An impressive castle, a grand monument, and a medieval Old Town – Stirling was the seat of Scotland’s monarchs for three centuries, and is packed with history.
Get the train to Stirling to explore Scotland’s historic heartland. It was once the royal capital, and Stirling Castle is one of the finest in Scotland. Explore the opulent royal apartments, including the Great Hall and the Renaissance Palace, within its walls – or play soldiers on the battlements.
The Old Town surrounding the castle is full of medieval and Renaissance buildings, best explored on the ‘Back Walk’ – a scenic pathway that winds through the cobbled streets. For panoramic views over the city, the Forth Bridge and Loch Lomond, climb the Wallace Monument’s 246 steps – it’s well worth the effort.
If you’re travelling to Stirling on the train from Edinburgh or Glasgow, you’ll roll through the farmland that forms Scotland’s central belt. Look out for the dark profile of the Ochil Hills rising up to the north of the city – perfect for a walk on a clear day. From the north, you’ll travel through Perthshire and pass through Gleneagles: stop off here for the exceptional food, spa, and world-famous golf.
And don’t forget: when you travel by train, you get access to exclusive offers, including 2 for 1 entry to top attractions.
Getting to and from Stirling by train
- Aberdeen to Stirling – approx 2 hours 10 minutes
- Edinburgh to Stirling – approx 50 minutes
- Glasgow to Stirling – approx 45 minutes
- Perth to Stirling – approx 35 minutes
One or two days in Stirling
First on your list should be Stirling Castle: sitting high over the city, it gives excellent views over the surrounding area. Inside the castle you can explore everything from the kitchens to the armouries, as well as a special exhibition on the Stirling Heads – 16th century metre-wide wooden medallions carved with the images of kings and queens.
You may have seen the Wallace Monument from the train – a tower rising above the treetops on the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. It commemorates Sir William Wallace and the site of his greatest victory – explore the exhibition inside for the full story. Climb the steps to the top of the tower, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of Ben Lomond and the Trossachs, the Forth valley, the Ochils and the Pentland Hills.
You’ll find the Old Town near the castle – one of the best collections of medieval and renaissance buildings in Scotland. Take the ‘Back Way’ to enjoy you them at their best, before making your way south to the Tolbooth – once the city’s jail, but now a leading centre for arts and live music. You’ll find an interesting collection at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, and Stirling has plenty of good places to eat and drink. Find out more on Visit Scotland.
Days out from Stirling
The Ochil Hills are well worth exploring on foot. Get the five-minute train to Bridge of Allan to head up Dumyat, the most famous ascent – and from there you can carry on along the ridge line, enjoying the views of the Forth Valley to the south.
If you’d like to head further afield, a 40-minute bus journey will take you to Callander – the starting point for plenty of walks in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Here you’ll find richly forested lochs, hills, and mountains – with particularly spectacular colours in autumn. For a higher adrenaline way to experience the Park, hire mountain bikes in Callander and set off for the muddiest trails you can find.
Scotland’s two biggest cities are under an hour away by train from Stirling. Head east for the capital, packed with history and culture, from the castle and the Royal Mile to the beautiful Georgian New Town. Or head west for Glasgow, to find a bustling metropolitan centre full of shops, bars, and traditional pubs. There’s plenty of history in Glasgow too, from the university in the west end to the People’s Palace in the east.
An hour north by train, Dundee is well within reach for a day trip from Stirling. You’ll cross the silvery Tay on the approach by train, and the city has plenty to offer when it comes to arts, culture, and history.
Then there’s St Andrews. Get off the train at Leuchars, before Dundee, and a short bus ride will take you straight to the heart of theis ancient university town. Find your way through cobbled streets to the sea, explore the university buildings, or head for one of the world-famous golf courses nearby.
Find out more
Travelling from Stirling?
Stirling is at the very centre of the central belt – which means that many trains pass through the station on their way north or south. Glasgow and Edinburgh are within easy reach to the south west and south east, or continue up the beautiful east coast to Aberdeen, if you fancy a scenic trip. Then, of course, there’s the line up to Inverness, to connect with the Far North and Kyle of Lochalsh scenic rail journeys.
Ways to save...
- Spirit of Scotland travel pass: 1-2 weeks of train, ferry and coach travel covering the whole country
- Rail & Sail: combine train and ferry travel into one ticket for more convenience and better value
- Kids for a Quid: travel off-peak and for every paying adult, up to four children aged 5-15 can travel for £1 each
- Railcards: see if you could save with a national or regional Railcard