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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) which was 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. 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.
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.
Bordering on Highland country, Stirling is also a great place for walkers and hikers.
What not to miss:
- Visit the impressive Stirling Castle once home to Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Admire the picturesque buildings dating back to the 12th and 17th Century in the Old Town.
- Escape the town and head out for long hikes through the Highland country.
- Stop by the historically important Stirling Old Bridge.
Our guide to the best places to stay in Stirling has something for all tastes and budgets whether you're looking for a cheap and cheerful B&B or no-holds-barred, five star luxury.
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. Close to Stirling, you are 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 refurbished by Scottish tennis star, Andy Murray. No expense has been spared. 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.
For an apartment or holiday home
- If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner Booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.
- The nearest, and most convenient airport is Edinburgh Airport. It is located 29 miles (47km) from Stirling, and is easily reachable via the M9 motorway or train. Stirling station is located on the Highland Main Line from Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness.
- Best time to visit - Stirling is a year round destination with each season offering its own charm. However, for the best chance for warm days travel in the summer months (May - August).
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars for the best prices.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Stirling
Powis House 3 rooms from $143Stirling
An intimate, owner-managed, B&B boasting a secluded and beautiful setting. Traditionally dressed rooms feature open fireplaces, polished parquet floors and cast iron beds. Indulgent breakfasts are served in the elegant dining room. The perfect destination for a walking holiday or rural hideaway.Country Escape - A stunning country house set in mature gardens with numerous country pursuits in the area.Sights nearby - Visit the National Wallace Monument and trace the story of William Wallace.Full of characterRemote - Off the beaten track.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide