From family days out at historic parks, the world’s largest horse sculptures, amazing feats of engineering and plenty of well-preserved Roman heritage, there’s so much to see and do in Falkirk.
Activities in Falkirk
It might sound like a niche claim to fame, but The Kelpies – which are the largest horse sculptures in the world – are an amazing sight up close in person, or indeed seen from a distance as the pair of rearing 30m-high stainless steel horses can be seen from miles around. Finished in 2013, the Kelpies were mythological beasts said to have 10 times the power of an ordinary horse and were created to represent the region’s waterways and industry.
There are in-depth tours available, or you can discover the 350-hectare grounds for yourself, including the visitor centre, café, gift shop and even some Lego building stations. Handily, our Falkirk Central hotel is located close by, with our Falkirk North Hotel just a 15-minute drive away.
Looming 35m in the air like a giant sci-fi prop, the Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift built in 2002 that reconnects the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal. The only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, the ultra-modern and futuristic device was built using 1,200 tonnes of steel and a crew of over 1,000 to piece it together. Over six million visitors have taken a trip on the wheel since it opened: you can book your own boat trip or watch from the side in the café, while there’s also a water park, playground, gift shop and plenty of woodland walks, cycle routes and bike hire.
Dating back to the 14th century, Calendar House is an impressive French-style chateau that’s been restored as a visitor attraction, including an interactive 19th-century style kitchen and several exhibition spaces. The grounds are also home to part of the Antonine Wall, which marked the northern extent of the Roman conquest. You can discover the fascinating history of the area thanks to the Story of Callendar House, a historical archive and museum that covers the history of the region from the 11th century onwards. And, with a bouncy castle, play park, crazy golf, go-karts, a pedalo boating pond and adventure trail, there’s plenty of fun for the little ones as well.
Jutting out into the Firth of Forth, Blackness Castle is an imposing 15th-century castle that was used as an army garrison and prison during its working years. Designed to look like a ship, the impressive fortress offers incredible views across the Forth from the towers and walls, making it a prime location for TV and film plots including Ivanhoe and cult Scottish show Outlander. Located a short drive from our Falkirk East hotel, as well as the castle, there’s a café, gift shop and toilets on site.
Stretching from coast to coast, the Antonine Wall marks the northern edge of the Roman expansion. Built around AD142, and taking just 20 years, the wall is home to some impressive ruins, forts and bathhouses, while archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove of coins, pottery and tools left behind when the Romans abandoned the wall in AD158. As it covers the breadth of the country, there are plenty of opportunities to see the wall in person, with Rough Castle, Polmont Wood, Kinneil Fortlet and Callendar Park being some of the best local places in and around Falkirk to explore.
Recently restored after two years of work, Dollar Park is a must-visit for any young families. Situated 200m from our Falkirk Central hotel, the park has a bouncy castle, tennis courts and an 18-hole putting green, while the pirate themed play park is a big hit with toddlers and children up to 10 years old. If it’s sunny, bring a picnic and sit by the pond or take a walk around the sensory garden, with a stop off at the café for coffee and cake.