Falkirk, located in Scotland’s Central Lowlands, is a tourist-friendly city with a laid-back vibe, lovely surroundings, and a ton of things to do. Enjoy your trip by checking out our list of the best sights and activities in Falkirk.
1. Ogle The Kelpies at The Helix.
The Helix is a well-known public park in Falkirk and the location of the area’s top attractions. The Kelpies, two 100-foot-tall Clydesdale sculptures, are without a doubt the focal point of this 350-hectare park. These spectacular works of art may be seen for kilometres in the distance and lure tourists from all over the world.
The statues are surrounded by water in a nod to their aquatic mythology. An inside-the-massive-sculptures guided tour is available to visitors for a charge. There are several areas around to sit and take in the beauty, including green space, walking trails, and The Kelpies Visitor Center.
Every day of the year, the Kelpies are open to the public and usually have to light up until an hour after nightfall. The tourist centre on-site offers amenities like a café, gift store, and exhibition space but has more constrained hours.
Don’t only go to The Kelpies when you visit The Helix. There is a lot to discover in this magnificent public park. A well-known adventure play park and water fountains may be found on the property. It also has a lot of lovely scenery, like wetlands, woods, and lagoons.
2. Visit Callendar Park and Callendar House for the Day
The beautiful 14th-century French chateau-style home is known as Callendar House. Additionally, it serves as the focal point of Falkirk’s 140-acre Callendar Park. This beautiful house and surrounding grounds emanate history and provide a number of tourist attractions.
The Callendar House is open to visitors for a cost-free self-guided sightseeing tour. Inside, there are permanent exhibits that span the history of the house and the neighbourhood, giving visitors information about its Roman occupation as early as the eleventh century. An 1825 kitchen that has been repaired is one of the interior’s other attractions.
Without ever inside the mansion, Calendar Park is worth a trip. It has a sizable playground area with a Roman theme and a system of forest pathways.
This park is frequently used by locals and tourists for picnics, dog walks, and other outdoor activities.
3. Explore Falkirk Town Center.
A visit to Falkirk’s lively town centre is a need for any trip there. This pedestrian-friendly area of the city is lined with shops, cafes, and full-service restaurants, which beckon window shopping and general exploring. It’s a terrific area to visit for a bite to eat because there are restaurants there that serve every meal of the day.
The Howgate Shopping Centre is the area’s most densely populated shopping centre. This retail centre offers a variety of regional and national stores to browse, including fashion, home goods, and beauty salons. Every day of the week, this indoor shopping centre is open.
For those who enjoy history, Falkirk Town Centre is a great location. The entire town centre is a reflection of the town’s long history. The Falkirk Town Heritage Trail is the best approach to learning about this past. The 1814-old Falkirk Steeple is the starting point of this self-guided tour, which also covers 25 other interesting sites.
4. Enjoy Dollar Park’s Gardens.
Near the town centre is the nicely designed park known as Dollar Park. It features several family-friendly attractions, such as a large variety of flowers that bloom all year long. The park includes a playground area, a large open area, and a stunning two-story Victorian residence in addition to the enormous gardens.
The Arnotdale Cafe, which is open every day of the week, is located in the Victorian mansion. Before or after visiting the park, stop by for lunch, tea, or other light refreshments. The Arnotdale House serves as the gateway to the park’s lovely Walled Garden, which contains a number of striking features.
The park only has a number of attractions available throughout the summer (April to September). Tennis courts and an 18-hole putting green are part of this complex. This summer, there is also access to a bouncy castle, which is very popular with young kids.
5. Visit The Dunmore Pineapple on a Day Trip
The Earl of Dunmore constructed a distinctive summer residence called The Dunmore Pineapple. One of its most striking features is a huge stone pineapple that towers over the structure and symbolizes one of the rarest fruits once found in Scotland. Visitors can now wander the lovely woodland grounds and take pictures of the Dunmore Pineapple.
The about eight-mile trip will take you to the Dunmore Pineapple from Falkirk’s town centre. Before leaving, downloading the directions is helpful for navigating the rural area. When visiting, be prepared for potholes and other slow-moving traffic situations.
The Dunmore Pineapple can be explored quickly and captured on camera. If you want to extend your visit to the gorgeous estate and the nearby woodlands, wear comfortable walking shoes. The National Trust for Scotland offers lodgings at The Pineapple for those who want to stay overnight.
