The Best DIY Self-Guided Walking Tour in Stirling (Including Map)! (2023)

My favourite thing to do once I arrive in any new place is to embark on a walking tour. As Stirling is one of Scotland’s most historically important cities, I didn’t think I would have any trouble finding one there. However, it turns out the Stirling walking tour options are somewhat limited and a little expensive.

Knowing that I couldn’t be alone in wanting to get under the skin of this fascinating city, I put together my very own self-guided walking tour based on recommendations from hostel staff and other travellers.

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Stirling Walking Tour Map

The route winds through the fascinating streets of the Old Town and takes around an hour to complete. This does not include the time spent at each paid attraction. If you intend on going into the Old County Jail or Stirling Castle, you will be looking at roughly the whole day.

There is some steep uphill paths but nothing too challenging. The route can be followed in the order listed or completed in reverse.

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Your Self-Guided Stirling Walking Tour

Mercat Cross, Broad St, FK8 1EF

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You will begin your tour at the Mercat Cross, located close to Stirling’s famous castle. The Mercat Cross is the Scottish name for the market cross, commonly found it Scottish cities. Essentially, this area was where the monarch, baron or bishop granted the residents of the city the right to hold a market.

State and civic proclamations also used to be read from the Mercat Cross by the town-crier. This was done to inform the Scottish people of happenings locally and after the marriage of the thistle and the rose, also bought news from London.

Historically, the Mercat Cross was a hugely important area for local people and they would come there to do their shopping, catch up on gossip and even watch executions.

Mar’s Wark, FK8 1EG

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Walk up Broad Street towards the ruined building to see Mar’s Wark. This structure was originally built in 1570-1572 by John Erskine, the Earl of Mar and keeper of Stirling Castle under James VI. Although this formerly grand Renaissance townhouse was once beautifully decorated, today it stands in ruins.

Beedy eyed visitors will be able to spot the royal arms above the entrance to Erskine’s house, used to demonstrate his grand status. It is possible to walk around the ruins but you will need to enter from the back, via the graveyard. Don’t rush off just yet though, our walking tour will take us through the graveyard in good time!

Stirling Castle, Castle Esplanade, FK8 1EJ

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No walking tour around Stirling would be complete without a visit to this 12th-century castle. This magnificent castle was formerly the official royal residence for Scotland’s monarchy and Mary Queen of Scots grew up here.

Outside the castle, there is a large statue commemorating Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce. The castle and the surrounding area gives way to some incredible views on a clear day and you can see out to the Wallace Monument and beyond.

Entrance into the castle costs £16/£15 in advance (adults). However, if you are looking to visit a few historic Scotland sights during your trip, you may find it better value to invest in an Explorer Pass.

Old Town Cemetery, FK8 1EG

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Head towards the Star Pyramid, also known as Salem Rock and make your way down the stairs and into the Old Town Cemetery. It is no secret to regular readers, that I love exploring cemeteries and make a conscious effort to explore them when I get the time.

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The oldest part of the Old Town Cemetery is located next to the Holy Rude Church and this is where you can see some of the most interesting of the graves. Owing to the time at which the first people were buried in the Old Town Cemetery, few could read and write. Therefore, carvings of pictures were used to tell the story of their lives. It is possible to guess a lot of the occupations relating to the deceased just by looking at their graves.

Perhaps the most notable resident of the cemetery is John Cowane, Stirling’s greatest benefactor. Although he was involved in many forms of work, he is most famous for the Cowane’s Trust and Hospital, located just outside of the cemetery, close to the Church of the Holy Rude.

Cowane’s Hospital, 49 St John Street, FK8 1ED

Built in 1637 as an almshouse and also known as the Guildhall, Cowane’s Hospital was funded by local merchant John Cowane, Dean of the Merchant Guild. Originally, this place was used for Guild members to meet in but after this, it was used as a school and then as a hospital during times of epidemic.

Unfortunately, the hospital was undergoing maintenance during my visit so I wasn’t able to look around, however, when open, visitors are able to peruse the great hall and garden for free.

