On our second day in Stirling we woke to the sun streaming in through the windows and bounced out of bed to get ready for a busy day of playing tourist. As I said before, we'd realised there wasn't much to see or do in Stirling itself, but luckily this was part of a roadtrip! We were able to jump in the car and get out and about. I'd highly recommend hiring a car if you're visiting the area and haven't brought your own. After a delicious breakfast at the Riverhouse Restaurant we headed over to the Wallace Monument.
There's a car park and visitor centre where you purchase your tickets and then take the "5 minute walk" up to the summit of Abbey Craig where the monument sits. I like to think I'm fairly fit but even I was out of breath by the time we reached the top - I was surprised by how steep it actually is - wear comfy shoes!
Once you enter the tower you'll climb 246 steps on a steep spiral staircase to the top. The monument is a tribute to Scotland's "National hero" William Wallace (I presume you've seen Braveheart?) so there's a gallery on each floor telling the story of his life, the Battle of Stirling Bridge and how the Wallace Monument was built as well as pieces about other famous Scots.
Once you reach the "Crown" at the top you'll be amazed by yet more views of the stunning Scottish scenery. I'd thought it would be super windy at the top as it's so high and open to the elements, but it was surprisingly calm and relaxing. There's even wee benches there so if you get a good day like we did it's the perfect place to recover from the climbing trauma!
Afterwards we jumped back in the car and took the short drive over to Bridge of Allan. This small town is really close to Stirling and we much preferred it to the city itself. The high street is filled with little boutiques specialising in everything from whiskey and wine to interior design. My favourites were "Wood Winters" where I picked up a little Edinburgh Gin gift for my parents and "Brown & Co" which was a gorgeous rustic style deli - I got a bit overexcited when I found tricolour quinoa here!
We stopped for lunch al fresco at the Jam Jar - another twitter recommendation, which I loved. Gordon had fish and chips, served with a cute jam jar of tartare sauce while I somehow managed to eat a whole pizza! It had a really thin, light crispy base and was topped with sausage, olives and kale... yum! It's a perfect spot on the high street for a bit of people watching and we took our time, relaxing in the sunshine. You'll find The Jam Jar at 28 Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan.
By now it was only around 2pm so we headed back to the car to do some more exploring...
To be continued...