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6. Walk along the John Muir Trail
One of Scotland’s Great Trails, the John Muir Way, is a well-liked path for long-distance cycling and walking. From coast to coast, the route travels 215 kilometres (133 miles) through Central Scotland. The John Muir Way’s western end lies in Helensburgh, close to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. John Muir’s hometown of Dunbar serves as the eastern terminus.
The Falkirk Wheel and Callendar House are only a couple of the major tourist destinations that are connected to John Muir Way in the middle, which runs straight through Falkirk’s town centre. This portion of the John Muir Way is popular with tourists who come to Falkirk for a relaxing day hike or cycling ride. For those taking the complete road, staying a night or two in Falkirk is also a common choice.
Away from the city, John Muir Way provides fantastic opportunities for exploration. From Falkirk, the route travels 13.6 kilometres (8.5 miles) east to Linlithgow, through sights such as Muiravonside Country Park and the Avon Aquaduct. If you prefer, you can travel 20.8 kilometres (13 miles) west to Kilsyth. Along this stretch, there are spots to stop at Colzium Estate and Rough Castle.
7. Take a trip to Muiravonside Country Park.
The sole country park in Falkirk is Muiravonside, which is a great spot to spend the day outside. It is about seven miles southeast of the city and contains more than 170 acres of open green space and woodlands.
A play area, a working demonstration farm, and an intricate web of natural paths are just a few of its numerous attractions.
There are various animals to meet at Newparks Farm in Muiravonside. Highland cattle, horses, donkeys, and various pig species are among these farm animals. Visitors have the opportunity to interact with these farm animals and see the renovated farmstead structures where they were housed.
Within the park, biking and walking are both common activities. The entire parkland is covered by the River Avon Heritage Trail, which also provides a number of side trips for exploring the surrounding area. Alongside the park, John Muir Way continues, linking with the town centre after a short bike ride.
8. On the Forth & Clyde Canal Towpath, bicycle.
Numerous hiking and biking routes in Falkirk can easily fill a full day. These walking paths offer not only a pleasurable form of exercise but also immediate access to the city’s top sights.
The Forth & Clyde Canal towpath, which connects the Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies, is one of the best paths to take.
The Forth & Clyde Canal Towpath is convenient for bicyclists and pedestrians. The Falkirk stretch of the 106-kilometre (65-mile) towpath, which also includes the Union Canal towpath, is only a minor portion of the whole towpath. This longer route connects Glasgow and Edinburgh and offers cyclists who want to ride between Scotland’s two main cities a practical long-distance option.
9. Appreciate the Falkirk Wheel’s Engineering
A magnificent illustration of human engineering is the Falkirk Wheel. It is hailed as the first revolving boat lifts in the world and is a true display of contemporary Scottish inventiveness.
With a 115-foot spin into the air, the wheel joins the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. Simply put, it’s entertaining to see this system in action, and curious tourists might choose to take a boat ride to do so.
The Falkirk Wheel offers boat excursions every hour of the day. There are two journeys on the wheel during tours, one going up and one coming down, and they run roughly 50 minutes. The science and history behind the wheel are explained through narration along the route. It is advised to purchase tickets in advance for this well-known attraction.
10. Learn about Blackness Castle’s past.
With only a 14-mile drive from Falkirk, Blackness Castle offers a quick and thrilling day excursion.
The castle has a lengthy past. It was initially constructed in the 15th century as a royal home for the wealthy Crichtons family. The castle’s brief reign as a royal residence quickly gave way to its use as a garrison fortress, prison, and armoury.
The castle on the sea, sometimes referred to as the “Ship that never Sailed” due to its boat-like appearance, immediately immerses visitors in this history.
Tourists can explore the grounds, and the castle for a fee, and various informational signs inside the castle go into greater detail about its long history.
11. Go to Stirling
Falkirk can be reached by car or train in less than an hour and will take you to Stirling, a stunning city in the heart of Scotland. Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s largest castles, is one of the city’s many attractions. This spectacular historical structure, which goes back to the fourteenth century, is reason enough to travel to Stirling.
Other activities in Stirling include exploring the lively town centre, going to the National Wallace Monument, and taking a tour of the Stirling Old Town Jail. Historic churches and a number of historical landmarks are also found throughout the city, notably Stirling Old Bridge, the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.
It’s simple to go from Falkirk to Stirling. The distance is just 12 miles, and the trip takes less than 30 minutes. For those searching for straightforward travel along the lines, ScotRail offers an alternative direct route.