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My best friend, Ryan, lives in Menstrie which is not that far from Stirling and every year, I go up to stay with him at least once. As Menstrie is a small village, we don't spend much time there and instead venture into Stirling to do things. The first time I went up to see Ryan, I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I didn't really know what size the city was or what there would be to do there. Luckily, I was shown that there is a lot to do even though it isn't massive.
The first thing most girls want to know about when visiting somewhere new is the shopping. Stirling has a pretty decent shopping centre which is situated less than 5 minutes away from the train station and access right next to the bus station. Thistles shopping centre has more than 90 shops and you can pretty much find everything you could possibly need there. Inside is a big Marks and Spenser which also has a supermarket so you can clothes and food shop at the same time. I was happy to see that there was a lot of clothes shops for girls as well as a pretty big branch of Waterstones. I couldn't have been happier shopping here.
As soon as I arrive in Stirling, we always go out for some lunch considering I have usually been travelling for at least 5 hours and am starving by this time. Stirling has plenty of choice for everyone in regards to food and restaurants. Round the corner from the train station is a McDonalds if you want a cheap and easy option or if you need to rush before getting a bus somewhere. There are also plenty of pubs within walking distance from the train station so again, you can find somewhere pretty reliable for a cheap and easy meal. Ryan and I tend to stick to pubs because we know what we're getting and it is always easy to pick somewhere. However, there are also some really nice little cafes. A couple of years back we went to a cafe near Thistles and had sandwiches and jacket potatoes. The prices here were extremely reasonable and I would definitely have gone there again but we couldn't remember exactly where it is.
We have also been to a few different fast food takeaways here after nights out but honestly, I was too drunk to remember where they were. I have always enjoyed the food though. Stirling is home to a pretty large university so is very much a student city in some ways. Because of this, there are plenty of bars and a couple of clubs in the city centre. I wasn't really expecting a good night out here for some reason but it turned out to be one of the best I had in a long time. People in Stirling seemed to be extremely friendly, unlike where I'm from, and even though they were really drunk, there was no trouble. Even just going outside for a cigarette meant talking to random people about random things and generally just getting to know people. I had never experienced something like this before on a night out and I was quite pleasantly surprised by it.
I don't only like eating and shopping though in Stirling. There is plenty to do for tourists. First off is the Wallace Monument which commemorates Sir William Wallace. The walk up to the monument is a bit of a trek in itself before you even get to see anything as there are 246 steps on a spiral to walk up. Before I even got to the monument, I was bored of the walking and wanted to go back down but I persevered and carried on going. Although we didn't pay to go inside the attraction, it was quite impressive to see just from the outside and to take in a piece of history. A few years ago, there was also a statue at the monument which was carved to look like Mel Gibson in Braveheart but due to controversy and vandalism, it was removed.
Next is Stirling Castle, one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland. On top of yet again, another hill, is a very impressive and large castle which took my breath away a little bit at first sight. The exterior and grounds of the castle are a sight to see in themselves without seeing anything inside. I would have been more than happy to have just walked around the grounds and to take in the beautiful architecture of the building. In order to make the most of this trip, we paid for the guided tour of the castle instead of being left to explore on our own and it really made a massive difference. The tour guides at the castle certainly know what they're talking about and really make the castle come to life, rather than looking around at things I didn't understand.
Stirling is also quite famous because of it's supposed hauntings. Stirling Castle is said to be haunted by a servant of Mary Queen of Scots. A ghost walk is available during the months of July and August and around Halloween which starts from the Old Jail and they start at 8pm, costing £6 for adults. I loved doing this activity as ghosts etc are something that have always interested me and the walk was fantastic. The guide made it as creepy as possible, pointing out anywhere that there has been supposed sightings of ghosts and explaining what had been seen and when. For the price, even though the walk is only 40 minutes long, it is an amazing thing to go and do and is also very interesting.
Even though I have been going to Stirling for a good few years now, there is still so much more for me to do and see there and I can't wait to go again!
Stirling is a beautiful city. It's a very historic town and also a University town and due to both these reasons it has a fantastic atmosphere.
The reason most people end up in Stirling is no doubt to visit the historic Striling Castle - home and fortress to many of Scotland''s kings and queens. There are also many other historic attractions in the area such as Bannockburn (battleground) and the Wallace Monument - both of these can be seen from the Castle.
As you wander round the city you will see many other fine old buildings. Stirling is also an excellent shopping destination with a huge shopping centre (with just about every shop you could imagine!) and high street and a particularly large branch of Debenhams. There are also a large selection of lovely restaurants in the town centre and an even larger selection of pubs (due in large part to the student population!).
There is a good selection of accommodation in the area so if you're planning on staying for a while you should find it quite easy to find a room.
