How Stirling took me by surprise [student blog]

We’re proud to call Stirling our home! With a population of almost 100,000, the bustling city of Stirling provides a great community for city life. Third-year BA (Hons) Criminology and Sociology student Emily Snowling shares what she thought of Stirling before she came here, her first impressions of the city, and finally, what it’s like to live in Stirling as a student!

Stirling is certainly full of surprises, and despite living here for two years I’m still finding new things to discover, as well as some places that are becoming old favourites.  

Before I moved to Stirling, I had visited a grand total of two times. Once for an open day, where I got the chance to explore the campus, and then the second time for the applicant day, where I explored the campus that I already grown to love as well as getting the chance to discover the town. I loved the campus from the first time I saw pictures of it at a UCAS fair – and let me tell you, the campus does not disappoint! Not only do you have all the amenities you need but also fabulous views including of the Wallace Monument, a loch and even a castle. 

When I first moved to Stirling, I fell in love with the campus where I spent the majority of my time. It was great to have such convenient accommodation set in such beautiful scenery. It was lovely to be able to get out on a walk and explore the campus. However, Stirling itself has even more on offer! Its big enough to have all the big chain shops that you’d need, along with lots of lovely independent shops too! One of my favourites is Tinsel & Tartan; a year-round Christmas shop and a great place to buy Scottish themed decorations for your family and friends. A not so festive option is Calluna; an ethical living shop which has an amazing selection of plants to help add some greenery to your uni flat. It’s super quick and easy to get into town, just a 10-minute bus journey from campus.  

Being from London, Stirling is a much smaller place than I was used to living in, but not only did I really look forward to living in a smaller place, I definitely do not regret it! You can always see a friendly face around either town or campus and it’s so easy to get around. There’s plenty to do, with lots of cute cafes to explore – one of my favourites is the Mint Café on Baker Street, not only is the café gorgeous but has delicious waffles, I would definitely recommend it! Another thing that I love about Stirling is that there are so many free things to do. Living in town during my second year has made it easy to walk up to Stirling Castle and Church of the Holy Rude – from up there you can see the whole of Stirling plus the surrounding hills. At one point I was walking up there at least twice a week.  

If you’re looking for an indoor activity, (which you might be with the Scottish weather) as well as lots of cafes, there is the Smith Museum and Art Gallery which has a rather eclectic collection of objects and interesting items as well as offering a good slice of cake! If you’re looking for something closer to campus you can walk up to the Wallace Monument and get in for free as a Stirling resident. This again offers great views and a chance to learn a bit more about your new home.  

So far, I’ve loved living in Stirling and even having lived here for two years I’m still discovering new walks and things to do. Stirling is a small place but has tons to offer and if you ever have enough of Stirling (which I definitely haven’t!) then the great transportation links to Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as the rest of Scotland means there is always more to explore! 

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