Falkirk Wheel, the Kelpies and Callander Park
Falkirk has some great visitor attractions – The Falkirk Wheel links the Union Canal with the Forth and Clyde Canal and was built as a millennium project. It is a real feat on engineering and you can get a ride on a canal boat on the wheel. The Kelpies, huge sculptures of water sprites in horse form, a nod to the heavy horses of Falkirk’s industrial past by sculptor Andy Scott are set within Helix Park, which also offers walks and a café and small exhibition. Callander House and Park features in Outlander and has woods and grounds. A circular walk will take you through Callander park and then beneath it through the 845yd Falkirk Tunnel built 200 years ago to transport coal.
You can cycle to all these attractions along the canal from Twechar (1.5 miles from Upper Woodburn) if you are feeling energetic
Bannockburn and the Wallace Monument
Bannockburn, just outside Stirling was the site of Robert the Bruce’s 1314 decisive victory against King Edward and has been memorialised with a multi-media interpretation centre and immersive experience. At the centre of the visitor centre is a 3D enactment of the battle in which you stand at the centre while the action goes on around you – a war game where you can take a battalion into battle on the English or Scottish sides follows and is a great way to understand the battle tactics which brought victory to the Scots that day.
Following that you can continue to the Wallace monument where there is a lovely walk through the woods up to the tower which has four exhibition rooms on the way up the climb to the top and the spectacular views.
A visit to Culross is like a trip back in time. The town was a key centre of power in Scotland in the 17th and 18th centuries and was a central filming location for Outlander. The National Trust for Scotland has restored the buildings and gardens to an incredible condition and provides great interpretation. It is set on the Firth of Forth with interesting history as the site of the first attempt at a tunnel across the Forth. It merits a whole day out, but if you have time afterwards, Charlestown, just along the coast and a planned village and important centre for limekilns is worth a visit.
Jupiter Artland and Roslyn Glen and Chapel
Probably my favourite day out is to Jupiter Artland. It is an incredible sculpture park with such a wide range of international artists such as Charles Jencks, Phyllida Barlow, Christian Boltanski, Helen Chadwick, Andy Goldsworthy, Antony Gormley, and Anish Kapoor, with art works on a truly landscape scale. The art is set in stunning grounds and they also house temporary exhibitions as well as the permanent works. It isn’t far from the incredibly pretty Roslin Glen and the Rosslyn Chapel, which had a starring role in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
Comrie and Creiff
One of my favourite walks is up to the Deil’s Cauldron at Comrie – especially after rain or in winter when the torrents are fierce. You can extend the walk up to the monument and return to the village for a coffee at the Deli or pub grub at the Comrie Arms Hotel. The Comrie Croft has mountain biking, and there is the distillery.