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Living in Stirling

Stirling is big enough to offer everything you’d expect from a modern city, while also offering a community feel. Not only is it one of the most affordable UK cities (Halifax ‘UK’s Most Affordable Cities’ 2021), it’s also one of the happiest (Rightmove Happy at Home Index 2021). And with students accounting for 20% of its residents, there’s plenty to see and do.

What makes Stirling a great student city?

  • Location – Stirling's railway station offers connections to every Scottish city, including the must-see cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

  • History – uncover an incredible history preserved in Stirling’s streets, castles and exhibited at The Engine Shed.

  • Price – the cost of living here is one of the lowest in the UK, so you’ll be able to do more with your money.

  • Food – Scotland is famous for its food. Discover excellent international restaurants and Asian supermarkets here.

  • Entertainment – from pubs and music venues to a bowling alley and multiplex cinema, you’ll always be entertained.

What can I do for fun in Stirling?

There are many fun things for students to do while living in Stirling. You will find:

  • Historic sights. Explore the Old Town, Stirling Castle, the Battle of Bannockburn site and the Wallace Monument.

  • Epic 3D adventure. Experience thrilling medieval combat at the Battle of Bannockburn Experience.

  • Live music and comedy. Enjoy local musicians, comedians and arts events at the Tolbooth and the Albert Halls.

  • The latest Hollywood movies. Watch big blockbusters at Vue Stirling or the Macrobert Arts Center on campus.

  • Outdoor adventures. Explore Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park for some breathtaking Scottish scenery.

Discover more things to do in Stirling here:

What sports can I play in Stirling?

There is a lot to do in Stirling if you're interested in sports. Within the city, you will find an ice skating rink, a climbing wall, a swimming pool and a fitness and dance studio at The Peak indoor sports complex. For outdoor sports, visit Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park for watersports, cycling and hiking adventures surrounded by beautiful scenery. Back on campus, the University of Stirling is known for its incredible sporting facilities – named 'Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence'. Better yet, you'll receive free membership to the University Sports Center for the duration of your time at INTO Stirling. Here, you'll find:

  • a 50m swimming pool

  • a nine-hole golf course

  • six indoor tennis courts and three squash courts

  • an eight-court sports hall

  • a fitness suite with more than 50 weekly fitness classes

  • a 400m athletics track.

Can I find international food in Stirling?

Scotland is famous for its excellent food, and Stirling showcases some of the best local produce that it has to offer. You will find food from all around the world, such as Scottish, British, French, Italian, Indian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. There are plenty of options for special diets too, including halal, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Popular restaurants include:

  • Maharaja – one of the best Indian restaurants in Stirling

  • Poonthais – fresh, flavorful and authentic Thai restaurant

  • L’Angolino – cozy Italian restaurant serving excellent food

  • Nawab – authentic Indian curries and a friendly service

  • Bite East – popular student restaurant serving Asian food.

When you want to cook, you will also find shops that sell food from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Sun Wah Mini-Mart on Barnton Street is the best place to go for Asian ingredients.

How much does it cost to live in Stirling for students?

While the cost of living is lower in Stirling than much of the UK, it’s still important to learn how to budget so you can keep track of where your money goes. After moving here you’ll have a better understanding of how much things cost. But in the meantime, you can consider the cost of:

  • food and drink

  • entertainment

  • travel (local and national)

  • clothes and toiletries

  • other expenses, such as haircuts.

Is it easy to travel around Stirling and the UK?

Stirling is a great place to walk around because of its beautiful scenery and architecture. It’s small enough to get around on foot, but if you prefer cycling, bicycle sharing scheme 'nextbike' offers a free annual membership for University of Stirling students. Buses also run frequently between the campus and the city center, with free fares for people under the age of 22. If you’d like to visit Scottish cities outside of Stirling, the city has excellent connections by train or bus. Exploring the rest of the UK is also easy from the international airports in Glasgow and Edinburgh. You could travel to:

  • Glasgow – 30 minutes by train from Stirling

  • Edinburgh – 45 minutes by train from Stirling

  • London – 1 hour by plane from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

What can I do for fun in other parts of Scotland?

Stirling has quick rail links to the country's largest and most lively cities, including:

Glasgow – Scotland’s biggest city:

  • one of the world’s top 25 student cities (QS Best Student Cities 2023)

  • friendliest city in the world (Rough Guides ‘World’s Friendliest Cities’ 2021).

Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital city:

  • one of the world’s top 10 student cities (QS Best Student Cities 2023)

  • home to the world's largest arts and comedy festival, the Edinburgh Fringe.