Days Out and Top Attractions in Stirlingshire



If you’re planning to visit Scotland, there are plenty of great family days out and top attractions in Stirlingshire. 

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a mecca forlovers of the outdoors, with a string of visitor centres that highlight all the best places for walking, mountain biking and watersports. For an outdoor activity with a difference, try a segway tour around Loch Tay. 

Day trips to Stirling itself, the stomping ground of legendary Scottish heroes from Rob Roy to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, take in Stirling Castle, the National Wallace Monument and hidden gems like the Church of the Holy Rude, as well as historic battle sites at Stirling Bridge and nearby Bannockburn.

For children, there’s Briarlands Farm, a working farm and play centre where they can feed baby animals, ride on a tractor and tackle adventure play areas and a maze. For adults there are historic buildings like Doune Castle and the atmospheric remains of 12th-century Cambuskenneth Abbey, set around a still-standing 13th-century bell tower. 

From country parks to medieval castles, here’s our list of the best days out and top attractions in Stirlingshire.

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Lovers of the outdoors will be in their element at this haven of mountains, glens, waterfalls and lochs, which covers an impressive 720 square miles. It’s criss-crossed with trails for hiking and mountain biking, with no fewer than 21 peaks reaching above than 3,000 feet – known as munros – and a host of great sites for canoeing and sailing too.

Of course, it’s hard to cover all of them here, so drop in to one of the park’s visitor centres (in Balmaha, Aberfoyle, Duke’s Pass, Balloch and Glen Finglas) to pick up details. If you’re driving around the area, watch out for a series of viewpoints that highlight the park’s most photogenic features, marked by art installations made with natural materials.

Love a good hike? Check out our suggestions for the best walking trails in Stirlingshire.

Find a campsite near Loch Lomond.

National Wallace Monument

Commemorating Willam Wallace’s historic victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, this ornate Victorian tower stands at the peak of a wooded hill overlooking the battle site. It has three exhibitions that trace Wallace’s life and detail the events of the conflict, and is home to the Scottish leader’s huge two-handed sword, brought here in 1888, soon after the monument was built.

Once you’ve learnt about the battle, you can climb the spiral staircase to the ‘crown’ at the top for sweeping views of the Trossach mountains and the Pentland Hills.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

Overlooking the city from the top of an imposing volcanic crag, Stirling Castle was home to the kings and queens of Scotland for centuries, and Mary Queen of Scots was crowned here in 1543. The castle buildings today date largely from the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was expanded by James IV, V and VI. On a visit you can take in the Great Hall, with its minstrel galleries and vaulted ceiling, the Royal Palace – furnished as it was during the Renaissance – and the Great Kitchens. Look out for art treasures like the Stirling Heads (huge 16th-century oak medallions portraying kings, queens and mythological characters) and the recreated Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries. 

Audio and guided tours are available, interactive exhibits for children in the Palace Vaults show how musicians, tailors and painters conducted their trades, and costumed guides throughout explain about the building’s illustrious history.

Ready for a meal? Here’s our guide to the best restaurants in Stirlingshire.

Church of the Holy Rude

On a site dating back to 1129, this handsome 15th-century church is the oldest building in the city after the castle, and closely linked to the historic growth of Stirling itself. It was the site of royal baptisms and crowning ceremonies, including that of King James VI in 1567. Things to look out for on a visit include the medieval oak-beamed roof in the nave, stained glass like the modern Guildry Window, which casts the shadow of a cross onto the floor of the nave, and many notable 19th-century panes. The church organ is the largest in Scotland. 

If you want to experience the atmosphere of the building for yourself, time your visit to coincide with one of the regular Sunday services, or look out for concerts and recitals throughout the year. The cemetery outside is an intriguing place for a walk, with impressive city views.

Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre/Battle Site

In 1314, the Scottish army of King Robert the Bruce defeated the superior numbers of English King Edward II, a conflict that marked a significant moment in Scotland’s history, and Robert’s recapture of Stirling Castle. Opened in 2014, this interactive visitor centre brings the famous medieval conflict to life with 3D audio-visual presentations and digital depictions of the battle, including putting the viewer in the sights of attacking archers and cavalry. 

Outside, you can walk to what’s believed to be the site of the original battle, and admire a bronze statue of Robert the Bruce by Pilkington Jackson.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Take a look at our list of Stirlingshire campsites.

Briarlands Farm

After all that history, younger children will probably appreciate a visit to this farm park, a 10-minute drive from Stirling, where they can burn off some energy with a range of exciting outdoor attractions. They’ll get the chance to feed baby animals, play with remote-controlled mechanical diggers, ride on a tractor and trailer, or drive go-karts, and the extensive grounds feature ziplines, adventure playgrounds, and a Meadow Maze.

In summer, the family can also pick strawberries (and probably eat quite a few along the way…).

Doune Castle

Doune Castle

A place of pilgrimage for fans of Monty Python, Game Of Thrones and the Outlander TV series, parts of which were filmed here, this unusual medieval castle is known for its towering gatehouse and has a digital audio tour narrated by Monty Python legend Terry Jones. You can explore the Great Hall and the kitchens, wander a maze of rooms connected by spiral staircases and narrow doors, and take in views over the River Teith towards Ben Lomond from the battlements. 

Children can follow a quiz trail that highlights the building’s architecture and history, and for a little more fun, you can buy plastic swords and armour at the castle shop and let their imaginations run wild…

Here are some more of the best castles in Stirlingshire.

Planning a longer trip? Here’s our guide to camping in Scotland.