So you’ve arrived in Falkirk, you’ve got around a day to spend, but you don’t know where to go! Below is how I would spend my day in Falkirk as someone who’s grown up near to the area!
Arrive by Canal and check out the Falkirk Wheel
To explain, the Union Canal joins Edinburgh city centre with Falkirk, stopping off in places like the historic town of Linlithgow along the way in between. If you then hop off at the Falkirk Wheel, after spending the day here, you can hop back on at the other side of the Falkirk Wheel and onto the Forth & Clyde Canal which will take you as far as the Irish Sea on the west of Scotland! Effectively, instead of taking the train from East to West of Central Scotland, you can rock it in a canal boat! When you’re not short of time I personally would recommend this option when travelling from Edinburgh city centre to the Glasgow area or vice versa.
So once you’ve arrived from Edinburgh or Linlithgow say by boat into Falkirk, the first thing you can do is check out the engineering feet that is the Falkirk Wheel! It’s essentially the world’s first rotating boat lift, standing at 115ft tall and needs only the power of 8 domestic kettles apparently to sail boats through the air and transfer them between the two canals, i.e. the Union Canal and the Forth & Clyde Canal.
Marvel at the Kelpies
Next, I suggest you visit the incredible Kelpies, i.e. the massive horse like structures designed by sculptor Andy Scott. This is probably the one thing I recommend that you don’t miss out on in Falkirk no matter what. Inspired by the horses who once powered Scotland’s canals, the two 30m-tall horse heads, standing alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal, are the centrepiece of the 740-acre Helix Park and the gem of Falkirk. Definitely don’t miss out seeing this if you come to Falkirk!
Make your way to Callendar House
Following on from a trip to the Kelpies, a wee visit to Callendar House is in order to soak up some history! Having played host to the likes of Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell and Bonnie Prince Charlie, this 14th Century building is set in the surroundings of Callendar Park – another great place to go for a picnic if the weather is good! Falkirk Archives is also based at Callendar House if you fancy reading up a bit about Falkirk’s history!
Have lunch at Callendar House Tearoom
While you’re at Callendar House, you might also want to pop in for a bite to eat at Callendar House Tearoom. The main reason for coming here are the parkland views surrounding you while you eat.
For something a wee bit more fun and to get the adrenaline going, especially if you’re travelling with kids, you might want to try a bit of go-karting while you’re in the Falkirk area. It’s also just something different from historical or sight-seeing stuff to do. Xtreme Karting, over in Lochlands Business Park, also advertise an escape room in the Falkirk area. However, I’ve only actually tried their karting business at the moment, so this is the one I’d recommend currently!
Come back in time for night-time pics of the Kelpies
Before you leave Falkirk, please do also make a return trip back to the Kelpies at night for some sunset or nigh-time pictures of the sculpted masterpiece! It’s definitely one of those picture-taking kinda structures.
I’ll be sure to write more about Falkirk in the coming weeks and months, especially recommendations of accommodation and places to eat & drink! For now though, hopefully this gives you a wee guide on where to go should you decide to embark upon a trip here!