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The city of Stirling is noted for its medieval castle, which sits high above the River Forth. Other great draws in the city include the old town and the Church of the Holy Rude, which was the setting for the coronation of King James VI in 1567. Vibrant dining venues and pubs contribute to Stirling’s ambience. The city occupies a strategic position for visits to the Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh and Dunblane.
Who to Book With
Six international car rental suppliers maintain customer service outlets in Stirling. Among these are Enterprise, Avis and Budget. Arnold Clark is one of several locally-based suppliers. For a choice selection and preferential hire rates from both global and local outfits, it is better to book online. The companies’ offices are mostly located on Kerse Road or in the adjacent Springkerse Business Park.
Best Time to go
The weather here is generally cool and, even in July and August, temperatures rarely climb above 22°C. Most tourists visit in the summer, as the winter is generally cold and wet. It is better to visit in late spring or early autumn when there are fewer tourists and peak season accommodation and car hire rates are not in effect.
Need to Know Essentials
When picking up rental cars, hirers need to bring these items with them:
- A UK or international driving license
- Secondary ID. Most suppliers prefer a passport or photo ID
- The bank card the renter made the booking with
- Printed confirmation of the reservation or the reference number
Driving in Stirling is fairly easy unless there are road works in progress or it is an icy winter’s day. Roads to motorways leading to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Loch Lomond are clearly signposted from the city centre. There are quite a few car parks in and around the city. It is also possible to park on the street in some locations. Fees in the central area are around £0.80 for 30 minutes. A little way out of the centre, all-day rates start at around £3.
The old medieval city centre and the environs of the castle are best explored on foot. Once outside the central areas, visitors will find that cars are the best option for getting around. The historic town of Bridge of Allan is a 10-minute drive from Kerse Road. Buses link the city centre of Stirling to surrounding residential districts. There are also trains to Dunblane and Edinburgh, and taxis are available for people in a hurry and without their own cars.
ScotRail operates Stirling Railway Station, which is just to the east of the city centre. The station runs services to regional locations such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen. There is one East Coast Main Line train a day to London King’s Cross. The station has a 276-space car park, a taxi rank and is on local bus routes.
There are around 10 different taxi companies in the city, and most of these work around the clock. Firms such as Goosecroft Taxis offer telephone reservations services. Metered taxis and private-hire cars with fixed rates are both available. There are taxi ranks in town and at the train station.
The bus station is on Goosecroft Road, just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. First Group runs most of Stirling's bus services, with routes to urban locations such as the university and nearby towns of Falkirk and Dunfermline.
Stirling’s location in central Scotland is perfect for those looking to enjoy excursions to historic castles, the magnificent vistas and activities in the Highlands, Edinburgh and Glasgow. While the latter two are best accessed by train or bus, the only way to get the most from the Highlands and rural areas is with a self-drive car hire. Doune Castle, Loch Lomond, Braemar and Tullibardine Whisky Distillery are just some of the possible daytrip destinations in the locality.
Doune Castle - This is a 700-year-old courtyard structure noted for its 30-metre high gatehouse. This structure’s lord’s hall and minstrel’s gallery, together with nature walks in the grounds, are the chief visitor attractions.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park - This is the ultimate destination for outdoor activities and some of the finest vistas in the world. Hill hikes, wildlife spotting, canoeing and windsurfing are among the diverse options here. Cruises on the loch allow visitors to appreciate the natural environment and visit ancient monasteries on islands such as Inchcailloch.
Tullibardine Whisky Distillery - Located at Blackford, and a pleasant drive through pastoral scenes from Stirling, this fully-operational facility offers bespoke tours that allow connoisseurs to partake in the quintessential Scottish visitor activity of whisky-tasting. The tours illustrate the process of creating single malts, and the visitor centre sells bottles of the finished product to take away as souvenirs.