Exploring Nearby Bannockburn
You can take an interesting detour to Bannockburn, a name that looms large in Scottish history. It was there that Robert the Bruce, his army of 6,000 outnumbered three to one, defeated the forces of Edward II in 1314. Before nightfall on that day, Robert the Bruce had won back the throne of Scotland. The battlefield, which makes for a peaceful walk today, lies off M80, 3km (1 3/4 miles) south of Stirling.
At the Bannockburn Heritage Centre, Glasgow Road (tel. 0844/493-2139; www.nts.org.uk), an audiovisual presentation tells the story of these events, while The Kingdom of the Scots exhibit traces the history of Scotland from William Wallace to the Union of Crowns. The site is open all year, while the Heritage Centre and shop are open April to October, daily 10am to 5:30pm, and in March, November, and December, daily 10:30am to 4pm. The last audiovisual showing is at 5pm. Admission is £5.50 for adults, £4.50 for seniors and children, and £15 per family.
From the Borestone, where Robert the Bruce commanded his forces at the start of his battle for Stirling, you can see Stirling Castle and the Forth Valley. He planted his standards (flags) as inspiration for his troops, and today a flagpole capped with the standards of Scotland still flies proudly from atop this low hill. It's located off M80/M9 at Junction 9.