Stirling is the most beautiful university in the UK
We’ve got a castle for god’s sake
Many Stirling students find gripes with their experience, whether that be with parking, halls or the weather. However, one thing that cannot be denied is that the campus itself is truly a beauty spot.
Looking across the landscape of Stirling you would not be blamed for wondering how such a historic city can look so underwhelming with its run down council estates, graffiti-covered walls, high deprivation and derelict and uninspiring buildings. But rising from the landscape like a rose bush from a dirty swamp stands Stirling University and its beautiful campus.
Before entering the campus’ front entrance the scenery already has the potential to take your breath away, driving along Airthrey Road and looking to the left into the distance reveals a stunning piece of Scottish history with Stirling Castle overlooking Stirlingshire in despair at what has become of its city.
The campus itself is complimented by its location next door to a decadent and quaint village, Bridge of Allan where you’ll find a relaxing atmosphere among the pleasant locals and paying a visit to the many characterful Cafes and bars that the village has to offer. Highly recommended comes the Allanwater Café where you’ll find undeniably the best fish and chips in the area. Taking a break from the busy main street allows you to appreciate the wonder of the parks in the village where a peaceful stroll to empty all your thoughts is welcomed.
After reluctantly leaving Bridge of Allan the campus welcomes you with warm, open arms as the trees which form an opening to the main entrance widen and you are introduced to a seamless combination of what defines the Scottish land as the hills which dominate the backdrop effortlessly seem to fall all the way down to the loch below.
The loch itself is surrounded by grassy hills where, when the Scottish sunshine appears for one week in April, provides an ideal spot for making the most of the sun’s rarest of appearances. Lying on the grass and bringing out a picnic blanket gives you time to observe how the swans, who make the loch their home, effortlessly glide over the water and passed the canoeing society making the most of the calm waters and the sun or dodging around the odd traffic cone.
Walking around the beautifully constructed paths you’ll spot other wildlife which share their home with you as rabbits bounce around the grounds and quickly disappear under the ground only for a squirrel to quickly disappear as quickly as it appears as it runs up and down the many trees casting their shadow over the loch.
Buildings around the campus, whether that be Cottrell, Pathfoot or any of the halls, although not particularly pretty, they do not overpower the campus and are carefully placed so as to not disturb their natural surroundings and allowing the natural beauty of their surroundings to take centre stage.
Carrying on taking a peaceful stroll through the campus and you will come across Airthrey Castle. A Castle. In the middle of a university. The castle is so understated that it doesn’t dominate the landscape, but is hidden at the back of the campus waiting to reward anyone who walks so far. Entering the castle allows you to appreciate a bit of history and admire the architecture within.
If the scenery hasn’t already left you feeling Scottish and patriotic enough then standing anywhere on campus and looking up towards the Wallace Monument as it stands proudly over you certainly will. Taking a walk up to the Monument as well takes you through a journey of the history of one of Scotland’s most famous sons, William Wallace. Standing atop of the Monument not only gives you incredible views over Stirling, but a vast, sweeping view of the entire Stirling campus, allowing you to appreciate its beauty in full glory.