Falkirk, town in the Central Lowlands of Scotland, historically within the county of Stirlingshire. It lies in the Forth Valley, almost midway between the two most populous cities of Scotland; north-west of Edinburgh and north-east of Glasgow.
Falkirk had a resident population of 32,422 at the 2001 census. The population of the town had risen to 34,570 according to a 2008 estimate, making it the 20th most populous settlement in Scotland. Falkirk is the main town and administrative centre of theFalkirk council area, which has an overall population of 156,800 and inholds the nearby towns of Grangemouth,Bo’ness,Denny,Larbert and Stenhousemuir.
The town lies at the junction of the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, a location which proved key to the growth of Falkirk as a centre of heavy industry during the Industrial Revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries Falkirk was at the centre of the iron and steel industry, underpinned by the Carron Company in the nearby village of Carron. The company was responsible for making carronades for the Royal Navy and also later many pillar boxes. In the last 50 years heavy industry has waned, and the economy of the town relies increasingly on retail and tourism. Despite this, Falkirk remains the home of many international companies.
Attractions in and around Falkirk include the Falkirk Wheel, Callendar House and Park and remnants of the Antonine Wall. Soon to be a feature of the town is the Falkirk Helix, a new recreational area with walk and cycle paths with the main attraction being a new boat lift and extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. In a 2011 poll conducted by STV, it was voted as Scotland’s most beautiful town, ahead of Perth and Stirling in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Falkirk hosted a national arts festival which ran in Callendar Park from 2000-2009 called Big In Falkirk. After its inception in 2000, the festival won Scottish Thistle Award for Events & Festivals in 2005. Consisting of a free weekend of events, the festival was one of the largest cultural events in Scotland, attracting over 100,000 people. Hosted in Falkirk’s historical Callendar Park, with Callendar House as the focal point, the entertainment featured a wide variety of outdoor theatre, pyrotechnic displays, arts, comedy and big name music acts, alongside activities for all ages.