Church of the Holy Rude, St John St, FK8 1ED

On the surface, this church appears to have a strange name but archaically, Holy Rude means Holy Cross. The church has huge historical importance and has hosted both royal baptisms and coronations. It was here that King James VI was crowned King of Scots in 1567.

It is possible to go inside the church but visitors should be aware that it closes its doors in winter. However, there is a plaque outside which details some of the church’s history.

Stirling Tolbooth, Jail Wynd, FK8 1DE

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Once you have finished at the church, turn right on to St John Street. As you walk, you will see the Tolbooth on the left. This was the main municipal building in Stirling and housed both a courthouse and a jail. Prisoners awaiting execution were kept in the tallest windows and you can still see the bars there to this day.

In current times, the Tolbooth is used as a centre for creatives. It hosts regular events, including live music, painting classes and comedy shows.

Old Town Jail, St John St, FK8 1EA

Opposite the Tolbooth and on the side of the road on which you are standing, is the Old Town Jail. Once the Tolbooth became too overcrowded to take any more prisoners, the Old Town Jail opened under pressure from prison reformers.

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The prison has a fascinating history and visitors are definitely advised to check out the jail. As with many other Scottish attractions, the Old Town Jail is closed in the winter.

SYHA Youth Hostel, St John St, FK8 1EA

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Continue to follow the road and look out for the youth hostel on your right. Initially, it seems like an odd attraction to include on a walking tour but bear with me. The youth hostel is located in the grounds of Erskine Marykirk, the first church to officially withdraw from the Church of Scotland’s authority after the reformation.

The church’s founder Ebeneezer Erskine (not to be confused with John Erskine from earlier), is buried in a tomb right outside the building.

Stirling Highland Hotel, Spittal St, FK8 1QT

Located close to the youth hostel along the same side of the road is the Stirling Highland Hotel. Previously, the hotel started its life as a Franciscan convent founded by King James IV. This was its purpose for over 50 years until it was demolished in 1559 during the reformation.

After this, it was turned into the Stirling High School before finally being reopened as a hotel. The hotel is very proud of its roots and suggestions of the building’s previous life are apparent throughout the property. The on-site restaurant is aptly named ‘The Scholar’ and photographs of the eight headteachers that once worked there are still on display in the bar area.

If you fancy booking a stay in Stirling’s most historic hotel, you can check availability here.

The Atheneum, Spittal St, FK8 1DU

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Continue down Spittal Street and at the joining of King Street, look out for the Atheneum. Built in 1816 on the site of a former meat market, this library cum municipal offices is now the home of ‘wee Wallace’ a statue dedicated to Scotland’s most famous freedom fighter. Big Wallace is situated at Wallace Monument.

Stirling Back Walk, FK8 2HU

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Follow the road past the Corn Exchange and onto Back Walk. It begins opposite the library at Corn Exchange Road and is marked by a carving of a wolf. This comes from a folk tale, believed to be from the 9th-century. In this story, a Viking raid disturbed a sleeping wolf and once awoken, the wolf let out an almighty howl. This howl alerted the folk in Stirling and saved the city from attack.

This urban walkway follows the old city walls right up to Stirling Castle, before continuing back up to the Old Town. The views are beautiful on a clear day and there is the opportunity to take in even more history on the route, in particular, that of the beheading stone which was once used for public executions.

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Alternatively, book yourself on to a Stirling walking tour!

Travellers looking for more guidance can always book themselves onto a walking tour around Stirling. Admittedly, there isn’t loads of choice but the tours on offer do get consistently good reviews. Walking Tours In is a company that is highly rated by travellers.

If the above tours is a little out of your price range, the Willy Wallace hostel also runs a free (tip-based) walking tour but this is only for guests. You must sign up the day before and be ready when the tour leaves, around 10 am.

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Where to stay in Stirling:

Willy Wallace Hostel ($)

For budget travellers, there is no better choice than the Willy Wallace hostel. Offering dorm rooms and cheap privates, this hostel is a great place to meet other travellers. There is a communal kitchen so that guests can cook and a large common area. The cheapest dorm bed available is just $18/£13.

