For a fantastic UK city break, check out Stirling, one of Scotland's oldest settlements, but the most recent to be granted city status. Staying in a hotel in Stirling will put you within easy distance from two of Scotland's most famous battlefields: Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge, so if you're a history buff, come and visit the centre of fierce, Scottish resistance to the constant and dogged English invasions. The famous, hilltop castle, so important in many of these historical events, sits proudly on top of an old volcano, imposing its strength and importance onto anyone who passes below.
The city is beautiful and historical. Its clever and compact design means that it is not difficult to navigate and explore. From your Stirling hotel, step out and explore the Old Town, a journey through time, past the impressive Castle and Church of the Holy Rude to the magnificent mansions, town walls and graveyards. Most of the cities attractions are huddled round the cobbled centre, including the Old Town Jail and Argyll's Lodgings. The two city Universities provide the city with an ambient buzz and strong cosmopolitan feel as well as lending the city a cultural touch with two theatres, two cinemas, live performance art spaces and several art galleries. Stay in a hotel in Stirling, and you will have access to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Scotland's first national park as well as the fourth largest in the British Isles. For lovers of wildlife, walking and scenery, this is certainly worth a visit. With 21 Munros (tall Scottish mountains), several forests and 57 designated nature conservation sites, a day spent here will reconnect you with the power of nature and the great outdoors.
Shopping in Stirling
For traditional Scottish items as well as tartan souvenirs, head to the Dickensian streets of Old Town and spend hours rifling through the mix-bag selections on offer. The Victorian Crawford Arcade also has a range of specialist retailers and an eclectic variety of items on sale. The Thistles Shopping Centre, a destination in its own right (containing four malls and just under a hundred top-quality stores), caters to every taste and is perfect for those who don't want to take a whole day out shopping. To take some fresh or homemade produce back to your Stirling hotel pop down to the farmers' market at Maxwell Place and don't forget to try the neep and haggis.
Eating and drinking in Stirling
The perfect central location of Stirling gives it perfect access to Scotland's wonderful, natural larder, full to the brim with seafood and natural produce. Hermann's, based in a 19th-century townhouse, serving Scottish cuisine with a novel Austrian twist, is right for all occasions, atmospheric in winter with its roaring open fire and light and breezy in the warmer months with a bright conservatory. Packed to the hilt with traditional pubs and bars, Stirling will keep the most seasoned drinkers happy. The Cold Beer Company is the city's largest and busiest pub, set in a charmingly restored post office building. For something a little different, head to Nicky-Tam's Bar and Bothy. a former 18th-century bank, which is said to be haunted by two ghost card sharks. You can blame them for distracting you if you lose the weekly Wii tournament.
Culture and nightlife in Stirling
Perfectly placed in the centre of Scotland, staying in a hotel in Stirling will give you a great jumping pad to explore the nation's wonders and mysteries. The city itself also has lots to offer. The Albert Halls theatre puts on a huge range of shows from 80s tribute concerts to Shakespearean dramatics. The Macroberts Arts Centre on the University of Stirling campus also puts on a host of performances including music, theatre and comedy. Sport lovers will feel right at home in Stirling with the city's football, rugby and cricket teams competing frequently and passionately with rival squads. Make sure you visit the Bannockburn Heritage Centre, a dedication to Scotland's years of struggle against their oldest foe. The Wallace Monument in the Northeast of town is also something that should be visited by aspiring historians. Book your Best Western hotel in Stirling now. With so much on offer all year round, it is a truly magnificent place to come for a UK city break.
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