Forth Valley Tourist Route

Forth Valley Tourist Route

Length 43 miles / 69 km

Have your camera at the ready as you explore locations such as the Forth Bridge and Antonine Wall, which are both World Heritage Sites, the impressive metalwork of The Kelpies by Andy Scott and the fascinating engineering feat that is The Falkirk Wheel. Wind your way along the Firth of Forth, through West Lothian and into the Forth Valley on this excellent alternative route to Stirling, a city that’s bursting with fascinating history.

Highlights

FORTH BRIDGE, SOUTH QUEENSFERRY

Come and see this iconic railway bridge.

The iconic Forth Bridge has left an impression on visitors and locals alike since its construction over the Firth of Forth began in 1883. Snap photos from the historic town of South Queensferry of the railway bridge and its siblings, the Forth Road Bridge and the new Queensferry Crossing, browse the local independent shops and explore the history of the bridges in Queensferry Museum. From here you can also board a boat for a ride under the bridge and on to Inchcolm Island, which is a haven for birdlife, and home to Inchcolm Abbey and fascinating wartime fortifications.

BLACKNESS CASTLE

A formidable fortress and star of the small screen.

Attention Outlander TV fans! This impressive 15th century fortress, which juts out into the Firth of Forth, was the filming location for the Fort William headquarters of Black Jack Randall in the popular series. Small screen appearances aside, Blackness Castle has a fascinating history as a royal residence, a garrison fortress and an ammunition depot. On route here you can also stop off at Hopetoun House, a stately home and gardens. Nearby you’ll find the grand House of the Binns, a 17th century country home and parkland.

LINLITHGOW PALACE

Find out its strong connections with the Stuart dynasty.

The birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and James V, Linlithgow Palace is a loch side treasure, an elegant ruin and was once a favoured royal residence for Stuart kings and queens. Another must-see location from the Outlander TV series, it was filmed as a prison entrance and corridors in the scene where Jamie was imprisoned. Whilst in town you can also explore the art exhibitions at the Burgh Halls, browse the local shops for some great gifts and, on weekends across the summer months, visit Linlithgow Canal Centre and take a short cruise on the Union Canal.

BO’NESS & KINNEIL RAILWAY

Hop aboard a vintage train.

Full steam ahead to Bo’ness for a ride on the heritage railway line and a tour of the Museum of Scottish Railways. Travel through the lush countryside on a short train ride, explore the three station stops, one of which is on a local nature reserve, and meet the driver.

At the museum you can explore restored carriages, have a go at sorting in the Travelling Post Office and operate signal points. Nearby Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway you can also visit the 1920s Hippodrome cinema, Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema, and Bo’ness Motor Museum.

KINNEIL MUSEUM AND ESTATE

Explore Roman connections on this historic estate.

Home to a section of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site, Kinneil Estate has a varied history which begins in Roman times and is charted in the museum in the stable block at Kinneil House. To give you an idea, Antoninus Pius, St Serf, Mary Queen of Scots and James Watt are among the many historical characters associated with the estate. Wander through Kinneil Estate and you’ll come across not only remains of the Antonine Wall, but also the remnants of a Roman Fortlet and a 12th century church, as well as acres of woodlands to explore.

JUPITER URBAN WILDLIFE CENTRE, GRANGEMOUTH

A family-friendly reserve.

Grangemouth is known for its links with industry, so you may be surprised that there is a green oasis in the heart of the town. The industrial landscape has been transformed into a thriving habitat for wildlife at Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre. Pop by this free attraction and you and your family can have a go at a range of activities, including pond dipping and shelter building. The reserve is home to a range of wildflower and native trees, such as Rowan and Scots Pine. Nearby you will also find Grangemouth Golf Club, which has a challenging and enjoyable course.

THE HELIX, FALKIRK

Have your camera ready for the mighty Kelpies.

The Helix park is home to the striking Kelpies, two 30 foot high stainless steel sculptures by Andy Scott. You can’t miss the huge horse-like braying heads of the two kelpies, which are based on mythical Scottish creatures. You can get a closer look, and even explore inside the sculptures on a tour from the visitor centre.

With pedalo boats, cycle paths and an adventure playpark there is lots to keep young ones busy – and if you bring a towel and change of clothes you could even have fun getting soaked in the splash play area!

THE FALKIRK WHEEL

Take a canal boat trip on this incredible rotating lift.

The Forth & Clyde and Union canals are linked together by The Falkirk Wheel, an impressive piece of engineering, which opened in 2002. Learn about and ride a canal boat on the world’s only rotating boat lift and enjoy activities by the canal, such as cycling, walking, canoeing, segway rides and playing in the water park. You can hire canoes, bikes and electric boats, so there’s no excuse for not taking to the water! Here you’ll also find a walk to see the remains of the Antonine Wall, which was created from earthen mounds in Roman times. 

BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN

Rally the troops for an exciting battle experience.

Are you prepared for battle? Then get ready to chaaaaarge! At the immersive Battle of Bannockburn experience you don’t only walk around the battlefield, you take part in the fight! Join a virtual 3D battle and watch as the action unfolds between the armies of Robert the Bruce and Edward II in a recreation of the 1314 event. Nearby you’ll also find Brucefields Family Golf Centre and Ladywell Park.

STIRLING CASTLE

Discover the splendour of the renaissance palace.

On the approach to Stirling you’ll see the rolling Ochil Hill range stretched out before you, and also spot two of the city’s most famous attractions – Stirling Castle upon the hill in the city centre and the towering National Wallace Monument on Abbey Craig, a hill to the east of the city. At the castle you can meet James V and Mary of Guise, in the form of costumed guides in the Royal Palace, admire the meticulously woven Stirling Tapestries and, if you have children in tow, explore the wonderfully playful palace vaults.

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