vaulting, a pit dungeon, and a well are interesting attractions along with a collection of paintings.
In the village of Dunblane is Dunblane Cathedral, dating from Norman times to the 15th century. Founded about 1150 by David I, it is now used as a parish church. It has a 12th century tower, a beautifully designed west front, and a 210-foot long interior with simple, soaring lines. The great window has a tree of Jesse. The carved stalls and wooden barrel vaulted roof are two more features of interest. The outstanding choir area contains 15th century stalls. Thereís a Lady Chapel. A museum in the Deanís House in the square tells the history of the cathedral and town.
Doune castle, north-west of Stirling, dates from the 14th century. On offer is a keep-gatehouse that houses domestic quarters and a carved oak screen in the Lordís Hall.
Ruined Castle Campbell, located in Dollar Glen, is 15th century. Itís reached by walking up the hillside on a road, or by taking the slower but scenic path through the treed glen beside the river. The oldest part, the tower, dates from the 15th century. Extensions and alterations were completed in the 16th and 17th centuries. There are outstanding views over the countryside at the top.
The town of Falkirkís attraction is Callendar House, a 14th century keep turned into an 18th century mansion complete with turrets and a magnificent oak panelled library. Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Cromwell all visited here. There are costumed workers in exhibitions that include a kitchen of 1825, an 1820s general store, and a clockmaker and printer.
The Ben Lomond area contains 5369 acres of countryside, offering up walks and fine views. The Campsie Fells are another favourite spot for walkers, but it is the Trossachs area that is better known. This narrow glen sited between two lochs, Katrine and Achray, is Rob Roy country. He was an outlaw and cattle and sheep raider. The Rob Roy and Trossachs Visitor Centre is in the town of Callander.
Loch Katrine was made famous by Sir Walter Scott in Lady of the Lake. There are boat trips on the loch. For further details of the area visit the Forest Park Visitors Centre near the town of Aberfoyle. The Archray Forest Drive has parking viewpoints and walking trails.
Near Aberfoyle sitting on an island in Lake Menteith is an Augustinian priory, Inchmahome, founded in 1238. Much of the building survives. The five-year-old Mary Queen of Scots was sent here for safety in 1547. Boat trips are available to the island, which is interesting to explore.
Loch Lomond, on the border of Stirlingshire and Argyll and Bute was made famous in a song. The northern lakeshore is mountainous, while the south is wooded. A boat cruise leaves from the Balloch pier but avoid the area on weekends when traffic is heavy.
The Breadalbane Folklore Centre at Killin is sited in an old mill by the river and falls of Dochart. It will fill in your knowledge of the folktales of Scotland and the history of the clans. Northwest of the village is the Moirlanich Longhouse, an outstanding example of a mid-19th century cruck frame cottage and byre with many original features. Itís furnished and contains a collection of clothing.
Stirlingshire Visitor Information Centres
Includes the Trossachs, Clackmannanshire, and Falkirk
Aberfoyle-Trossachs Discovery Centre
Main St, Aberfoyle, FK8 3UQ
Tel. 0 8452 255 121
Open: April-June: daily 10am-5pm; July-Aug: daily 9.30am-6pm; Sep-Oct: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm; Oct-March: Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm; (plus 27-31 Dec: 10am-4pm)
Alva Mill Trail VIC
Mill Trail Visitor Centre
Glentana Mill, West Stirling St, Alva
Clackmannanshire, FK12 5EN
Tel. 0 1259 769 696
Open: April-end Sep: daily, 10am-5pm; Oct-March: daily 10am-4pm
Balloch Rd, Balloch, G83 8LQ
Tel. 0 8707 200 607
Open: April-May: daily, 10am-6pm; June: daily, 9.30am-6pm; July-Aug: daily, 9.30am-6pm; Sep: daily 9.30am-6pm; Oct: daily 10am-6pm; Nov-March: daily 10am-5pm
Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway
Bo'ness Station, Union Street, EH51 9AQ
Tel. 0 8452 255 121
Open: May and Sep-Oct: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; July-Aug: Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4
Milton, Dumbarton, G82 2TZ
Tel. 0 8452 255 121
Open: April-June and Sep-Oct: daily 10am-5pm; Jul-Aug: daily, 10am-6pm
2-4 Glebe St, Falkirk, FK1 IHU
