Visiting the the Falkirk area in the Spring and Summer has to be one of the best times of year, not just to explore our main attractions but also to discover our many hidden gems.
Here are our 10 ideas on how to experience the best of Falkirk.
1. Hop on an electric bike
Falkirk is home to Scotland's largest electric bike share scheme with Forth Bikes. E-bikes give as little or as much assistance as you need, making them great for people new to cycling or those who are used to getting in the saddle. You can find e-bike stations at The Falkirk Wheel and the Helix Park:Home of the Kelpies, meaning they are the ideal way to enjoy a leisurely ride along the Forth & Clyde Canal - it should take between 30-40 minutes to cycle between the two. E-bikes are also now available in Falkirk town centre too. . Fancy more of a challenge? Hit the Helix Around Town Tour route, which connects the area’s cycle networks for a complete circular tour of Falkirk’s many attractions. With e-bike rides starting at just £2, there’s no reason not to give them a try! The Falkirk area is great for cyclists of all abilities check out our Cycling Fun video here.
2.Unearth fantastic trails at Callendar Estate
There are trails to suit the whole family at Callendar Estate. Unearth the fascinating history of the Estate on one of its great heritage walking trails, including the Battle of Falkirk Trail which takes you back to 1746. The Estate is also home to family-friendly mountain bike trails, with routes to suit all abilities. No bike? No problem! Greenrig Cycles on the Estate provide quality mountain bikes for hire. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, finish your trip with a well-earned meal at The Café at Canada Wood.
3. Get canal side
No trip to the Falkirk area is complete without taking in a canal – or two! With the Union and Forth & Clyde Canals meeting at The Falkirk Wheel, there are miles of scenic traffic-free paths to explore many of which area accessible for both buggies and wheelchairs. Take in the Falkirk Tunnel, which carries the Union Canal beneath Prospect Park in Falkirk. Did you know that Burke and Hare moved to Scotland in a bid to be involved in the tunnel’s creation? There’s 350 hectares to explore at the Helix, with The Kelpies and Forth & Clyde Canal at its heart. Discover the Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail, which tells the story of the pioneering steam boat, its creator, and the importance of canals and associated industries to the area.
4. Follow in John Muir’s footsteps
A large section of the John Muir Way can be found in the Falkirk area. A must for walkers and cyclists, the route takes in spots including Callendar House and Park, Bantaskine Estate Park, Falkirk town centre, the Antonine Wall and Avon Aqueduct. You can also use the new John Muir Way Passport to mark your progress on the route. The passport is available to buy at The Falkirk Wheel. Did you know that the Bo’ness Community Bus will take you from the heart of Edinburgh to Bo’ness so you can start your walk there?
5. Step back to the Roman times
Built by the Romans almost 1900 years ago, the Antonine Wall, marked the north west frontier of their empire. Today, its remains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and major sections of the wall run through the Falkirk area. Roam like the Romans and discover sections in Callendar Park, Kinneil Estate, Tamfourhill and Bridgeness or visit Rough Castle in Bonnybridge. The best-preserved fort on the wall, it offers amazing views of the surviving remains.
6. Combine heritage and nature in a country park
You won’t be short of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Muiravonside Country Park. Explore 170 acres of woodland and parkland, with a sculpture trail, river gorge, and stunning panoramic views over the area. Kids will also love the Newparks Farm, with Highland cattle, llamas, Shetland ponies and more! Follow the River Avon Heritage Trail to see the historic Avon Aqueduct, Scotland’s longest and tallest, which carries the Union Canal over the River Avon.
7. Go bird-watching
Kinneil Estate is filled with acres of woodlands and ponds, which provide the perfect place to spot birds including coots, buzzards, and swans. The park is also home to many great attractions including Kinneil Museum, James Watt’s Cottage and Kinneil House – the historic home of the Dukes of Hamilton. With guided tours of the house on selected days throughout the year, you might even be able to spot another resident of the park – their ghost!
8. Get on two wheels – with a difference!
Experience some of Falkirk’s most scenic areas on a tour with the Scottish Segway Centre. Their expert guides will teach you all the skills you need before you embark on a tour that takes in many of the area’s best-known attractions. Travel through woodlands and hidden paths to discover breathtaking views, including the top of The Falkirk Wheel and the remains of the Antonine Wall. They can also take you through the stunning Canada Wood, where the Jacobites once fought.
9. Uncover historic hidden gems
Discover amazing historical sites on the Falkirk Town Heritage Trail. Starting at the Falkirk Steeple, the trail links 25 sites including the Old Burgh Halls, Falkirk Old Parish Church, the Tattie Kirk, and the old Barr’s site.
The Steeple Heritage Centre opening in April 2020 offers a free of charge visit with displays telling Falkirk's story and the history of the present and earlier buildings, along with access to the 19th century prison cells.
Make sure to visit some of the great shops and eateries the town has to offer while on your walk. A short walk from the town centre you will find Dollar Park a beautiful area of mature parkland, with walled garden and cafe.
10. Take a walk on the wild side
Nestled in the heart of Grangemouth, the Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre is a real wildlife haven. Filled with birds, butterflies, and wildflowers, it’s the perfect place to slow down and relax. Enjoy their great events throughout autumn, including learning about super slimers, hedgehog hibernation, and how to become a nature detective.
If you’re out exploring don’t forget to share your amazing images with us by using #VisitFalkirk!