Aberdeen Stirling Train
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Sometimes referred to as The Granite City, Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city. Modern day Aberdeen's economy is strongly linked to the oil and gas fields of the North Sea. Traditionally, however, the city was involved in fishing, paper making and shipbuilding. The city has won the annual Britain in Bloom competition a record breaking ten times and also hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival which is a major international event which attracts up to 1,000 of the most talented young performing arts companies.
Buildings of note in the city include the Town and County Bank, the Music Hall, the Trinity Hall of the incorporated trades (which is now a shopping mall), the former office of the Northern Assurance Company and the National Bank of Scotland. All of these buildings are located on Union Street.
Situated next to each other are Victoria Park and Westburn Park. Victoria Park opened in 1871 and contains a conservatory used as a seating area and a fountain made of fourteen different granites, presented to the people by the granite polishers and master builders of Aberdeen. Opposite to the north is Westburn Park opened in 1901 which has large grass pitches and is widely used for field sports. There is also a large tennis centre with indoor and outdoor courts, a children's cycle track, play area and a grass boules lawn.
Located in Central Scotland, the city of Stirling is the county town of Stirlingshire. The city is sometimes referred to as "The Gateway to the Highlands" which has led to it having a significant position in Scotland's history. Major battles for Scottish independence took place in and around Stirling.
A major new regeneration project is underway on the site of the former port area and former Ministry of Defence site, adjacent to Stirling Railway Station. Known as Forthside, it has the aim of developing a new waterfront district linked to the railway station via a new pedestrian bridge. The development comprises retail, residential and commercial elements, including a conference centre, hotel and Vue multiplex cinema, that will ultimately expand the city centre area, linking it to the River Forth, which has been cut off from the city centre area since the construction of a nearby road in the 1960's.
In summer there is a sightseeing bus which is a cheap way to get to the sights, as you can "hop on and off" at any time. There are regular coach services to Stirling from all over Scotland run mainly by Scottish Citylink, with regular departures from Glasgow (Buchanan Bus Station) and Edinburgh (St Andrew's Bus Station) calling en-route to either Inverness or Aberdeen.