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Stirling perches in a seemingly impregnable position, on top of an extinct volcano, its beautifully preserved castle sitting in pride of place right at the top of the equally well preserved Old Town. Seat of the Stewart Kings and Queens, arguably the most famous Scottish royal dynasty, and probably the one with the most dramatic stories, Stirling's impressive historic sights are enough to inspire even those who arrive with absolutely no interest in history at all. Some of the best places to stay in Stirling are also those with the richest histories.
Stirling doesn't just boast the castle, recently voted one of the UK's best visitor attractions, and once home to Mary, Queen of Scots. Stirling is also considered 'the gateway to the Highlands', hence its political importance historically. It has a grand Gothic monument to William Wallace AKA Braveheart, and is also the location of one of his great triumphs, Stirling Old Bridge. Nearby is the site of another great Scottish legend, Robert the Bruce's, great military triumph over the English - Bannockburn.
The Old Town's cobbled streets are lined with buildings dating from the 12th to the 17th Century, demonstrating the city's growth in wealth and power. And all this within some of the best preserved city walls in the UK - possibly due to the fact that they date from around the middle of the 16th Century, when Henry VIII was 'roughly wooing' Queen Mary on behalf of his son. If you follow the wall around, you'll also pass Stirling's cemeteries and the Beheading Stone.
Bordering on Highland country, Stirling is also a great place for walkers and hikers.
And of course there's the castle… Kin to Edinburgh Castle, but many say it's more atmospheric. Currently done up as during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, one of the highlights is the Royal Palace, built by James V to impress his new French bride, and the other crowned heads of Europe.
For country house B&B
- Quarter, Stirlingshire is a stunning Georgian mansion set amid sixty acres of lush, rural parkland, now offering three charming B&B suites. Closest to stirling, you're also a short drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
For sheer luxury
- But for the real royal experience stay at Cromlix, a top of the range country house hotel recently converted by Scottish tennis star, Andy Murray. No expense has been spared. And there's even tennis coaching on offer.
For outdoor activities
- The Lake of Menteith Hotel is easily one of the best places to stay in Stirling, if you've come for the great outdoors. Located on the shores of Scotland's only lake, it has great fishing and there is walking from the doorstep.
Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Stirling, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice. Alternatively check out our recommendations in Perthshire.
Best Hotels in Stirling
Lake of Menteith Hotel 17 rooms from $180Stirling
A little piece of New England in the Trossachs National Park overlooking Scotland's only lake. Prettily decorated rooms with floral wallpaper, comfy beds and contemporary bathrooms. Excellent, award winning, cuisine. The perfect country escape.Country Escape - A remarkable lake side property in gorgeous rural Scottish countryside, observe the high diving osprey and migrating wildfowl.Sights nearby - The nearby Stirling Castle makes for a great family day out.Great walks - Hike through the beautiful forests of The Trossachs.Views - Great views from hotel
Cromlix 15 rooms from $326Stirling
Top of the range country house hotel refurbished with no expense spared. A low key feel, spiced up by a dash of glamour in the bar and restaurant.Country HouseFishing - Trout fishing in the hotel's lochFour poster beds - For romantics.Secluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels, CN Traveller