The Golden Lion Hotel ($$)

Having played host to plenty of notable guests over the years, The Golden Lion is one place that has got hospitality nailed. Scottish poet Robert Burns sat on one of these windowsills to write and other guests have even been from the Royal family. The hotel is centrally located and rooms begin at $63/£48 per night.

Hotel Colessio ($$$)

This stunning hotel is located in a Victorian building in the centre of Stirling. Everything about Hotel Colessio screams luxury, from the down pillows and duvets to the opulent amenities from the White Company. Rooms begin at $85/$65 per night, not including breakfast which is an additional $19/£15.

Have you been on a walking tour around Stirling?

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How do you make a good walking tour? ›

5 Tips for Creating A Walking Tour People Recommend
  1. 1 - Tell a Story. Your tour-takers want to go beyond just walking through your stops; they want to experience them. ...
  2. 2 - Be mindful of the distance and walking conditions. Consider the Climate. ...
  3. 3 - Stops. ...
  4. 4 - Content. ...
  5. 5 - Test out your tour.

What is an example of self-guided tour? ›

A popular example of a self-guided tour is the Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal, done by thousands of travelers every year, most of whom are not professional trekkers. It's a set trail through the Nepalese Himalayas, and all travelers seeking to do it must first apply for a permit.

How do you make a walking tour map? ›

How to create your own walking tour
  1. Evaluate the demand. ...
  2. Identify your target market. ...
  3. Decide on the theme. ...
  4. Create a tour itinerary. ...
  5. Select attractions to include along the route. ...
  6. Choose a duration. ...
  7. Create a walking tour map. ...
  8. Determine your costs.
Oct 28, 2021

Are self-guided tours worth it? ›

Benefits of Booking a Self-Guided Trip

On a self-guided vacation, you get the perks of a multi-day group tour: an expertly planned itinerary but with more flexibility to pick and choose what you want, spend more time somewhere, and never wory about keeping up with the tour group.

How long should a walking tour be? ›

Length of Tour

Try to plan the walk for an hour, and no more than an hour and a half. Walks usually take longer than the original plan because there will be contributions from the participants. Some people get uncomfortable standing or walking for longer periods of time, and need a place to sit.

What should I bring on a walking tour? ›

What to pack for a walking vacation
  • Breathable Clothing. ...
  • Walking boots. ...
  • Day pack. ...
  • Water bottle / Hydration pack. ...
  • Snacks. ...
  • First aid kit. ...
  • Sun protection. ...
  • (Head) torch.

How can I design my own tour? ›

Here are some basic steps to follow when looking at components of a tour itinerary:
  1. Start by researching ideas for your tour. ...
  2. Evaluate the competition. ...
  3. Look into partnering with vendors or attractions. ...
  4. Decide on the mode of transportation. ...
  5. Find out where to accommodate guests. ...
  6. Plan the route. ...
  7. Walk it out.
Oct 25, 2021

How do I plan my own tour? ›

How To Plan A Trip In 5 Simple Steps
  1. Pick your destination. ...
  2. Decide the duration of your trip. ...
  3. Book flights, train, or bus tickets, and accommodation. ...
  4. Plan the day-wise activities and course of action. ...
  5. Pack diligently and make all the necessary adjustments.
Nov 5, 2021

What is the best map for walking? ›

Harvey maps
  • They are more compact, lighter and printed on weatherproof paper.
  • They are less cluttered in appearance and include extra detail to help walkers navigate the terrain more easily.
  • Each map focuses on a particular walking area or long-distance path, avoiding the need to carry several OS maps.

What is the best map to use when planning a walk? ›

If you are planning an urban route a street map can work well, although many show little detail if you are crossing green spaces. For your own safety, don't try to use larger scale maps designed for driving, as these do not show enough off-road features.