Tel. 0 8452 255 121
Open: April-May and Sep: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; June-Aug: Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm; Sun, 10am-6pm; Oct-March: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm
National Park Gateway Centre
Loch Lomond Shores
Ben Lomond Way
Balloch, G83 8QL
Tel. 0 8707 200 631
Open: April-May: daily, 10am-6pm; June: daily, 9.30am-6pm; July-Aug: daily, 9.30am-6.30pm; Sep: daily, 9.30am-6pm; Oct: 10am-5.30pm; Nov-March: daily, 10am-5pm
Motorway Service Area
Junction 9 (M9/M80)
Bannockburn, Stirling, FK7 8ET
Tel. 0 8452 255 121
Open: April-May: 9.30am-5pm; June: daily 9.30am-6pm; July-Aug: daily 9.30am-6.30pm; Sep: daily 9.30am-5.30pm; Oct: daily 9.30am-5pm; Nov-Jan: Fri-Mon and Wed 9.30am-4.30pm; Jan-Feb: Fri-Mon and Wed 9.30am-3.30pm; March: Fri-Mon and Wed 9.30am-4pm, Tue and Thu 9.30am-4pm
Stirling City Centre VIC
Stirling Old Jail, Stirling
Tel. 0 8452 255 121
Open: April-May and mid Sep-mid Oct: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm; Jun and early-mid Sep: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10am-4pm; Jul-Aug: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9.30am-4pm; mid Oct-March: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-4pm
Main St, Tarbet, Loch Lomond, G83 7DE
Tel. 0 8707 200 623
Open: April: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat and Sun noon-5pm; May-June: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm; July-Aug: Mon-Sat 9.30am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm; Sep-Oct: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm
For full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.
Alloa Park, Alloa
Off A907, Clackmananshire
Tel. 0 1259 211 701
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum
Stirling Castle, town of Stirling
Stirling, just below Stirling castle
Tel. 0 1786 431 319
For photos and more information see our article Argyllís Lodging
Bannockburn Heritage Centre
2 miles (3km) south of Stirling on the Glasgow Rd
Tel. 0 1786 812 664
On minor road continued from the B837 at Rowardennan
11 miles (17.7km) beyond Drymen, off the A811
Tel. 0 1360 870 224
Breadalbane Folklore Centre
Killin, on the A827
Tel. 0 1567 820 254 (local TIC number which is housed in the Folklore Centre)
Callendar Park, Falkirk
On the A803
Tel. 0 1324 503 770
One mile (1.6km) east of the town center of Stirling
Off the A907 on Alloa road, signposted
Off the A91 north of Dollar
Tel. 0 1259 472 408
For photos and more information see our article Castle Campbell
Church of the Holy Rude
Stirling, on M9/A9
Colzium House and Walled Garden
Off the A803, .5 mile (.8km) east of Kilsyth, Falkirk
Tel. 0 1236 823 281
Doune, on the A84
Tel. 0 1786 841 742
Dunblane, just off the M9
North of Stirling on the B8033
Tel. 0 1786 823 388
On an island in Lake Menteith
On the A81 near Aberfoyle
Reached by ferry from Port Menteith, 8 miles south of Callander off the A81
Tel. 0 1877 385 294
The Cross, Dunblane
Tel. 0 1786 822 305 (custodian)
Glen Lochay Rd, off A827, 1 mile (1.6km) northwest of Killin
At the end of the walled garden in Dunmore Park north of Airth
7 miles east of Stirling, off A905, then off B9124
Tel. 0 1324 831137
Rob Roy and Trossachs Visitor Centre
Callander, on the A84
in old church in central square of the town
Tel. 0 1877 330 342
Smith Art Gallery and Museum
Dumbarton Rd, Stirling
Tel. 0 1786 471 917
Castle Wynd, city of Stirling
Off the M9 Central
Tel. 0 1786 450 000
On A821/B829 and extending to the shore of Loch Lomond on the B837 and unclassified road
Two miles (3km) north of Stirling
Off the A91
Tel. 0 1786 472 140
Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy of:
Argyllís Lodging: Historic Scotland
Alloa Tower: National Trust for Scotland
and Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Stirling Castle: CLT Smith
Stirling Castle Great Hall: Iain Russell
Church of the Holy Rude and Stirling tollbooth: Andrew Smith
Cambuskenneth Abbey: JThomas
Wallace Monument: Raymond Knap
Callendar house: Ruth Harris
Callendar house morning room: Kenneth Allen
Ben Lomond: Cary OíDonnell
Rob Roy Centre at Callendar: John Salmon
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Our Stirlingshire Articles
Castle Campbell and Dollar Glen
Argyllís Lodging in Stirling
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Take a CalMac Ferry to the Hebrides
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