We talked to some Stirling visitors and asked what information they wished they had known before their trip. Here are some of the handy hints and tips they came up with to make your trip run smoothly.
Stirling City Pass– See more and save more with our winter Stirling City Pass. This ticket offers discounted entry (30% OFF) to Stirling’s top attractions and some excellent extras including fast track entry, free audio tours and over £50 in local discounts and offers. Find out more here!
Get discount at The Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle – though not well advertised, a discount is available if you visit both of these attractions. You cannot get a combined ticket but if you show your ticket from one attraction at the other attraction you will receive a 10% discount. Since admission to the castle is more, to get the most out of this deal visit the Wallace Monument first and then use that ticket to gain discounted admission to the castle in the afternoon.
Chat with Locals – Scottish people are remarkably friendly and open with strangers. Chat to them at bus stops, in coffee shops or on the street. And don’t be afraid to ask for tips about local restaurants and pubs.
Accessibility – The historic old town and Stirling castle are quite a trek from the modern city centre and the castle car park fills up quickly especially in the summer months. While it is a nice walk, it is uphill and cobbled so if you have a little one with you or someone in your party has mobility problems it might be worth using the bus service. Castle View Park and Ride bus service runs every 15 minutes from the park and ride car park or in the city centre from Murray Place or King Street. The National Wallace monument is also quite a steep uphill climb from its car park and visitor centre. However, the majority of the time they run a free shuttle service to take visitors up the hill to the base of the monument where you can get excellent views before tackling the 246 steps to the top. If you just want the views from the outside and are not able to climb the tower you do not need to pay the admission fee.
Wi-Fi – Most cafes in the centre offer free Wi-Fi to their customers so when the urge to check Facebook over whelms you pop in for a coffee. Look for the free Wi-Fi sticker on the café window and ask at the counter for the password. Stirling Library (on Corn Exchange Road) also offers free Wi-Fi to all if you need internet access for longer.
Explorer Pass – These multi day passes from Historic Scotland can offer great value if you intend to visit a few castles and historic buildings on your trip to Scotland. For example at the time of writing an adult 3 day explorer pass was £29 which would get you entry to 78 historic buildings including Stirling and Edinburgh castle, Whereas the combined individual ticket price for just Stirling and Edinburgh castle was £30. The more Historic Scotland attractions you visit the more the savings mount up. A 3 day pass is valid over 5 days and can be used on any 3 days within that 5 day period. A 7 day pass is valid over 14 days and can be used on any 7 days within that 14 day period. Your pass will not become active until your first site visit and multiple sites may be visited in any one day. You can buy explorer passes online before you go or at the attractions. It is worth noting this pass does not include all historic attractions only those owned by Historic Scotland so check the list of included buildings before you buy.
Pack waterproofs – Scotland is famously wet and windy, and you will have a more comfortable trip if you bring a rain jacket and waterproof shoes. When out and about it’s a good idea to carry an umbrella or waterproof for sudden Scottish rain showers. It’s also advisable to pack layers no matter what time of the year your trip as Scottish weather is very unpredictable.
Visitor Information Centres – These centres operated by Visit Scotland should be your first port of call for any information you need while on your trip. They can provide you with maps and guides, information on where to eat and stay and help you plan your trip around the rest of Scotland. Stirling’s Visitor Information Centre is located on St Johns Street (on the hill that runs from the town centre up to the old town and Stirling Castle) at the entrance of what used to be the old town jail.
Top Tips if you intend to drive on your holiday
Allow plenty of time – Although Scotland looks like quite a small country the time it takes to get between places can be much longer than you think. The roads are often not straightforward and you may be driving on single track at some points. A Sat Nav can help with directions and provide quite accurate information on the drive times between places making driving less stressful.
Carry Plenty of Change – In most places you will have to pay for parking at an unmanned parking meter. Often these do not take card or notes and you will need change.
Mobile Phones – Driving while using a mobile (cell phone) or other communication device is illegal and can result in a fine and penalty points against your license.
Seat Belts – In the UK, all passengers are required by law to wear a seatbelt. The person liable for failure to wear seatbelts is the driver.
Do not drive into the centre of Edinburgh or Glasgow if avoidable. Park and ride services are available around the edges of the cities allowing you to park your car for free and then catch a bus into the city centre. The high traffic levels and limited parking in the cities can be quite stressful.
Our final tip is do not under any circumstances ask what is in a black pudding or a haggis! Trust us, you do not want to know.