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How to spend 48 hours in Stirlingshire, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire

You will be surprised how much you can pack into 48 hours in Stirlingshire, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire. Take some inspiration from our weekend guide.

Day one

Start with Stirling Castle, a world-class venue with superb views from its battlements and a great way to introduce you to the area. You’ll love the interactive experience and be impressed by the castle’s superb restoration.

From there, walk down through the old part of Stirling. Visit the Argyll Lodging, the best example of a 17th-century lord’s town house in Scotland. Pause outside the Tolbooth in Broad Street where the town’s medieval markets were held, and where criminals were beheaded or hanged in public.

Now walk through by Jail Wynd to see the 15th-century Church of the Holy Rude, one of the finest medieval churches in Scotland and where King James XI was crowned in 1567 – the only surviving church in Britain, other than Westminster Abbey, to have held a coronation.

The world-class Stirling Castle

The world-class Stirling Castle

Stirling is full of nice little places for a good home-made lunch. The 17th-century Darnley Coffee House is in Broad Street, or you might try Victoria’s Coffee Shop in King Street for a hearty soup and scone.

The afternoon is for shopping. You’re right outside the Thistles shopping centre, with its High Street names and tempting bargains. Or you could walk a short distance to see the world’s oldest football on display at The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. For an evening meal try Hermann’s at the top of historic Broad Street or the beautiful Georgian ambience of the Park House Hotel, but make reservations.

For an evening out there’s the Vue Cinema’s eight screens, the MacRobert Arts Centre, music in pubs, or perhaps one of Stirling’s summer season ghost walks.

Pause outside the Tolbooth in Broad Street where the town’s medieval markets were held, and where criminals were beheaded or hanged in public

Day two

Let’s start by driving 10 miles to the Falkirk Wheel for another world-class experience. The first boat departs at 10.30am so there’s no rush. You’ll be filled with awe and wonder, exhilaration and enjoyment, and you’ll leave with unforgettable memories.

Nearby at Grangemouth stand the magnificent Kelpies – two huge sculptures of horses’ heads placed at the mouth of the Forth and Clyde Canal as a memory to the horse power which once worked there. Even if you don’t take a tour inside these soaring, impressive monuments, you’ll certainly want to photograph them.

From there, head for the Clackmannanshire Bridge at Kincardine and follow the A977 to Dollar for some lunch. Try the King’s Seat restaurant, the Cafe des Fleurs or the Castle Campbell Hotel. Then it’s a visit to Castle Campbell, a typical ancient Scottish tower house standing high above the town but with parking and great views.

You still have time to take a leisurely drive along the A91 through Clackmannanshire’s old mill villages towards the imposing National Wallace Monument. For a later-afternoon experience browse the boutiques in Bridge of Allan. Stirling University’s beautiful campus is also right there and makes a lovely setting for a stroll. You might prefer to drive another two or three miles to Dunblane, with its magnificent Cathedral and little High Street shops. At Graham Stewart’s jewellery workshop you’ll see work by one of Scotland’s finest silver craftsmen.

Another option is to head for the ancient village of Doune. Here you have a choice between the excellent medieval castle (open to 5.30pm), the Deanston Distillery (open to 5pm), or just stroll round the market cross area for the little shops.

From here you’re only a few miles from Stirling. One option for a lovely evening meal is Nick Nairn’s restaurant at the Dunblane Hydro Hotel – the perfect way to round off your two-day visit.

Read more about Stirlingshire, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire

Image credits: ©Falkirk Community Trust;; Stirling: Alive with Scotland; VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

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