• Fraser Henderson

Why Stirling Is Still Great For Culture

There was naturally some disappointment recently when the shortlist for the 2025 UK City of Culture was named and Stirling was not on it.


Having carried the torch for Scotland as the one city making the longlist, Stirling was left out alongside the County of Cornwall, Derby and a combined bid by the Northern Irish settlements of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.


This has left the County of Durham, County Borough of Wrexham, Bradford and Southampton still in the race.


It is not for us or anyone else to disparage those locations that remain in the running, as they will all have their great claims to fame (and after all, how many famous ships have sailed out of Stirling and then sunk after hitting an iceberg?) But it is only right to issue a reminder of the great reasons for the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ being in the contest in the first place.


Of course, when it comes to eating out in Stirling, you’ll know exactly where to come. And superb food here should keep you nicely fuelled up for a great exploration of the city and its many treasures.


Firstly, there’s the history. If ever a place was central to the cultural history of Scotland, this is it, from the battlements of Stirling Castle to the battlefields of Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge.


It is no surprise the William Wallace monument is located here, along with the older statue of the legendary hero. Suffice to say, another statue, erected in the 1990s and looking suspiciously like Mel Gibson, proved somewhat unpopular and has now been sent packing to Brechin.


However, it’s not all about past conflicts with the English. There is also Cambuskenneth Abbey, the Old Town Jail, the lovely King’s Park and loads of gorgeous Georgian architecture to enjoy.


All this goes to show that while Stirling missed out on the culture title this time, it has every good reason to bid again. But it doesn’t need any special title to offer something great to visitors - not least the food.

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