Area Focus: Stirling

The city of Stirling is the only Scottish destination to feature on the longlist in the next UK City of Culture.

Stirling

The bidders claim the bid aims to promote Stirling as a place to visit, learn, live and work, while creating a “lasting legacy for future generations”.

The winner will be announced next year and will be at the centre of the UK’s cultural spotlight in 2025.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The smallest of Scotland’s cities, Stirling is a big contender in the competition, with a mighty history and a wealth of culture.

Declared a Royal Burgh in 1124, the city linked the Highlands and the Lowlands, and thanks to that position, it is said that whoever controlled Stirling, controlled Scotland.

Those venturing from the north will see the National William Wallace Monument, towering high above the fields where the knight led the force that defeated the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

Some 17 years later, Robert the Bruce’s troops were victorious over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn nearby, after Stirling Castle, occupied by the English, came under siege by the Scottish army.

After this, Stirling shared the rank of a capital city with Edinburgh until the mid-16th Century.

Stirling Castle is perched on an extinct volcano, and dates as far back as the 12th Century, with additions built between the 1400s and 1600s. It was used as a royal residence, and most famously was the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots and James IV & I.

The city’s cobbled old town – or Top of the Town – is a hub of Scottish historic architecture close to the castle, perched on the top of a hill.

Coupled with surroundings that are packed with charming countryside views, Stirling, with a population of around 45,000, is increasingly popular with homebuyers.

A property there will cost on average £248,613, according to Zoopla, with the old town featuring a number of affordable and characterful apartments.

Broad Street, leading to Bow Street, is home to the Mercat Cross and a collection of traditional buildings that would fit easily into the Capital’s Royal Mile. A home at these addresses cost on average £123,330 and £155,611, respectively.

Kings Park, west of the centre, is a historic royal park and is surrounded by 19th Century houses within a conservation area.

Victoria Place and Albert Place have a variety of detached and semi-detached Victorian villas, with a price tag of up to £600,000.

Dwellings on Queen Street are just as grand, though have stunning views over the park. Expect to pay an additional £100,000 for one of these.

To the north-east is Forth Crescent, which has even more impressive views, this time over the River Forth, which winds past the city. There are a mix of traditional stone semi-detached villas there, which are more affordable, with an average value of £262,463.

South of Kings Park are a number of addresses with houses that are well suited to families, such as Laburnum Grove and Birch Avenue.

The city is well connected with central bus and train stations. Journeys to Glasgow by rail take around 40 minutes, or 50 minutes to Edinburgh. The M8 and M9 motorways provide easy access by car.

For those with children, primary schools include Allan’s, Bannockburn, St Ninians and St Mary’s RC. Secondary education is provided at Stirling High, Bannockburn High and St Modan’s High. Fairview International School and Strathallan are nearby independent offerings.

There are plenty of amenities, including all the big supermarket brands, and for other shopping, head to the Thistles Shopping Centre.

Home buyers hoping to secure their own slice of history in a cultural central Scotland location should add Stirling to the top of their list.

Average market value of a property in the area (Source: Zoopla)

Detached £410,270

Semi-detached £226,525

Terrace £184,681

Flat £165,924

See and do

The National Wallace Monumentis perhaps Stirling’s most famous attraction. It stands proudly on the Abbey Craig above the field where William Wallace led his army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in the 1200s, and was opened to the public in 1869. The monument, designed by architect JT Rochead, includes a series of exhibitions telling the story of William Wallace and the battle. There are unparalleled views across Stirling and beyond from The Crown at the top, pictured. The attraction is open from 9.30am-5pm daily; for tickets, call 01786 472 140.

Stirling Castledates from the early 12th Century and is one of the country’s most impressive castles due to its position and stunning architecture. Visitors can wander up to the attraction via the historic cobbled pathway and learn about the castle’s history and use as a royal residence. There is a Palace Shop and Courtyard Shop for gifts, and the Unicorn Café can take care of any refreshments required, serving lunches, cakes and a children’s menu. The castle is open between 9.30am-5pm daily. Tickets should be booked online to ensure entry and can be done so at www.stirlingcastle.scot.

The Church of the Holy Rude can be found close to the castle. Founded in the 12th Century during the reign of David I as the parish church of Stirling, it is the city’s second-oldest building and hosted the coronation of King James VI in 1567. The church on St John Street is open to visitors daily from 1:30pm-4pm.