A lovely city you''ll want to visit again and again
Yes, Stirling is full of history from the era when the Braveheart film starring Mel Gibson was set. There is the Wallace monument, Stirling Castle, The Bannockburn heritage site etc. But the focus of this review will be the after-dark attrations in Stirling. Where do you go if you are looking for a little entertaiment? Having lived near Stirling for almost 10 years, I have experienced pretty much everything it has to offer. If you are looking for good old-fashioned pubs then you really are spoiled for choice. Around the centre of town there is O'Neills which has a great atmosphere, frequent live music and friendly staff. This is a good place to start a night out. You could also try the Hogs Head, slap bang in the middle of Stirling, which has a good selection of ales and gets a good atmosphere going in the early part of the evening. If you venture up towards the castle, you will locate a good quiet pub - Whistlebinkies. Here you will find a well-kept place to enjoy a few pints, order some food and play a few tunes on the duke box. As the night goes on and you get looking for some more lively hangouts then you could try Gingers in the centre of town. This place serves booze at a reasonable price and is quite busy, especially on Friday/ Saturday nights. I also recommend All That Jazz which is another busy joint just down the road and is popular with young folks. If you are looking for a pub/club atmosphere then there is the yard which is situated on the walk up towards the castle. It has a small dance floor, is free to get in and is very lively on weekends and quite lively during the week. It plays all sorts of cheesy dance music and again is popular with youngsters. For clubs, you are spoiled for choice with a whopping 2 to take your pick from. There is the Fubar which I have not been to so cant comment and the Inigma club, which can be a little rough but plays some good dance music and is a g
reat place to end your night, with the price to get in about £5. So there you have it, my choice of pubs and clubs to frequent if you fancy going out for a large one after you have taken in the sites of this lovely, historical town.
Why I love Stirling Stirling is situated in the heart of Scotland, in the central belt. A historic town (that has recently received CITY status) with lots to offer. Historically it was a merchant town, a Royal Burgh and for the a time the Capital of Scotland. Today it is best known for its connection with William Wallace. (Although I disapprove with the statue that was commissioned in the last few years of William Wallace at the momument with Mel Gibson's face!!!) Tourist attractions include the Castle - which has recently completed years of restoration on the Grand hall. The limestone hall can be seen for miles around and stands out from the rest of the castle that has been "weathered" by industrialisation. Other attractions include Cambuskenneth Abbey, the Wallace Momument, Stirling Bridge and the Bannockburn Heritage centre. Did You know? During worrld War 2 the Germans used to identify Stirling by the number of Clocks & Steeples it has. They could then judge how far away Grangemouth & Glasgow were. Stirling is not just rich in history but it is also rich in scenery. The Ochil hills are a small range of hills about two miles out of the town. So if you like to be able to relax in the country and get away from it all, then you have that option. The University campus is also situated in some beautiful scenery, (its actually in Bridge of Allan) which includes a man made loch and is now home to a sports institute.There is now a pool that has an adjustable depth. On the other hand, if town life doesn't suit you, Stirling is about an hour away from both Glasgow & Edinburgh. Stirling has a multitude of hotels and good guest houses, so it is ideal for those who enjoy a short break. For those of you who like going out for a meal or a drink, there are a multitude of good pubs and restaurants to choose from. The pubs I like most is O' Neills - the Irish bar, Hogshead and the Portcullis. (The Portcullis
has also been the starting point for the Ghost Walks in the tourist seas on - if you are into that kind of thing. Personally I'm don't, but it is a nice pub with a friendly atmosphere, Real fire and resident pet dog.) They all tend to be fairly busy pubs but well worth the visit. The Portcullis is up at the Castle and a bit of a walk up a hill but it has a nice wee beer garden. O'Neill's is quite lively and tends to have lots of students. But it also has live bands from time to time and good offers. The Hogshead has some good ale with lots of obscure brands that a worth sampling. Good places to eat are The River House - A bit out of the way but a lovely setting It is on the ring road but has a man made water feature. Others include Papa Joe's - they serve a mix of food but tend to be mexican with lovely desserts - like oreo specials. Smiling jacks is another mexican place, but is very small almost cafe like so book in advance. ... I forgot to mention that Delight Kebab do excellent kebab's, curries, potatoes and pizza's (with lots of topping). It's just up from O'Neills. If you go say hello to Chico the owner!! There is also the Pirnhall, which is a brewers Fayre place. If you want a bit of class (if you pardon my pun) you can always go to Scholars Bar, which is part of the old high school. This is now the Stirling Highland hotel the only 4 star hotel in Stirling. It is lovely. So why do I love Stirling - There is plenty of choice. Town, country or city, you will not have to travel far.