Stirling: where we stayed and where we ate

We’ve just spent two nights at the Stirling Highland Hotel. This was built in the 1850s as the city’s High School and didn’t become a hotel until the 1990s so, although the building is historic, the rooms and facilities are modern and comfortable. The location is excellent – at the bottom of the hill leading up to the Castle – and it has reasonable parking, which is not common in Stirling. The school connection is maintained in the names of the restaurant (Scholar’s) and bar (the Headmaster’s Study). We only used the former for breakfast – it’s a buffet, but I discovered on the second day that veggie sausages were available on request, which pleased me greatly. We had lunch in the bar the day we arrived – we were the only people there, and because the surroundings were so cosy we felt very much at home. However, it was quite pricy for what we had – ok, you’ve spotted the wine I’m sure, but even so £33 seemed a lot for that, a sandwich, a baked potato and two coffees. Overall, though, we were happy with our choice of hotel and would probably go back if we stayed in Stirling again.

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I was really keen to have a curry on our first night, especially after checking Trip Advisor and finding that an Indian restaurant was number one in Stirling.

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Green Gates was untypical both in decor (a converted Georgian townhouse) and menu, which was quite short. However, everything was freshly cooked to order and, because dishes came in two sizes, you could order several small ones and sample a good variety. It was all delicious, but the stand out for us was Punjabi Channa Mushroom Masala which was exquisitely spiced. Service was slow to start with – our starters took a while to arrive – but was always friendly and picked up speed later. Value was excellent – two starters, three small mains, one dessert and four beers for about £45. I would definitely come back here.

The second night, we decided to eat Italian. Mamma Mia was directly opposite the hotel and, as it was pouring with rain, we decided to look no further. It was a friendly place, the interior looked very like a genuine neighbourhood restaurant in Italy, and the food (the Christmas menu at £27.95 for three courses) was excellent. After a bottle of wine and complimentary limoncellos with the bill, we didn’t have to worry about having too far to stagger home to bed either.

Stirling is a great place for a short break. There’s a lot to do, especially if you’re interested in history, which we knew already. However, because it’s somewhere we would normally go on a day trip we didn’t know much about the restaurants available, but there seems to be a good range and plenty more places I would like to try on future visits.

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