While Scotland has a myriad of small towns and villages, there are only eight cities in our wee country: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Inverness, Dunfermline and Stirling is the smallest city in Scotland. While there are larger towns than Perth or Dunfermline such as East Kilbride or Paisley, they do not have city status.
Located just half an hour from Glasgow in the centre of Scotland’s central belt, Stirling is the smallest and youngest city in Scotland with a population of 36,440, having gained its status only in 2002. Stirling boasts a historic past, with Stirling Castle being a majestic centrepiece of the city. Back in the day, the castle was of immense strategic importance and was the main residence of Mary Queen of Scots for a while.
Stirling is also known as the Gateway to the Highlands, boasting plenty of cobbled streets and tourist attractions such as the National Wallace Monument and the renowned Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. There are several noteworthy walks around Stirling as well, like Top of the Town Walk and Holy Rude Church, Back Walk and Stirling Lower Town.
What makes a city?
No ordinary town can claim city status. In fact, there are clear criteria that all cities must follow. According to the UK Parliament, to be counted as a city in the UK, the place must have a cathedral or a university, have “a particular form of government” or have a large population. Once that is determined, the city status can be granted “by the monarch on the advice of ministers”.
Can a place lose city status?
In the past, some places, such as Rochester, lost its city status. So, while a place can lose its city status, it can still regain it in the future. In the particular case of Rochester, it was due to the merging of the council in 1998, making it lose its own government.