Stirling gained city status in 2002. It is Scotland’s heritage capital, where the Wars of Independence were fought and won; where, for three centuries, monarchs ruled in regal splendour and where merchants and craftsmen plied their trade below the castle rock.
Nowadays you can feel the sense of history and nationhood which is Stirling’s trademark, as you meander through the Old Town, enter the spectacular cliff-top castle or sample the town’s unique ‘living history’ events programme. The compact heritage mile that links Stirling’s Old Town with its bustling city centre boasts the finest concentration of historic buildings in Scotland. Beautifully preserved medieval and Renaissance churches and mansions cluster around the Old Town, flanked by cobbled streets, period street furniture and Victorian styled iron work. The ‘Back Walk’ is a scenic pathway around the Castle and Old Town that rivals the attractions of the city walls of York or Chester. The Old Town Jail has been transformed from a grim Victorian reform prison into a vibrant visitor attraction.
Stirling Castle commands views of seven battlefields, including Bannockburn, in a panorama across Scotland that encompasses Ben Lomond, the Trossachs and the Ochil Hills.
William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson in the Oscar-winning movie Braveheart, is commemorated in the 220ft high tower of the National Wallace Monument. In an exhibition, Wallace tells his own dramatic story as he faces execution in London. Visitors can discover more about their favourite 20th century Scottish heroes or heroines from a list that includes Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Jackie Stewart, John Logie Baird, Evelyn Glennie, and Sir Alexander Fleming. A climb up the 246 steps of the monument is rewarded with glorious views across Scotland from the Forth Bridges to Loch Lomond.