How do you make a 360 walking tour? ›

Method 1: Google Tour Creator
  1. Step 1: Take Your 360° Photos. ...
  2. Step 2: Open Up Tour Creator and Create a New Tour. ...
  3. Step 3: Create Your First VR Scene. ...
  4. Step 4: Edit Your Scene. ...
  5. Step 5: Add Audio, Narration, and Points of Interest (Optional) ...
  6. Step 6: Save and Publish Your Tour. ...
  7. Final Home Tour Using Google Tour Creator.
Mar 25, 2020

What do you think are the disadvantages of self-guided tour? ›

  • Lack of flexibility and control over the itinerary and accomodation.
  • Higher price than in case of independent self-guided tour.
  • You pay for each person taking part in the tour.
Dec 15, 2017

Is it better to go on a package tour or travel on your own? ›

A package tour offers a sense of belonging in a group of like-minded tourists who are in a mission to explore and enjoy new places and culture, while a solo travel allows freedom to immerse yourself in interesting things (i.e. non-touristy, off-beaten path, etc.), which a guided tour may not be able to provide.

Is it better to use a travel agent or do it yourself? ›

Good agents get you the most accurate information on travel advisories, vaccination recommendations, security issues, and visa requirements. They are your eyes and ears on the ground and will make sure you don't put yourself in a situation you will regret later.

How much should I pay for a free walking tour? ›

It depends on the length of the tour, how other people are on the tour and and how satisfied you are after the tour, but it's common to tip anywhere from $5-$20 per person. If you consider the cost of paying for a group or private tour, even though “free” tours aren't totally free, you're still saving money.

What is a good distance to walk everyday? ›

Walking is a form of low impact, moderate intensity exercise that has a range of health benefits and few risks. As a result, the CDC recommend that most adults aim for 10,000 steps per day . For most people, this is the equivalent of about 8 kilometers, or 5 miles.

How many miles can you reasonably walk in a day? ›

Trained Walkers

That suggests that If a walker is well-trained and takes breaks, they can walk 20 miles in a day. If a walker doesn't take breaks and is going fast, they may be able to cover 30 miles in a day.

Are free walking tours free? ›

Free walking tours are not free, although at the time of translating this term is done in the wrong way (free tour).

What should I wear for trail walking? ›

Hiking sandals and sneakers are appropriate for most terrain, though longer treks may still require hiking boots. Breathable wicking materials (no cotton) are key for shirts, bottoms and hiking socks to keep the sweat off your skin. Lighter colors absorb less heat and can keep you cooler on hot days.

Is there a tour guide app? ›

iTunes / Android

Turn a casual stroll into your own self-guided our with Google's Field Trip. The app runs in the background on your phone and shares information about different spots around the world using a pop-up notification.

What are the 5 stages in Tour planning? ›

If you think about the traveller's journey in marketing terms, and more specifically for accommodation marketing, we talk about The 5 Stages of Travel which include: Dream, Plan/Research, Book, Experience and Share.

What are the five steps on how do you organize tour? ›

Let's go!
  1. STEP 1: CHOOSE THE DESTINATION. Nowadays social media plays a massive part in inspiring people to travel more. ...
  2. STEP 2: PLAN AN ITINERARY. No place as an 'ideal' duration for me, it all depends on you. ...
  4. STEP 4: PLAN WHAT TO SEE & DO. ...
Apr 21, 2022

Which three skills are most important for a tour guide? ›

A quality tour guide should show accurate and significant knowledge while providing an engaging experience for guests.
  • Knowledge of the Tour Area. ...
  • Ability To Communicate Effectively. ...
  • Strong Empathy and Understanding. ...
  • Charismatic Personality. ...
  • Keen Ability To Improvise and Adapt.
May 20, 2022

What are the four basic skills needed for a tour guide? ›

There are six key skills of a tour guide that you should be carrying out on your tours:
  • Communication. It should go without saying that every tour guide worth their salt has excellent communication skills. ...
  • Energy. ...
  • Dynamism. ...
  • Memory. ...
  • A sense of humour. ...
  • Professionalism.

What are the 4 types of tour packages? ›

Package tours are generally classified on the basis of their operation and types of services included. These are basically classified into independent tour, escorted tour, incentive tour, hosted tour and freedom tour.

What is the best free walking map app? ›

11 free walking apps
  • Footpath Route Planner for iPhone. ...
  • Go Jauntly for iPhone and Android. ...
  • AlpineQuest Off-Road Explorer, for Android. ...
  • Nike Run Club for iPhone or Android.
  • OutDoors GPS for iPhone or iPad. ...
  • ViewRanger, for Android. ...
  • World Walking, available for iPhone and Android. ...
  • Strava, for iPhone and Android.

