Ringing in the New Year in Stirling, Scotland

After celebrating Christmas in Sevilla, we returned to Portugal for one last day to pack, saying our goodbyes before heading to Scotland. We spent five days in Stirling area, a city in central Scotland, to ring in the new year.

Our getaway cottage on Kilbryde Castle Estate in Dunblane provided some rest and relaxation. After some hectic travels, we appreciated the peaceful setting the cozy cottage provided.

The night we arrived, fresh snow coated the grounds. The next day, the area was a winter wonderland. The change of scenery from sunny and much warmer Portugal and Spain was quite a contrast, though we were mentally prepared for it and did not mind.

When we went out to Stirling, it rained, and the snow started to melt away. By the next day, it all dissipated.

Here are the highlights of our time in the area:

The Fat Cyclist Cafe, Stirling

We had the best vegan French toasts in the town center of Stirling at The Fat Cyclist Cafe. Though not a vegan joint, this place offers all-day vegan French toasts and pancakes, with gluten-free options. We liked the toasts so much we ate here twice for lunch.

The French toasts are definitely the best, so fluffy and tasty. We were impressed. Nick went for pancakes the first time, but after tasting my toast, he couldn’t resist ordering it like I did on our second visit.

The Kelpies, Falkirk

Not too far from Stirling is Falkirk. And one of the main attractions there is the Kelpies: two massive horse sculptures made from steel, a monument and tribute to the horse heritage that played a role pulling wagons, barges, and ships in central Scotland. The equine structures stand thirty meters or almost a hundred feet tall, weighing an impressive 300 tons each.

The Kelpies name comes from mythological transforming beasts with the strength and endurance of a hundred horses.

We enjoyed seeing the Kelpies. At nighttime, the horses look magical with its color changes.

Doune Castle, Doune

About three miles away from Kilbryde Castle in Doune is Doune Castle. The castle is partially in ruins, and it is best known for being used in films like Outlander, Monty Python, and Game of Thrones.

Wallace Monument, Stirling

On our last day in the area, we couldn’t leave without seeing the Wallace Monument. The monument on Abbey Craig overlooking Stirling commemorates William Wallace, the true hero and patriot of Scotland. He was a rebel leader who led the Battle of the Stirling Bridge on September 11, 1297 against King Edward I of England.

Remember the movie Braveheart? The movie was based on these true events, and Mel Gibson played William Wallace.

Wallace’s original sword is kept at the monument. I remembered seeing how big the sword was in the movie. Then we saw how huge it is. At 1.63 meters, the sword is taller than me!

At the top, the view shows the site of the battle and the former location of Stirling Bridge. It was fascinating to be at such a historical place with so much meaning to Scotland.

The Wallace Monument is worth the visit, especially if you love history. We sure enjoyed our time and wouldn’t have missed it.

We enjoyed our time in Stirling area and was glad to be here. We rang in the new year, and Stirling was stepping stone to a new beginning of our chapter. We’re happy to call Scotland our new home for the next six months and look forward to exploring and hiking this magical and mystical place that is captivating in so many ways.