Stirling is a fantastic city to explore with kids. With great attractions like The Wallace Monument , Old Town Jail, Stirling Castle and the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre, you can really bring history to life for the kids. Further afield we have The Falkirk Wheel, Callendar House and the marvellous Kelpies.
The best way to explore Stirling is either on foot, on bikes or using Central Scotland’s great public transport system. There are some great paths to explore with the kids and we would recommend the Back Walk which you can take from the town (just behind the Albert Halls) all the way along to Gowan Hill. Look out for the wood carvings on the way. If you head up to the top of Gowan Hill the kids can climb on the cannons and you can make up gruesome tales about Stirling’s beheading stone! Did you know this was once the site of a Roman settlement? The other walk we love is along the river. Head out past Stirling’s Old Bridge and then through Riverside and on to the Cambuskenneth Abbey – it’s free to enter and again a great place to explore with the kids.
Carving on the Back Walk with the Albert Halls behind
For great views you can’t beat the Wallace Monument but if you are feeling more energetic than the 246 steps then why not climb our local hill Dumyat (pronounced Dum-eye-at). You can either go the steep long way from the car park at Blairlogie or the more family friendly walk from the Sherifmuir Road (allow a morning or afternoon for this). We also have some lovely walks along the Hillfoots at Alva Glen and Dollar Glen.
There are some great family cycle paths, we love to cycle along the river down at the Raploch and then head all the way out to Briarlands Farm for a well deserved tea and cake (and the kids can play on the bouncy pillows). If this is too far then Dobbies Garden Centre is a bit nearer and you can still get tea and cake! It’s mostly off road and the Stirling Cycle Hub can give you directions and rent out bikes too. You can cycle up Causewayhead Road and park the bike at the park before walking up the hill to the Wallace Monument. On the way down pop into Corrieri’s for an ice cream. If you want a longer cycle then head on up to Stirling University and have a walk around Airthrey Loch. The Macrobert Arts Centre is showing some great family films all through the summer and the university is a lovely place for a picnic.
If you want to head further afield then we love cycling along the canals from Camelon over to the Kelpies for a short route and for a longer route from Polmont to Linlithgow (all accessible by the train) A bit off the track but Callendar Park is lovely for a picnic. Callendar House has free entry and the working Georgian kitchens are well worth a visit.
In Stirling Town Centre, do make sure you visit The Smith Gallery, it’s free and tells you all about the history of Stirling through the ages and has some great artefacts including the world’s oldest football! There are activities for the kids (brass rubbing and dressing up) and of course the cafe! Do check out the gardens at the back, they have some great musical surprises for the kids to play on.
So pack a picnic, take plenty of snacks and water and we never leave home without a few plasters, a secret pack of chocolate buttons and a large pack of baby wipes just in case of emergencies!
We have a daily what’s on guide full of local family friendly events which you can find on www.familiescentralscotland.co.uk and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates about events and activities for families in the local area.
Stirling Youth Hostel offers 4-star budget accommodation, perfect for families looking to explore Scotland's central belt.
Biography for Louise and Fiona - Central Scotland Families Magazine
Families Central Scotland is a FREE magazine for busy parents of children 0-12 in the Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire areas. With loads of articles, local information and a handy out and about guide to whats on in the local area. Visit familiescentralscotland.co.uk for more information and to view a copy online