Is there a free version of MapMyWalk? ›

Is MayMyWalk free? MapMyWalk is available for free to download on iOS and Android devices. Premium membership allows an ad-free experience and unlocks features such as training plans, live tracking, heart rate analysis.

Is there an app to map a walking route? ›

Footpath is the ultimate companion for planning and navigating custom routes. Join millions of adventurers and plan out your perfect route. Quickly measure distances by tracing a map with your finger or Apple Pencil. Footpath will snap to roads and trails on the map.

How do I map my walking distance? ›

Measure distance between points
  1. On your computer, open Google Maps.
  2. Right-click on your starting point.
  3. Select Measure distance.
  4. To create a path to measure, click anywhere on the map. To add another point, click anywhere on the map. ...
  5. When finished, on the card at the bottom, click Close .

How many miles is 10,000 steps? ›

How many steps in a mile? An average person has a stride length of approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet. That means that it takes over 2,000 steps to walk one mile and 10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles.

How do you make a 360 tour for free? ›

The first method is done using Google Street VIew. Google Street View is an application by Google that lets you take 360 degree panoramic photos of any location. You can shoot a virtual tour of any location whether it be your house, a facility, or an office.

Is MY360 free? ›

FREE APP for MY360 subscribers. Shoot & Upload your 360º images to the My360 platform while on location. Create great virtual tours using your Theta, Samsung, Iris, LG, any other spherical camera or DSLR.

What is a self guided home tour? ›

Self-guided house tours are a type of contactless home showing that allows prospective home buyers and renters to visit the property unsupervised. While touring the home, an agent may be available to answer questions during or after the tour but is not physically present.

What are the common problems encountered by a tour guide during the tour? ›

Tour guides face many challenges and difficulties due to their profession conditions that can be detailed as follows: 1- Seasonality, part-time work and casual employment conditions that greatly and negatively affect the amount of work and available income; 2- Freelance nature and self-employed 3- Unsocial working ...

What are the benefits of using a tour guide? ›

A tour guide helps you explore the unexplored streets, corners, food joints, and architectural structures, cultural and historical information. They also help you see the best version of the country you are visiting.

How do I choose the best tour package? ›

Compare place, time and travel

Settle on the type of tour you want before anything else. If you're using a travel agent to book, don't go in without having done some prior research. Ask the options from the travel agent and choose the operator who is best for you. This is also the same with sight-seeing options.

Is it cheaper to travel with a tour package? ›

See, tour packages are always cheaper but your flexibility gets restricted. If you're one of those who would like to sit back and let someone else plan things for you, tour packages are the best. It also takes care of any food restrictions you might have.

Is it cheaper to buy travel packages? ›

Package Deals Typically Are Good Deals

Those bundles are almost always a better price, or they offer some additional perk that booking a la carte wouldn't offer.”

How much do you give for a walking tour? ›

It depends on the length of the tour, how other people are on the tour and and how satisfied you are after the tour, but it's common to tip anywhere from $5-$20 per person. If you consider the cost of paying for a group or private tour, even though “free” tours aren't totally free, you're still saving money.

How do you make a tour fun? ›

Here's a few ideas to get people to love you as a guide and your team:
  1. Take a personal interest in your guest. ...
  2. Tell a story. ...
  3. Inject a bit of humor. ...
  4. Get dramatic! ...
  5. Master the small touches. ...
  6. Be flexible to the needs and interests of your guest. ...
  7. Include them in the fun. ...
  8. Prepare fun packs — coloring, small games…

How do you set up a tour? ›

How to book a tour for your band
  1. Find out what are your most active local markets. ...
  2. Decide on the target region. ...
  3. Set up a date range. ...
  4. Set up your priorities and then fill up the details. ...
  5. Book venues. ...
  6. Once booked, set up your route. ...
  7. Start promoting. ...
  8. (Optional) Find local openers.
Nov 18, 2019


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