Today was the latest instalment in our occasional series..."Tourists in our own country" :) Both faithful travelling companion and I have a week off work this week, so today we took advantage of that rare event - dry weather - and headed off to what, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling) is Scotland's smallest city....Stirling, for a day trip.
Stirling's geographical position on the Scottish map is described as the "gateway to the Highlands" yet is only 30 mins away from Glasgow on the Scotrail express train from Queen Street Station - even the slower trains only take 45 minutes and it's a very frequent service.
Stirling has played a major part in Scottish history - from Mary Queen of Scots to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The city's (town's?) main selling point as a tourist attraction is Stirling Castle and the surrounding area of the Old Town. Apart from the castle, the city walls and the ruins of Mar's Wark, the uphill journey from the new town to the old town is an architectural feast for the eyes with a number of streets lined with beautifully preserved old buildings. Then there's also the Old Town Jail, which we didn't have time to visit today (but that's maybe one for the future!). By the way, good strong footwear is recommended for those cobbled streets!! The weather was perfect for walking, approximately 18 degrees today, mainly cloudy but very pleasant nonetheless.
Down in the 'new town' meantime, there are winding streets with a good variety of restaurants to suit every price range. Shopaholics will also enjoy Stirling as all the big chain stores/fashion shops are represented, both in the town's main streets and also in the big shopping mall, The Thistles. Although like every other town there are more empty shops than there used to be, casualties of the retail recession. Stirling is well worth a visit and we really enjoyed our day trip. We will certainly be returning there in future.