The Ultimate Student Guide to Stirling

stirling kings park

If you have been accepted as a University of Stirling student, you are in for a wonderful experience.

For a student, Stirling is a great place to live, a mix of historical sites and youthful exuberance, with a relaxed yet vibrant energy. It is a city where there are plenty of peaceful spaces to study, multicultural restaurants, and a lively nightlife. It has been ranked as the safest city for students in the UK, and it’s close enough to Glasgow and Edinburgh for a quick weekend away, if you need to see some new sights. Full of natural beauty, it’s also extremely convenient, walkable yet with easy transportation options, including a bike sharing scheme that is free for students. When it comes to the university itself, the campus is very impressive. On its 330-acre campus, which incorporates Airthey Loch, overlooked by the 18th-century Airthey Castle, you will find just about everything you could possibly want. Cafes and restaurants, fitness facilities that include an Olympic swimming pool and a well-equipped gym, hiking trails, and an on-site cinema and theatre are only a few of the amenities you will find at the University of Stirling. In fact, it has been ranked first in the UK and fifth in the world for campus environment by the UK International Student Barometer (ISB) Benchmark and Global SIB Benchmark.

Finding a Place to Live

As impressive as the campus is in other ways, it is equally impressive in the array of student housing units it manages. There are properties on and off campus, designated for different levels of students. When you apply for student housing, your needs and preferences are taken into consideration, so that you will end up with flatmates who are like-minded. There are standard, furnished rooms, rooms with ensuite shower rooms, mini studios, and even two- and three-bedroom flats, suitable for families. The primary benefit of choosing university-managed accommodation is that, in addition to being convenient, they’re all inclusive. You won’t have to worry about paying for utilities, Wi-Fi, or insurance, because all of that is included in the rent. If you prefer to rent private accommodations, you’ll find a variety of great neighbourhoods in and around Stirling with housing for students. Some of Stirling’s neighbourhoods include:

  • Stirling’s City Centre: Bustling with activities, this area has shops, restaurants, and public transit.
  • King’s Park: A fairly central location with detached and semi-detached homes from the Victorian era, this neighbourhood attracts young families.
  • Riverside: Close to local amenities, this area attracts a wide variety of people and is located between the city centre and the University.
  • Stirling North: This is where the University of Stirling is located, so it is popular with students as well as young professionals.
  • St Ninians and Bannockburn: These towns, south of Stirling, are known for their high quality of life.
  • Bridge of Allan: Close enough to be considered Stirling, Bridge of Allan has a varied population and a very active community.

Considerations When Deciding on a Place

When you’re deciding where to live, there are a few things that need to factor into your decision. Work out your budget before you start looking, including all your projected expenses, so that you don’t fall in love with something outside of your price range. Choose somewhere as close to the university as you can, and also close to other things you plan to do in town. Think about your own personality and needs. Do you need an onsite gym? Are you looking for somewhere with good access to outdoor activities? Is a walkable neighbourhood important to you? How about proximity to live music, restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping? Do you want to live with flatmates or on your own? What kind of housing do you prefer? Can you share a bathroom, or do you prefer having an ensuite? Do you need a lot of peace and quiet, or are you an extrovert who wants space for entertaining? All of these elements will inform your decision about the best place to live.

Once You Know Where- Do You Know How to Rent a Flat?

If you decide on university-managed housing, getting into it is self-explanatory. You apply through the university, filling out an application that specifies your preferences, and you are offered furnished accommodation. Private rentals are a little bit trickier. Look online, checking websites that specialize in helping students find housing. Make a checklist of non-negotiables, so that you can rule out the flats that do not live up to your expectations. Look for information about the landlord or letting agent. You may be able to find online reviews or ratings if you do an online search for your landlord’s name. Once you move in, check your flat inventory, to make sure it matches the list you were given by the landlord. Make sure, too, that your tenancy deposit is protected. Your landlord must lodge your deposit with a registered tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working days of receiving it.

Be Proactive About Taxes

Do students have to pay council tax? If you are a full-time student, the answer is no. If you are a part timer, though, you will have to pay taxes. Read up on taxes and how to file for an exemption here.

Where Will You Eat?

You might not think it of a city as small as Stirling, but there is quite a variety of dining options, including a wide array of multicultural establishments. Not only that, but the campus is chock full of great places to eat, from restaurants to pubs to cafes to food trucks. In the city, have some traditional Scottish fare at Nicky-Tams Bar and Bothy, try the fish and chips at Allan Park Pub, dine on Indian food at the Green Gates or Italian food at Mamma Mia, indulge in tapas and mezze at Mediterranea, or check out the vegan options at Café Aina. Honestly, that’s just the beginning of the list- discussing all the great places to eat in Stirling would take up more space than we have here.

Where Will You Study?

Your room might be the obvious answer, but if you have noisy flatmates or too many distractions, you will need to find another spot. The good news is that there are loads of great places to study in Stirling! First of all, the University library is enormous and full of quiet spots, and you will even find some peaceful spaces in the atrium at Campus Central. If the weather is nice, you can head out to study beside the loch. If you prefer, though, you will find a plethora of cosy pubs and cafes in town, perfect for settling in to study. Once you have spent a bit of time exploring Stirling, you are sure to have a few favourite study spots.

What Discounts are there in Stirling for Students?

One great thing about being a student is all the discounts available with a flash of your student ID. In Stirling, you will find discounts at restaurants, cafes, and pubs, as well as retailers selling clothing, accessories, health and beauty products, electronics and more. You’ll also get a discount at area attractions, from a reenactment of a historical battle to a safari park to ancient sites.

What Can You Do for Free?

In short, loads. There are tonnes of free things to do in Stirling, and even more if you are a student. There are historical sites around every corner, including Mar’s Wark, Cowane’s Hospital, the Parish Church, Cambuskenneth Abbey, and, of course, Stirling Castle. The Tollbooth Gallery and Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery are also free, and of course there are tonnes of gorgeous places to walk.

Where to Buy Books in Stirling

Stirling is such a great city, with a walkable city centre full of independent shops. If you are looking for a good place to buy books, explore places like The Book Nook, an independent bookshop and coffee shop that bills itself as ‘Stirling’s Only Indie Bookshop Café’. It is not only a great place to buy new and second-hand books at reasonable prices, but also a nice spot to relax, have a snack, and study. There is also Stirling Books, a second-hand book shop in the heart of the city and winner of “Book Shop of the Year” award in 2016 and 2017 from the Independent Retail Awards.

Storing Your Things in Stirling

Where will you store your things while you are looking for a place to live and when you go home on break? Storage Vault is the perfect place, offering a student discount in addition to already flexible terms and convenient access. Proudly owned and operated in Scotland, we have 15 years of experience in commercial property and a dedication to providing an exceptional storage experience. We offer a wide range of premium storage units to individuals, families, businesses, and students, and our unbeatable prices with no long-term commitment have made us Scotland’s fastest-growing self-storage company. We offer 24/7 extended access, so you can always get to your stored items, and our friendly team provides advice and support.

Protected by state-of-the-art security systems, our 15 modern facilities across Scotland offer ideal storage solutions, no matter what you are storing.

For more information about our wide range of storage units, convenient locations, and our flexible terms, with no up-front fees or hidden costs, reach us by telephone at 0800 802 1822 or contact us through our website.

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