Five things to do in Stirling, Scotland

  • The Peak, Stirling Courtesy of Scottish Curling

Stirling has both a fantastic reputation in Scottish curling and Scottish tourism, so a visit to the historic city for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 seems like the perfect opportunity to see the action on the ice, as well as visit the surrounding area.

It’s a very picturesque place to visit and the beauty starts before you even arrive. The drive there – from Scotland’s other major cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth – has a canvas of rolling hills as a backdrop and when you arrive, you see some of its unique and ancient gothic architecture.

Because the city will be hosting this championship, we’ve selected places to go that are also wheelchair accessible, to be enjoyed by all. Here are five places you should visit in Stirling.

1. See how the former royalty lived at Stirling Castle

The default response to ‘what is the best castle in Scotland?’ might be to say Edinburgh. However, Stirling can lay claim to that historically and for what lies inside too.

During Scotland’s wars of independence some 700 years ago, Stirling was the key city to hold and holding the castle gave you de-facto power over the country. The city is still known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ because of its geographic location, that made entering the Highlands difficult without having to go through here.

The castle has likely inspired the Game of Thrones castle Winterfell, which has a similar holding over the north in the HBO television series.

Over one of the walls you can see Bannockburn in the distance too, where arguably the most famous Scottish battle was fought. A true staple of Stirling tourism, but one that is a must-see.

Another place to visit, although not fully wheelchair accessible so leaving it off the list but still worth mentioning, is the Wallace Monument, dedicated to Braveheart hero, Mel Gib- I mean, William Wallace.

  • Price: £15 (adults), £12 (concessions), £9 (child)
  • Distance to venue: 1.8 miles (34 minutes walking)
  • Distance to city centre: 1 kilometre (13 minutes walking)
  • For: The Outlaw King enthusiasts

2. Wet your whistle at the Allanwater Brewhouse

In nearby Bridge of Allan, there is a very popular brewhouse in the area that caters to beer and cider lovers. Sorry if you’re a fan of spirits.

The Brewhouse is a pub, as well as a brewer. It has over 30 of their own crafted beers and ciders and best of all, you can come in for free for a wee tasting or grab a pint if you fancy more than a couple of sips.

There are also tours available between £15 and £25 depending on what tour you choose to take. All include a pint of your favourite drink from the brewers as well as different tiers for learning about how the drinks are made and some tours allow time to get some food in your belly too.

  • Price: Free to enter, £15-£25 for tours. Must be 18 or over
  • Distance to venue: 4.5 miles (10 minutes driving)
  • Distance to city centre: 3.5 miles (10 minutes driving, 13 minutes on the train)
  • For: Beer purists

3. See the oldest surviving football in the world

It’s difficult. You just can’t escape history in Stirling, it’s everywhere. You certainly won’t escape it at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. There is plenty to see in the building but one of the main attractions is a look at the oldest football still around today, dating back 500 years.

Despite football clubs only forming in the mid-1800s, there are accounts that the game was played around these parts centuries before as famous monarch Mary Queen of Scots watched a game in 1568 after fleeing a battle.

But, don’t miss out on the amount of art you can find in there too.

  • Price: Free
  • Distance to venue: 1.6 miles (33 minutes walk)
  • Distance to city centre: 0.4 miles (8 minutes walk)
  • For: Sports historians and culture vultures

4. Take a walk around Stirling’s university campus

University life in Scotland is not the same as that in the United States and Canada or even small pockets of England. Most universities have a campus, but very few feel so cosy like Stirling’s. Nestled up just outside the city, it’s a perfect way to get away from the busy city centre and go for a stroll.

There are plenty of sports facilities there to open to use if needed, but plenty of hills and paths where you can take in the scenery and relax for a couple of hours.

  • Price: Free
  • Distance to venue: 2.6 miles (5 minutes driving)
  • Distance to city centre: 2.9 miles (10 minutes driving)
  • For: Outdoors people

5. Check out this pineapple roof

It’s a little bit of a drive outside Stirling, but not too far! Just a 20-minute drive outside the city sits a very odd-looking house, with a pineapple carving on the top.

The first question might be, ‘who could grow pineapples in Scotland?’ to which the answer would be: a very rich man with a fancy heating system who enjoyed growing exotic fruits and plants.

But best of all, there is an old curling pond nearby and is likely one of the oldest curling ponds in the world, now surrounded by wildlife. Every day is a history lesson in Stirling.

  • Price: Free
  • Distance to venue: 6.7 miles (19 minutes driving)
  • Distance to city centre: 7.4 miles (22 minutes driving)
  • For: Lovers of the weird and wonderful

Some restaurants worth visiting

Napizza: With the number of authentic Italian restaurants in Scotland, it’s no surprise that Napizza is one of the city’s most beloved restaurants. An award-winning pizzeria that stone bakes its pizza and the prices are reasonable too.

  • For: High quality familiar food

Brea: One of many eateries in Stirling that specialises in Scottish cuisine. For those who haven’t tried, haggis is a must. Brea is a bit on the expensive side, but the quality seems to match up well. A wide selection of Scottish fish are also available.

  • For: Those who want to try the local cuisine

Flip ‘n Shake: Sometimes going for something simple is all you need. Flip ‘n Shake mixes both hot food and desserts on their menus and seems to be loved by the locals for its reasonable prices. So, if you’re ever tight for time and want something fast during the day, this café is for you.

  • For: The cheap eater

You can follow the build-up and results of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2019 on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling | @wwhcc2019) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation | /wwhcc19) and by searching the hashtags #WWhCC2019 #curling