Thistles Shopping Centre, The

(Thistle Centre)

Located in the centre of Stirling, immediately to the south of Stirling Railway Station, the Thistles Shopping Centre represents the premier covered shopping centre within the city. Now including more than ninety shops and over 46,451 sq m (500,000 sq feet) of retail space, the centre has Debenhams, BHS and Marks & Spencer as its anchor stores. The centre also includes a tourist attraction in the form of the remnant of a defensive tower, known as the Bastion. This tower, which dates from the 1540s and once guarded an angle of Stirling's Town Wall, has been restored and contains an interpretative display. Two of the historically-important Stirling Heads are displayed here. These are brightly-painted carved oak roundels which were once part of the ceiling decoration in Stirling Castle. Below is a prison, called a Thieves' Pot.

Originally known simply as the Thistle Centre, the first phase of the development was constructed 1973-76 behind Port Street and Murray Place, with a second phase - known as the Thistle Marches - built 1995-97 on the opposite side of Goosecroft Road. This later phase included additional car parking and a 14-stance bus station. The centre now benefits from two pay car parks providing over 1300 spaces and is owned by Standard Life Investments, which bought the centre in 1998 for £37.2 million.

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