Visiting The Kelpies in Falkirk, Scotland

No list of Scottish landmarks would be complete without the mention of The Kelpies. Designed by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, The Kelpies are a pair of 30-metre high, stainless steel horse-head sculptures located in the Helix Park in Falkirk, Scotland.

Made of structural steel with a stainless steel cladding, The Kelpies weigh 300 tonnes each and stand majestically tall above everything else in the Helix Park. They are positioned on either side of a specially constructed lock and basin which links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the North Sea.

The Kelpies in Scotland

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Construction of The Kelpies began in late 2013. Workers slotted into place nearly 30,000 small plates of steel to complete the sculpture and it was opened to the public in April 2014. Since then millions of people have visited the sculptures and it has become one of Scotland's most popular tourist attractions.

Close up of the Kelpies

What is a Kelpie?

A kelpie, according to Scottish folklore, is a shape-shifting spirit that usually inhabits the lochs. It is often described as a horse-like creature that also takes on the human form.

The Massive Kelpies in Scotland

The Kelpies at the Helix Park are a portrayal of these shape-shifting spirits and this name was chosen for the sculptures because the strength and fortitude of these mythological creatures is comparable to the metamorphosis and endurance of Scotland's waterways/canals.

The Kelpies Experience Tour

If you want to see the Kelpies from the inside, you can do so on the Kelpies Experience Tour which is a guided tour lasting around 25 minutes. The tours start at the Visitor Centre and are available at timed slots (11am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm). There may be some tours outside these times as well.

The knowledgeable tour guides share interesting facts about the history of the place, what impacted the design of these sculptures and more. You can marvel at the design and engineering that went into the creation of these equine sculptures as you explore the Kelpies from the inside.

The Kelpies

The guided tour prices (as of November 2022) are adults £7.50, concession rates £6.50 and free entry for children (2 children with 1 adult). There is different pricing if you are visiting as a group (more than 15 paying visitors). You can contact The Helix team on 01324590600 for the latest group prices.

What can you do at The Kelpies / the Helix Park?

The Helix Park, which is spread over 350 hectares of green space between Falkirk and Grangemouth, is a great place for a day out. The park includes the Plaza Cafe, woodland and wetland areas, miles of pathways (for walkers and cyclits) and the Adventure Play Zone.

The Helix Park - The Home of The Kelpies

So, in addition to exploring The Kelpies from the outside and the inside, there are lots of other things you could do when visiting the site.

You could explore the Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail. The trail is a celebration of the history of the Charlotte Dundas, the world's first practical steam boat and the achievements of its creator, William Sumington.

The Heritage Trail at the Kelpies

For those who enjoy cycling, there is an extensive network of cycling routes. There is also a Forth Bike station near The Kelpies car park. You can buy a Pay per Ride pass to rent a bike and explore the surrounding areas.

Forth Bikes - Ebike hire at The Kelpies

Suggested route: The HArTT route (Helix Around Town Tour), a challenging 28.6km (17.77m) circular cycle route that takes in The Helix, Home of The Kelpies, Forth and Clyde canal, Falkirk Wheel, Union Canal, Callendar Park and Westquarter Glen before making its way back to The Helix.

The Kelpies - Scotland

For the young ones, there's the Adventure Zone play park which has play equipment for ages 2 and up.

Don't forget to drop in at the Visitor Centre where there is an exhibition space where you can learn more about the Kelpies and the history of the surrounding Falkirk area.

The Kelpies Visitor Centre

Also visit the Gift Shop within the Visitor Centre where you can shop for souvenirs and Kelpies-themed gifts.

Souvenir Shop at The Kelpies

How to get to The Kelpies?

The Kelpies are located within The Helix Park which is just off the main motorway routes in Central Scotland. If you are travelling by car, the address is The Helix | Falkirk, FK2 7ZT. We travelled by car (while returning from our Scottish break at Loch Tay Highland Lodges) and found the brown tourist signs on M9 (to the Helix/ Kelpies) quite useful.

If you plan on using public transport, the nearest train stations to The Helix are - Falkirk High (around 3 miles away) and Falkirk Grahamston (around 2 miles away).

From Falkirk High station you can walk to the Slamannan Road bus stop and take Bus no 2 (towards Boness) and disembark at Stadium Road End bus stop (opposite the Falkirk Stadium) and walk through the Helix Park to the Kelpies.

The Kelpies in Falkirk

If you are looking to visit The Kelpies from Edinburgh, you could opt for a guided day tour from Edinburgh which includes visits to Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, and the Kelpies.

Parking at The Kelpies

There are 2 car parking spaces at The Kelpies - the first one is the Helix Car Park and the second one is the Kelpies Car Park.

The Helix Car Park is the smaller car park (around 78 spaces) located near the entrance to the Park. This is a free car park and is usually accessible 24/7. You can park here and then walk to The Kelpies which are just a short distance away (around 10 minutes).

Alternatively, you can park at the larger Kelpies Car Park (around 175 spaces) that is located near The Kelpies and Visitor Centre. The Kelpies Car Park is locked in the evening daily (time dependent on the season) and charges apply for parking at this car park. Again, the charges applicable for parking vary depending on whether it is the peak season or off-season or the weekend. Blue Badge holders are allowed to park free at all times.

During holidays and the weekends, both the car parks fill up very soon. You can either plan to arrive early or park at the nearby Falkirk Stadium and walk to The Kelpies.

The Kelpies in Falkirk, Scotland


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