Things to Do in Alloa, Scotland

things to do in Alloa

Alloa Tower is Scotland’s largest and oldest surviving medieval keep. The 15th century structure became the ancestral home of the Erskines, Earls of Mar. Mary Queen of Scots and her son James both spent part of their childhoods here.

During the industrial revolution Alloa thrived as a shipping and trading port. The town’s industries included glass-ware, textiles and ship building.

1. Alloa Tower

The Alloa Tower is one of Scotland’s oldest and largest tower houses. Originally the medieval residence of Clan Erskine, Earls of Mar, the tower retains its original timber roof and battlements as well as its impressively thick walls.

The Erskine family were loyal supporters of the Stuart monarchs and both Mary Queen of Scots and her son James VI spent time at Alloa as children. In 1710 John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar, built a large mansion (Alloa House) around the tower and plans were made to remodel its interior.

Today the tower is open as a visitor attraction and can be hired out for civil, religious or humanist weddings and events. Visitors can also explore the dungeon, which has a top hole instead of a traditional door.

2. The Speirs Centre

Alloa Speirs Centre was designed by LDN to re-invigorate the Category A listed building which originally opened as the town’s swimming pool. The redevelopment now houses a new library with community access and payment areas, council customer services and the family history registration office.

The Centre also contains the original historic bicycles which are displayed in a new exhibition area and the centre piece is the refurbished swimming pool which now hosts events including dance, drama and musical performances.

Alloa is also home to a number of parks and green spaces which include the Fife Coastal Path, Alloa Castle Park, Gartmorn Dam Country Park and Nova Scotia Gardens where Andy Scott’s sculpture ‘River Spirit’ stands. The park is also the starting point for the ‘Look Aboot Ye’ Sculpture Trail which also includes Alloa Tower and Castle Campbell.

3. Alloa Museum and Gallery

The Alloa Museum and Gallery is a must-visit attraction in the town. Situated alongside the Speirs Centre on Primrose Street, the museum showcases Alloa’s rich history. Explore the local culture by visiting one of the various exhibitions that include everything from underwear to military memorabilia. The museum also gives visitors an insight into the life below stairs in grand houses by offering them a chance to visit a mock-up of a servants’ room.

Whether it’s a family outing, date night or a group getaway, Alloa has something to offer every type of traveller. With a wide range of activities, it’s the perfect place to spend an unforgettable day out in Scotland. So, pack your bags and make Alloa your next travel destination! You’ll definitely be wowed!

4. The Old Church of St Mungo

Alloa has plenty of accommodation options for you to choose from, ranging from hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts. You can find luxurious hotels that offer amenities like parking and spas as well as budget-friendly places to stay like the Inglewood House and Spa, a 19th century mansion with stunning rooms.

St Mungo, also known as Saint Kentigern, is believed to have died in 614AD. After his death, he was canonised as the patron saint of Glasgow and a church was built on the site where the Cathedral now stands.

Through a little gate in the churchyard, you can explore the old ruins of the Church. This is a wonderful place to spend some time and examine the gravestones. It is also worth visiting the church’s crypt which is one of the finest neo-perpendicular Gothic hall churches in Scotland.

5. The Burgh Chambers

Alloa developed as a commercial port in the 18th and 19th centuries with expanding textile, sawmilling, rope-making, glassware and coal industries. Shipbuilding was another important activity.

Among the other attractions in the town are Alloa Tower, one of Scotland’s largest surviving tower houses; the old Church of St Mungo’s with its graveyard and 17th-century tower; the Old Mill at Cambus Pools, now a nature reserve with reedbeds and grassland attracting waders and wildfowl; and Castle Campbell, ancestral home of the Earls of Mars.

The foundation stone of the Burgh Chambers was laid on October 17, 1872 with full Masonic honours. It served as Alloa’s seat of local government until 1952 when the district offices were moved to Greenfield House. The building later reverted to its original purpose as the town hall.

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