Falkirk is a large town sat almost at the midpoint of Edinburgh and Glasgow, near Stirling. Like most towns in that central belt triangle, it’s a bit soulless. However, what it does have, are a few unique attractions that are truly worth the detour.
Both the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel are difficult to reach by public transport, but if you’re driving by it’s a lovely stop to make. That is also why we went when the Brit’s parents were in town.
We first drove to the Falkirk Wheel, at the west, where we had reserved spot to go on a boat up the wheel. Afterwards, we headed out to the east side of town to the Kelpies. It’s funny how both attractions almost feel like they aren’t part of Falkirk at all, sat at the exact opposite ends of the town.
The Falkirk Wheel was opened in 2002, it is the wheel that connects the two central canals of Scotland, the Forth & Clyde Canal (to the west) and the Union Canal (to the east). The construction is 35 meters tall and built out of 1,200 tonnes of steel. And, according to the wheel website, it is a very green bout of engineering! It only takes the same power to boil 8 electric kettles to make it turn.
We went on the canal boat that goes up onto the wheel, and then turns around and comes back down. It was highly anticlimactic and wouldn’t recommend you waste your money on that. At £13.50pp it’s not worth it. And it’s way more impressive to see it from down below anyway!
What you can do, if you don’t fancy driving all the way to see it turn for 10 minutes, is make it a day out. Around the canal entrance here they have plenty of (mostly) water based activities for young and old alike. They looked very cool and on a hot summer day (if you’re lucky!) it would make a perfect afternoon!
The Kelpies situated closer to the motorway between Stirling and Edinburgh is just as impressive as the wheel, if not more due to its artistic nature.
‘Kelpies’ comes from a myth about beasts that have the strenght of 100 horses. The name was chosen back in 2005 when they started the project to build the Helix park. It was sculptor Andy Scott that came up with the actual design of the horses heads. It is based on the horses’ roles within the industry, carrying heavy loads and carts.
They were built in late 2013 (I remember coming back to Scotland in 2014 and having not seen these creatures!). Just like the Falkirk Wheel, the Kelpies are made of 1,200 tonnes of steel-reinforced concrete. Per head!
They are very impressive – even in the rain like we saw them! It was actually even eerie to be there in bad weather, they seemed even more in pain. I would recommend also going in the evening as they are lit up, which is amazing!
An added bonus is also that you can just make this into a lovely walk. We didn’t because it was pouring, but as you can see below, you can walk along the canal and there are even a few cafes and shops near the Kelpies.
Have you seen one or both of these in Falkirk?xx