A visit to Stirling Castle is an essential part of any visit to central Scotland
Sitting on an 80m high, volcanic plug, children will be fascinated by a visit to Scotland's finest castle. The Visitor Centre on the Esplanade has an educational and entertaining free video show which is screened throughout the day.
Stirling’s history is probably one of the most famous in the world, especially since the major motion picture ‘Braveheart’, starring Mel Gibson, was released. You can relive the movie experience with staged battle scenarios as well as other historical reconstructions laid on at the castle. These scenarios are on all through the summer as part of Stirling's tourist attractions.
The National Trust for Scotland's heritage centre at Bannockburn marks the site of the Scottish army's victory over Edward II's army with a bronze equestrian statue of King Robert the Bruce by Pilkington Jackson. Lifelike displays feature scenes from Scotland's history; the Scottish nobles signing the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320; Robert the Bruce being crowned king of Scotland by Isabel of Fife at Scone; and William Wallace as a huge, chain-mailed figure wielding his famous sword.
“Braveheart" – immortalized by the Scottish movie – in reality Sir William Wallace. It was Wallace, who in 1297 defeated the English at Stirling Bridge, only to be later captured and executed by King Edward.
A fascinating tour to many of the places connected with "Braveheart" would probably start with a drive to the pretty town of Linlithgow, with it’s Palace ruins overlooking a lovely lake.
A guided tour of Stirling Castle is the next treat. The castle overlooks the ancient town of Stirling as well as Bannockburn, the battlefield where in 1314 Robert the Bruce defeated the English. An extended stop here will allow a leisurely visit to explore the castle and to marvel at the views from the castle ramparts.
Your scenic drive continues through the village of Doune, with its 14th century castle, to Callander, a pleasant tourist town that became popular in Victorian times.
The Trossachs is a wonderful area of lochs and wild mountain vistas. Travel by Loch Venachar then climb the dramatic Dukes Pass to the pretty village of Aberfoyle. Then end your tour on a real high-note as you drive along the "bonnie, bonnie banks" and, if you wish, enjoy an optional cruise on Loch Lomond.
Since June 2002, the nearby town of Falkirk has been shining in the international tourism spotlight. Following a two year construction programme and many more years of design and planning, the world's first rotating boat lift opened for business.
As the centrepiece of The Millennium Link, the project to reconnect and regenerate the Forth & Clyde and Union canals, The Falkirk Wheel is hailed as a monument to the skills of modern engineering. Created to replace the flight of eleven locks that originally connected the two canals, the magnificent 115 ft Wheel is made of steel with two giant caissons each capable of carrying up to four boats at a time.
Visitors to The Falkirk Wheel have the opportunity to take part in a unique boatlift experience. The journey starts with passengers boarding a specially constructed boat at the Visitor Centre before heading out towards the magnificent Wheel itself. The boat then glides effortlessly into one of the water filled caissons where the doors close to form a watertight seal.
As visitors enjoy unhindered views of the Ochil Hills in the distance, The Falkirk Wheel starts to rotate, and in one smooth seven minute movement the vessel rises to the top of the Wheel where it continues its journey along a newly constructed aqueduct and through a 145 metre tunnel underneath the historic Antonine Wall.
Tickets for the boat trip experience on The Falkirk Wheel can be purchased by calling 08700-500 208 in advance. Prices are £8.00 for adults, £4.00 for children (15 years and under) and £6.00 concession. Children under five go free. A family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) is priced at £21.00 and entry to the Visitor Centre and exhibition area (including a shop and Cafe) is free. There is a 10%% group discount on groups over 20 passengers and unlimited car parking is available for £2.00.